Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED January 28, 2003

Where an appellant had successfully appealed against sentence following conviction for a criminal offence, a costs order should normally be made in his favour unless there were positive reasons not to make such an order, which reasons should be stated by the court.Defendant's ('C') application for judicial review of a decision of Exeter Crown Court on 5 April 2002 refusing a defendant's costs order following a successful appeal against sentence of a fine of ?15,000 imposed by Exeter Magistrates' Court on 28 November 2001 in respect of an offence of knowing that a place where a public entertainment licence was in force would be used otherwise than in accordance with that licence contrary to para.12(2) Sch.1 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1972. The offence related to overcrowding and the defendant had pled guilty. On the appeal, the fine had been reduced to £12,000. The defendant argued: (i) in reliance on Practice Direction (Crime: Costs) (1991) 1 WLR 498 as amended and R v Birmingham Juvenile Court ex parte H (1992) 156 JP 445 that a successful defendant's costs order should normally be made unless there were positive reasons for not doing so; and (ii) that if there had been positive reasons for not making the order the magistrates had failed to state what those reasons were.HELD: (1) The same principles as to a successful defendants' costs applied in criminal cases as in civil cases. (2) Positive reasons should be given for a refusal of costs unless those reasons were obvious. (3) Even where the reasons were obvious it was desirable that short reasons be given. (4) Reasons for the refusal of a defendants' costs order could include: (a) where the court allowed an appeal against sentence as an act of mercy; or (b) where an appellants' counsel had wholly failed to put sufficient information before the court. (5) In the present case there were no basis on which the court could possibly refuse the order sought. The defendants' costs of the appeal and the present case would be paid out of central funds.Application allowed. Order quashed.

[2003] EWHC 184 (Admin)