Chief Constable of Derbyshire v Goodman and Newton: Admn 2 Apr 1998

Firearms licences were granted to the two respondents, but then revoked by the Chief Constable. They appealed to the Crown Court and their appeal was allowed. The judge, however, ordered the Chief Constable to pay the costs of the two respondents, and he appealed against that order.
Held: The appeal was allowed. May LJ said: ‘It should be said that the learned judge had found that the Chief Constable had acted entirely in good faith, and no criticism was levelled against him in the way in which this had been handled.’
Having considered a number of decided cases, he continued: ‘It is of course important to say that decisions as to costs are discretionary and that any court or tribunal exercising such discretion is obliged to take into account all relevant circumstances. One such relevant circumstance was that this was indeed a police authority performing a statutory licensing function. This will not be determinative of all cases, but it is important that the tribunal takes into account that, generally speaking, a cost order adverse to such an authority would not be made unless there was some good reason for doing so, which was more than the fact that the other party to the contest had succeeded.’ He concluded: ‘In my view, this is a borderline case so far as costs are concerned. I can certainly see some force in [counsel’s] submissions, but exercising afresh, as in my view we are entitled to do, the discretion which Judge Morrison exercised, I consider on balance that this is not a case where costs ought to have been ordered against the Chief Constable. He acted, as the judge held, in complete good faith and, in those circumstances, the costs order ought not to have been made against him.’


May LJ


[1998] EWHC Admin 390




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBradford City Metropolitan District Council v Booth QBD 10-May-2000
The local authority had refused to renew a private hire vehicle licence. That refusal was successfully challenged, and the magistrates had awarded costs on the basis that they should follow the event. The authority appealed.
Held: The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Magistrates, Costs, Police

Updated: 27 May 2022; Ref: scu.138511