Regina v Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court, ex parte Chief Constable Dyfed Powys Police: QBD 9 Nov 1998

The Chief Constable, on good grounds, objected to the transfer of a justices’ on-licence to a Mrs W. Mrs W appealed and the Chief Constable, having objected to the transfer, became a respondent. On the appeal Mrs W contended that, since the conduct of which the police complained, she had undergone training and addressed the deficiencies in her performance as a licensee. She furthermore was able to adduce the support of a major brewer. The Crown Court allowed Mrs W’s appeal and granted the transfer of the justices’ licence to her. The court had accepted that the objections placed before it by the police were well-founded and related to serious breaches of the licensing laws. The question of costs then arose. The Crown Court ordered that the police should pay Mrs W’s costs of the appeal. The police appealed the costs order.
Held: Following the Totnes Justices case, ‘In my view, the position is quite clear: the same principle applies before the Crown Court as before the licensing justices. The language of the relevant rules is for all practical purposes identical. This is reinforced by the consideration that the proceedings before the Crown Court take place by way of rehearing. In the same way as the justices need the assistance of the police in respect of the provision of any information which may assist them in deciding whether or not the Applicant is a fit person to hold a licence, the Crown Court requires that assistance. It seems to me that no order can properly be made against the police simply on the basis that costs follow the event. The Crown Court can only make such an order if it can be shown that the police’s position has been totally unreasonable or prompted by some improper motive.’ The Crown Court had misdirected itself.


Lightman J


COT, 9 November 1998


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Totnes Licensing Justices, ex parte Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall QBD 28-May-1990
The court considered the award of costs in a licensing case. Roch J said: ‘There can be no doubt that in civil proceedings between litigants, be it in the High Court or county court, the principle is that costs follow the event. The winning party . .

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 . .
CitedCorner House Research, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry CA 1-Mar-2005
The applicant sought to bring an action to challenge new rules on approval of export credit guarantees. The company was non-profit and founded to support investigation of bribery. It had applied for a protected costs order to support the . .
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.

Magistrates, Costs, Licensing

Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.196679