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25/03/2009

Judicial Review costs

Mendes & Anor v Southwark LBC (2009) CA (Civ Div) 24/03/09 [not on Bailii], is a useful case for those representing JR claimants. The report is on Lawtel.

Southwark had made an erroneous decision on Mr Mendes’ eligibility for housing assistance under Part VII. Mr Mendes applied for permission for judicial review. Before the matter went to hearing, Southwark conceded the error and that Mr Mendes was entitled to accommodation and Mr Mendes agreed to withdraw the JR by consent. At costs hearing, the Judge made no order for costs on the basis there was no good reason to award costs. Mr Mendes appealed.

Held: In this case Southwark had no answer to the claim as its decision was, as it conceded, wrong and it had applied the wrong test. The JR claim was not issued prematurely. It was clear Mr Mendes would have won the claim. The proceedings were compromised because the LA had reversed its decision and conceded the point. Costs were incurred reasonably and timeously. The Judge should have held there was no reason to make no order for costs. R (Scott) v Hackney LBC (2009) EWCA Civ 217 and R(Boxall) v Waltham Forest LBC (2001) 4 CCL Rep QBD (Admin) considered.

That is useful – a good clear statement that when the claim is conceded and the claim is properly brought, there has to be a reason for the claimant not to get costs.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

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