In R (Easter) v Mid-Suffolk District Council  EWCA Civ 1378 the Court of Appeal rejected a challenge to an award of costs against an interested party in judicial review proceeding. The interested party had been granted planning permission for works relating to an antiques shop. A neighbour brought a judicial review claim against the local planning authority (LPA) seeking to have the permission quashed. At an early stage the LPA indicated it would consent to judgment, but the interested party did not consent. Permission was refused on the papers, after which the interested party actively opposed the claim up to and at an oral permission hearing, at which permission was granted. Eventually the interested party indicated it would agree to a quashing order, which was granted by consent. In determining where the costs of the claim should fall the High Court held that the LPA should bear the costs up to the point the interested party took an active part in opposing the claim, when it sought to file an acknowledgment of service and summary grounds. Thereafter the interested party would be responsible for the claimant’s costs.
On the interested party’s appeal against this order the Court of Appeal held that the Civil Procedure Rules allowed the parties to consent to a quashing order without an oral hearing, and had the interested party not opposed the claim this is what would have happened. The High Court costs discretion was a broad one and the judge below had been entitled to make the costs order she did.
Robin Green acted for the respondent local planning authority, Mid-Suffolk DC.