British Telecommunications Plc v Office of Communications CAT 20: CAT 27 May 2005

The dispute giving rise to the appeal had been between BT and Vodafone, which had supported the Office of Communications. Although BT had been successful, the tribunal refused to award it its costs.
Held: The Tribunal’s Rules conferred an unrestricted power to make such award of costs as it thought fit: ‘CPR Part 44.3(2), which provides that the general rule is that the unsuccessful party will be ordered to pay the costs of the successful party but the court may make a different order, is not replicated in the Tribunal’s Rules and consequently does not apply to the Tribunal. Parliament has not created any presumption that in proceedings before the Tribunal costs should ‘follow the event’.’ and ‘we have to strike a balance between, on the one hand, the fact that BT has been successful, and on the other hand, the various considerations mentioned above. Rule 55 gives the Tribunal a wide discretion. Our judgment is that where OFCOM has determined a dispute in accordance with the procedure in the 1997 Regulations, and could have been appealed against by either side, it would not be right to order OFCOM to pay BT’s costs in circumstances where OFCOM defended the appeal entirely reasonably and wider public interests were involved. BT has benefited commercially from the stance which it legitimately took. We do not consider that BT will suffer material financial hardship if the costs of this case are treated as part of the general regulatory costs which BT incurs by virtue of the fact that it has significant market power.’


[2005] CAT 20




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedPerinpanathan, Regina (on The Application of) v City of Westminster Magistrates Court and Another CA 4-Feb-2010
The appellant’s daughter had been stopped entering the country with andpound;150,000 in cash. The police sought an order for its forfeiture, suspecting a link with terrorism. The magistrates found no evidence of such, and declined to make the order, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 30 June 2022; Ref: scu.225359