“Costs and Expenses”

The doublet costs and expenses occurs routinely in contracts. Here’s an example selected at random from the SEC’s EDGAR database:

If action is instituted to collect this Note, the Company shall pay all costs and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, incurred in connection with such action.

Black’s Law Dictionary gives the following definitions for cost and expense:

cost, n. 1. The amount paid or charged for something; price or expenditure. Cf. EXPENSE. 2. (pl.) The charges or fees taxed by the court, such as filing fees, jury fees, courthouse fees, and reporter fees. — Also termed court costs. 3. (pl.) The expenses of litigation, prosecution, or other legal transaction, esp. those allowed in favor of one party against the other. • Some but not all states allow parties to claim attorney’s fees as a litigation cost. — Also termed (in sense 3) litigation costs.

expense, n. An expenditure of money, time, labor, or resources to accomplish a result; esp., a business expenditure chargeable against revenue for a specific period. Cf. COST (1). — expense, vb.

Because costs are a kind of expense, as a matter of logic the doublet costs and expenses is as problematic as trousers and clothing. You can do one of two things: refer instead to court costs, other litigation costs, and any other expenses, or drop costs and use only expenses. In creating the defined term “Losses,” I might incorporate the former approach; when I need to be more succinct, I’d use the latter.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.