A third party’s right to receive notice of taxation

In the matter of Africon Engineering International (Pty) Ltd and Another v The Taxing Master No and Others 2005 (6) SA 397 (C), Judge Meer was tasked with considering whether parties to an action joined in terms of Rule 13 of the Uniform Rules of Court (“URC”), who were jointly and severally liable for costs, are entitled to a notice of taxation within the scope of Rule 70(4) read with Rule 13(5) of the URC.

Rule 13(5) of the URC provides that the third party shall, after service upon him of a third party notice, be a party to the action and, if he delivers notice of intention to defend, shall be served with all documents and given notice of all matters as a party. Further, Rule 70(4) states that the Taxing Master shall not proceed to the taxation of any bill of costs unless he is satisfied that the party liable to pay the same has received due notice as to the time and place of such taxation and notice that he is entitled to be present thereat.

Judge Meer held that third parties who are joined by service upon them of a Rule 13(5) third party notice, and become jointly and severally liable for costs, are entitled to receive a notice of taxation as contemplated in Rule 70(4) of the URC. The fundamental principle is that where the direct and substantial interest of a third party joined under Rule 13(5) relates to the payment of a bill of costs, such third party must have a right to be heard at the taxation stage and must accordingly receive notice.