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09/07/2009

Costs on conceded appeals

We had noted City of Westminster v Man [2009] EWCA Civ 236 when it was a permission to appeal hearing. Just a bit late, we have found the outcome. The issue was whether an interim costs order, on an application I think, was payable where proceedings as a whole had been stayed under a Tomlin Order. Mr Man had been ordered to pay £1000 by the court below, despite a Tomlin staying proceedings and giving costs against Westminster on the rest of the case. He appealed, acting in person.

Apparently, once the appeal was given permission, Westminster decided not to oppose it. So the issue was conceded However, they refused to settle with costs to Mr Man unless he provided details of his costs, when they might make an offer. Mr Man did not give details and so the matter ended up in front of the Court of Appeal, with nobody attending, no substantive issue and Westminster arguing in writing, incredibly, that due to Mr Man’s unreasonable refusal to give details, Westminster should have the costs of below and preparation for the appeal. The Court of Appeal, astonished to have to sit as a three strong panel with no-one in front of them on this, simply said Westminster had no ground at all for their view. They should simply have applied to have the appeal allowed with costs against them in appeal and below. So that was the order made.

Rather disappointing not to have argument on the Tomlin stay point, but what were Westminster thinking?

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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