ORDER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION CIVIL SERVICE TRIBUNAL

(Second Chamber)

29 August 2016

Joined Cases F‑106/13 DEP and F‑25/14 DEP

DD

v

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

(Civil service — Procedure — Taxation of costs)

Application:      for taxation of costs, submitted by DD following the judgment of the Civil Service Tribunal of 8 October 2015, DD v FRA (F‑106/13 and F‑25/14, EU:F:2015:118, on appeal before the General Court of the European Union, Case T‑742/15 P).

Held:      The total amount of costs to be reimbursed by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights to DD by way of recoverable costs in Cases F‑106/13 and F‑25/14 is fixed at (i) the sum of EUR 20 643 as regards the applicant’s lawyers’ fees, to be increased by the value added tax due on that sum, and (ii) the sum of EUR 79.80 as regards the train and taxi costs incurred by the applicant in transporting his lawyers to Luxembourg for the hearing. The sums referred to in point 1 are to accrue default interest from the date of service of the present order until the date of actual payment, at a rate calculated on the basis of the rate set by the European Central Bank for main refinancing operations in force on the first day of the month of the deadline for payment, increased by two points.

Summary

1.      Judicial proceedings — Costs — Dispute over recoverable costs — Definition — No requirement that the party ordered to pay the costs must have refused a request for reimbursement

(Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Art. 106(1))

2.      Judicial proceedings — Costs — Taxation — Recoverable costs — Definition — Elements to be taken into consideration

(Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Art. 105(c))

3.      Judicial proceedings — Costs — Taxation — Recoverable costs — Definition — Costs incurred at the pre-litigation stage — Not included

(Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Art. 105(c))

4.      Judicial proceedings — Costs — Taxation — Recoverable costs — Expenses necessarily incurred by the parties — Travel and subsistence expenses of persons other than the parties’ lawyers — Conditions for reimbursement

(Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Art. 105(c))

5.      Judicial proceedings — Costs — Taxation — Recoverable costs — Assessment having regard primarily to the total number of hours’ work objectively necessary for the purposes of the proceedings

(Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Art. 105(c))

6.      Judicial proceedings — Costs — Taxation — Default interest

(Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Art. 106)

1.      Pursuant to Article 106(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, if there is a dispute concerning the costs to be recovered, the Tribunal, on application by the party concerned and after hearing the opposite party, is to give its decision by way of reasoned order, from which no appeal may lie.

Thus, in order to avoid depriving the procedure under that provision, which serves to achieve a definitive ruling on the costs of the proceedings, of its effectiveness, it cannot be held that a dispute for the purposes of that provision arises only when the party who has been requested to reimburse the costs advanced by the successful party makes an explicit, comprehensive refusal.

(see paras 31, 32)

See:

Orders of 25 March 2014, Marcuccio v Commission, T‑126/11 P-DEP, EU:T:2014:171, para. 13, and 11 December 2014, Longinidis v Cedefop, T‑283/08 P-DEP, EU:T:2014:1083, para. 13

2.      Under Article 105(c) of the Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, ‘expenses necessarily incurred by the parties for the purpose of the proceedings, in particular the travel and subsistence expenses and the remuneration of the agent, adviser or lawyer’, are to be regarded as recoverable costs. It follows from that provision that recoverable costs are limited, first, to those incurred for the purpose of the proceedings before the Tribunal and, secondly, to those which were necessary for that purpose.

In that regard, the Courts of the European Union are not empowered to tax the fees payable by the parties to their own lawyers, but may determine the extent to which those fees may be recovered from the party ordered to pay the costs. When ruling on an application for taxation of costs, those courts do not have to take into consideration a national scale fixing lawyers’ fees or any agreement concluded in that respect between the party concerned and its agents or counsel.

In the absence of any provisions of EU law relating to scales of fees, the court must assess freely the facts of the case, taking into account the subject matter and the nature of the dispute, its importance from the aspect of Union law and also the difficulty of the case, the amount of work which the contentious proceedings may have required on the part of the agents or counsel involved and the economic interests which the dispute represented for the parties.

In fixing the recoverable costs, the Civil Service Tribunal is to take account of all the circumstances of the case up to the making of the order on taxation of costs, including the expenses necessarily incurred in relation to the taxation of costs proceedings.

(see paras 35-38)

See:

Order of 23 March 2012, Kerstens v Commission, T‑498/09 P-DEP, EU:T:2012:147, para. 15

Orders of 10 November 2009, X v Parliament, F‑14/08 DEP, EU:F:2009:149, para. 22; of 26 April 2010, Schönberger v Parliament, F‑7/08 DEP, EU:F:2010:32, paras 23 and 24; and of 27 September 2011, De Nicola v EIB, F‑55/08 DEP, EU:F:2011:155, para. 41

3.      In proceedings concerning the taxation of costs, save in exceptional circumstances, fees owed for services provided by a lawyer at the stage of the pre-litigation procedure do not constitute recoverable costs.

(see para. 39)

See:

Judgment of 28 October 2010, Cerafogli v ECB, F‑23/09, EU:F:2010:138, para. 63

4.      The travel and subsistence expenses incurred by persons other than the lawyer of the applicant are recoverable only if the presence of those persons was necessary for the purpose of the proceedings.

(see para. 40)

See:

Order of 8 July 1998, Eugénio Branco v Commission, T‑85/94 (92) and T‑85/94 (122) (92), EU:T:1998:156, para. 24 and the case-law cited therein

5.      The Courts of the European Union are not bound by the invoice submitted by the party wishing to recover costs, but must take account only of the total number of hours of work capable of being judged objectively necessary for the purpose of the proceedings.

(see para. 45)

See:

Orders of 26 April 2010, Schönberger v Parliament, F‑7/08 DEP, EU:F:2010:32, para. 29, and of 25 October 2012, Missir Mamachi di Lusignano v Commission, F‑50/09 DEP, EU:F:2012:147, para. 21

6.      Pursuant to Article 106 of the Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, the Tribunal alone has the power to declare that a party must pay default interest on an order as to costs delivered by the Tribunal, and to fix the applicable rate.

(see para. 61)

See:

Order of 24 October 2014, Marcuccio v Commission, F‑14/10 DEP, EU:F:2014:240, para. 32