The Administrative Court hears, amongst other matters, cases where members of the public seek judicial review of decisions made by public bodies, including health bodies.
The recently decided case of M v Croydon 2012 considered the issue of costs in Administrative Court (AC) cases. In its judgment, the Court of Appeal gave general guidance on costs issues in AC cases. In summary, that advice was that:
- In a case where a claimant has been wholly successful either following a hearing or following a settlement with the other party, the claimant should usually recover their costs, unless there is a good reason why that should not happen
- Where the claimant has only succeeded in part following a settlement, the court will be able to form a view by determining questions such as how reasonable it was for the claimant to pursue the unsuccessful claim, how important the unsuccessful issue was compared to the successful issue and how much the costs were increased by as a result of pursuing the unsuccessful element of the claim. However, the court acknowledged that in such cases no order as to costs may be the appropriate order.
- Where there has been a compromise which does not actually reflect the claimant’s claim, it is difficult to judge which party has been successful and in such cases the default position should be no order for costs.