Walker v Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Judge: Lord Walker, Lord Mance, Lord Neuberger

Citation: [2007] UKPC 64 and [2008] UKPC 20

Citation: [2008] UKPC 20

The appellant appealed a decision of the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons ordering his removal from the register. A decision substituting in lieu an order for his suspension for six months was made. Dr Walker then applied for an order that the RCVS pay his costs of the appeal, which had been funded in part by an appeal fund organised by other members of the profession. The RCVS opposed the order on the basis of Baxendale – Walker v Law Society [2007] EWCA Civ 233; or asked for a split costs order; and relied on the fact of funding by the appeal fund.

The Board had in practice made costs orders against the RCVS when an appeal succeeded and in its favour when appeals were lost, with no order for costs when the appeal failed on liability but succeeded on penalty. A similar position applied with appeals from other similar disciplinary committees. Here there had been no appeal on liability. The appeal had been opposed by the RCVS and Dr Walker had always accepted that the appropriate outcome was the one in fact imposed. There was no basis for a split costs order; and the appeal fund was an irrelevant issue in the circumstances (where if a costs order was made against the RCVS it had been agreed that there would be a return of funds or a sum forwarded to the Veterinary Benevolent Fund).

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