The Taxing Master’s authority to tax bills of costs

In Blaauw v Taxing Master 1947 (1) SA 721 (SWA), the applicant sought a mandamus upon the taxing master to tax a bill of costs. The court held that the taxing master’s authority to tax bills of costs extends only to such law suits in which there is an order upon one or other of the parties to pay costs, or the litigants have agreed upon the liability for costs. The court held further that where a defendant in his plea had, without admitting liability, tendered to pay an amount in full settlement of a plaintiff’s claim and had paid such amount into court but had denied liability for costs, a taxing master, to whom a bill of costs had been submitted for taxation by the plaintiff, has no function to determine the defendant’s liability for costs, nor can the court grant a mandamus on the taxing master to tax the bill in the absence of notice of the application to the defendant.