London Borough of Hillingdon v Neary & another

Judge: Peter Jackson J.

Citation: [2011] EWHC 3522

Summary: Peter Jackson J has been busy recently. In addition to the costs judgment in the AH case discussed above, he has also handed down his costs judgment in the Neary case. In sum, he departed from the general rule contained in rule 157, and ordered Hillingdon to pay the costs of the Official Solicitor costs from the date of issue to the conclusion of the main hearing. He declined to order that it pay the OS’s costs thereafter, because Hillingdon had sought to cooperate in the securing of successful future care arrangements. He also declined to order costs in relation to the question of whether the press should be entitled to attend the hearing, primarily because it raised issues of general public importance.

This judgment is perhaps unsurprising, but is valuable for two dicta. Having reviewed five Court of Protection decisions on costs, he commented (at paragraphs 7-8) as follows:

“I find that these decisions do not purport to give guidance over and above the words of the Rules themselves – had such guidance been needed the Court of Appeal would no doubt have given it in Manchester City Council v G. Where there is a general rule from which one can depart where the circumstances justify, it adds nothing definitional to describe a case as exceptional or atypical. Instead, the decisions represent useful examples of the manner in which the court has exercised its powers.
8. Each application for costs must therefore be considered on its own merit or lack of merit with the clear appreciation that there must be a good reason before the court will contemplate departure from the general rule. Beyond that, as MCA s. 55(3) – cited above – makes plain, the court has “full power” to make the appropriate order.”

Finally, at the very end of his judgment (paragraph 18(9), he noted that:

“… there is nothing in this decision to deter public authorities or others from issuing proceedings in a timely way in appropriate cases. Far from increasing the risk of costs orders being made, or their being made with effect from an earlier date, the greater likelihood is that matters would not reach the stage where such orders were in prospect at all.”

CategoryCOP jurisdiction and powers - Costs Date


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