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LAW REPORT - COSTS NEED NOT ALWAYS FOLLOW THE EVENT

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A court has ruled that in exercising its power under section 64(1) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 to make 'suc...
A court has ruled that in exercising its power under section 64(1) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 to make 'such order as to costs ... as it thinks just and reasonable' a magistrates court was not obliged to conclude that costs followed the event, but should take account of all relevant circumstances of the case.

The Times (Law, p32) reports that where a complainant had successfully challenged the administrative decision of a regulatory authority made in the proper exercise of its public duty, justices should in addition consider (i) the financial prejudice to the complainant if he were not awarded costs and (ii) the need to encourage public authorities to make and stand by honest and reasonable administrative decisions without fear of exposure to undue financial prejudice where a challenge to such a decision succeeded.

The queen's bench divisional court so held on an appeal by Bradford City MDC by way of case stated from the costs order of Bradford Justices who, having upheld a complaint by Mr Eric Booth that the local authority had wrongly refused to renew his licence to operate private hire vehicles in the city, concluded that costs should follow the event, and, subject to the sum being just and reasonable, made an order in his favour against the council.
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