A usual principle of civil litigation is that costs "follow the event" - i.e., that the winner is entitled to have part of his or her legal costs paid by the loser. This is the situation in most Australian courts that hear civil proceedings, and also in comparable courts in other 'common law' countries.
However, there are exceptions to this situation. In a recent decision of the NSW Court of Appeal, involving a claim for less than $40,000 (before taking interest into account) - brought on appeal from a decision of the NSW District Court - the NSW Court of Appeal made a number of findings that may have significant implications for some claimants who choose to file their proceedings in the NSW District Court at first instance. The NSW Court of Appeal noted that while the claimant in this particular case was successful in getting a costs order against the defendant, the more usual outcome of bringing a civil claim for less than $40,000 in the NSW District Court is that costs will not be awarded due to the operation of UCPR r.42.35.
'UCPR' stands for the 'Uniform Civil Procedure Rules' which apply to civil proceedings in the NSW District