Whether an Interested Party can get its costs


One of the issues in this case was whether an “Interested Party” would be entitled to have its  costs relating to an application which it successfully supported. Akenhead J held that it was so  entitled. Section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 gives the court a complete discretion as to  costs and in the House of Lords’ decision in Bolton Metropolitan v Secretary of State for the Environment [1995] costs were awarded to an Interested Party. Although  it was said in Bolton that an Interested Party will not normally be entitled to its costs unless there was a separate issue on  which it was entitled to be heard, there were said to be “special features” in that case (eg the  case raised difficult questions of principle arising out of a change of government policy).

Here, the Interested Party was said to be entitled to its costs because it had had “a very serious  and fundamental commercial interest in the outcome of the proceedings” and it was important that it support the  application. Two key witness statements were provided by the Interested Party and these had been  prepared by its solicitors (the statements covered an issue which had to be addressed and about which these witnesses had specific knowledge).