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Costs against a regulator: Baxendale Walker v The Law Society [2006] EWHC 643

The comment of Moses LJ that, ‘Absent dishonesty or lack of good faith a costs order should not be made against a regulator unless there is good reason to do so’ was said to have ‘put the matter too highly in favour of a regulator’ by Waller LJ in the case of Law Society v Adcock & Anor [2006] EWHC 3212 (Admin). It did not accurately reflect the words of Lord Bingham of Cornhill CJ in City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council v Booth [2000] COD 3388, namely, ‘Where a complainant has successfully challenged before justices an administrative decision made by a police or regulatory authority acting honestly, reasonable, properly and on grounds that reasonably appeared to be sound, in exercise of its public duty, the court should consider, in addition to any other relevant fact or circumstances, both (i) the financial prejudice to the particular complainant in the particular circumstances if an order for costs is not made in his favour; and (ii) the need to encourage public authorities to make and stand by honest, reasonable and apparently sound administrative decisions made in the public interest without rear of exposure to under financial prejudice if the decision is successfully challenged.’


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