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Ladbrokes plc v Hillingdon Borough Council: costs

In September 2013, Uxbridge Magistrates' Court allowed Ladbrokes' appeal against the refusal of a betting office licence in Uxbridge High Street. On 23rd October 2013, the Court made a costs order in favour of Ladbrokes in the sum of £32,000.

The Court took into account the principles expressed in City of Bradford MBC v Booth. It held that while the original decision had been within the powers of the Council to make, the rationale of the decision had not been supported by the evidence adduced by the Council. Accordingly, the Court held that the Council's decision in refusing the licence was unsound, and further that examination of Ladbrokes' case should have shown that the Council's case, as prepared for court, would not succeed.

Philip Kolvin QC commented: "this case, along with the recent costs decision against the Council in Sainsbury's v Leicester City Council demonstrates the critical importance for councils to support their decision with proper evidence on appeal. If they do not, they risk an order for costs, however sound their decision may have appeared at the time."

Philip Kolvin QC of Cornerstone Barristers acted for Sainsbury in Sainsbury's Supermarkets Limited v Leicester City Council and for Ladbrokes in Ladbrokes plc v Hillingdon Borough Council.