We have been blogging lately about costs in settled JRs and S.204 appeals (see here and here) and we can now report that the Admin Court Office has published guidance on costs following settlement of JR claims, which can be found in this link. The guidance applies to all consent orders submitted to the Admin Court after 20/11/13. Below is a summary of the main points within the new guidance:
- before asking the Court to settle any disputed costs issue, the parties will be expected to have exhausted all reasonable means of negotiation/mediation and they will be expected to understand and to explain to the Court how their case fits within the M v Croydon guidance (esp paras 59-63 of that judgement)
- the applicant for costs will be required to file their submissions on costs within 7 days of presentation of the consent order to the Court with the opposing party to file their submissions in response 7 days thereafter (occupying no more than 2 sides of A4 in each case); these directions should be incorporated within the consent order
- late submissions will not be accepted and they should be accompanied by a costs estimate and correspondence demonstrating that the protocol was complied with and that the claim was reasonably brought (or reasonably resisted, as the case may be)
The aim of the guidance is to improve the Court’s ability to deal speedily and efficiently with costs applications and to avoid expenditure of court time on lengthy and convoluted submissions. It is also clear that parties are discouraged from taking the Court through the finer points of their case. We speculated in our earlier post that the Boxall criteria may still apply to cases within points ii and iii of the M v Croydon criteria (i.e. where the relief sought and the relief obtained do not match up) so it will be interesting to see how Respondents manage to cram their submissions onto 2 sides of A4.
For those of us frustrated by the length of time it has taken costs applications to work their way through the Admin Court system in the past, this is a welcome initiative and all that is needed is for the County Courts to follow suit…