QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
(Appeal from West London Magistrates' Court – sitting 25th and 26th February 2009)
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
(SITTING AS A DEPUTY HIGH COURT JUDGE)
| MRS. SHEEJA PRASANNAN
|- and -
|ROYAL BOROUGH OF KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA
Stephen Walsh Q.C. (instructed by Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) for the Respondent
Hearing date: 5th February 2010
Crown Copyright ©
Belinda Bucknall QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) :
(1) Was it wrong to award costs against the Appellant?
(2) Was it wrong to award such costs in the sum of £20,000?
(1) Section 64(1) of the Magistrates Court Act 1980 provides that:-
"(1) Upon the hearing of a complaint, a magistrates' court shall have power in its discretion to make such order as to costs –
(a) on making the order for which the complaint is made, to be paid by the defendant to the complainant;
(b) on dismissing the complaint, to be paid by the complainant to the defendant,
as it thinks just and reasonable; …"
(1) Section 181(2) of the Licensing Act 2003 provides an unfettered discretion as follows:-
"On an appeal in accordance with that Schedule  against a decision of a licensing authority, a magistrates' court may,
(a) dismiss the appeal,
(b) substitute for the decision appealed against any other decision which could have been made by the licencing authority; or
(c) remit the cast to the licensing authority to dispose of it in accordance with the directions of the court,
and may make such order as to costs as it thinks fit."
(2) In Crawley Borough Council v. Attenborough and Attenborough  EWHC 1278 (Admin) Scott Baker LJ said:-
"For my part I see no practical distinction between the terms of section 181 and section 64(1) of the Magistrates Court Act."
(3) Therefore, applying section 64(1), costs must follow the event with the result that the judge had no power to order the successful Appellant to pay the costs of the Respondent.