Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

January 27th, 2017 by James Goudie KC

In Croydon LBC v Lopes (2017) EWHC 33 (QB) Lewis J held that the principles to be applied in deciding whether costs should be awarded in judicial review cases where the parties had agreed on the proper disposition of the underlying proceedings established in M v Croydon LBC [2012] 1 WLR 2607 were applicable to appeals against decisions on entitlement to housing under the Housing Act 1996, Section 204.  A local authority was entitled to its costs of an appeal withdrawn by a claimant where, had the appeal proceeded, it would have been the successful party. The precise approach depends upon the particular facts and circumstances of the case. Where a party has obtained the entire relief sought on the statutory appeal, so that that party can be said to be wholly successful, then, in general, that party should recover his or her costs unless there is some good reason to depart from that position. Where a party has succeeded in part, then a number of factors may be relevant as explained in paragraph 62 of the decision in R (M) v Croydon London Borough Council. In such circumstances, it may be appropriate to make no order for costs, or, if it is reasonably clear who would have succeeded if the appeal had gone to a hearing, that may indicate that that party should be awarded his or her costs. Where a settlement is reached which does not in fact reflect the claimant’s claims, it may be possible in some cases to consider the underlying claims and determine who would have been the successful parties and award costs accordingly. In other cases, that may not be possible and it may be that the appropriate order is no order for costs. It may also be that the appropriate order may be no order for costs where the judge cannot sensibly and fairly make an order in favour of either party without a disproportionate expenditure of judicial time: see per Lord Neuberger M.R., as he then was, at paragraphs 60 to 65 and per Stanley Burnton LJ at paragraph 77 in R (M) v Croydon London Borough Council.


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