What follows is an article I wrote for the July 2019 issue of Journal of Licensing. I look at the principles underlying the award of costs, and how they apply to licensing appeals.
For much of the time, licensing is a “safe space” so far as costs are concerned.
In most “first instance” licensing tribunals - such as local authority licensing sub-committees, the typical common law principle that costs “following the event” does not apply.
So, when a party decides to participate in a licensing case, whether as an applicant or an objector, there is generally no risk that if unsuccessful, it will have to pay the legal costs of any other party: what are known as “adverse costs”.
Adverse costs risk is a strong disincentive to participation in legal proceedings. Even allowing for his characterist...