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Upper Tribunal encourages parties to reach agreement on costs. Or else.


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Potentially useful case when seeking to agree costs in good time. The official headnote:

Where judicial review proceedings are resolved by settlement, the parties are responsible for doing all they can to agree costs, both as to liability and amount, rather than leaving this to the decision of the Tribunal, which is likely to carry its own penalty.

And from the admirably succinct judgment:

5. I should like at this point to draw both parties’ attention to what Stanley Burnton LJ said at paragraphs 75 – 77 of the Croydon decision: there are too many cases in which courts, or now this Tribunal, are left to decide the question of costs, because the parties have found that the easiest solution from their own point of view. While resolution of the substantive issues is to be encouraged, it is also necessary to encourage the actual resolution of costs issues, if judicial time is not to be spent on them which could better be used in dealing with substantive issues in other cases.

6. While I do not aim to give any comprehensive guidance as to how this should be done, in this case an offer by the respondent in the letter of 30 September in the terms put forward, but including an offer of costs up to and including the grant of permission, would most likely have been accepted. If not, it would certainly have put the applicant at risk of paying the respondent’s costs from then on.

7. The result is that the respondent is to pay the applicant’s reasonable costs to date, to be assessed if not agreed. However on this I repeat, with even greater force, my reference to what Stanley Burnton said: any unreasonable failure by the parties to reach an agreement between themselves is likely to be penalized in costs.

Source: Munyua, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Parties’ responsibility to agree costs) [2017] UKUT 78 (IAC) (13 February 2017)

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.