The Conservative and Unionist Party v The Election Commissioner and Others: Admn 19 Feb 2010

A local election result had been set aside for fraud in the winning Conservative candidate. The Commissioner made an order for costs against his party which was now challenged for lack of jurisdiction the Commissioner being functus officio, and the court was now asked to determine the extent to which someone who was not a party to an election petition might nevertheless be ordered to pay the costs of someone who was a party to it.
Held: Keith J accepted the proposition that the law did not permit an adverse order for the costs of an election petition to be made against a person or entity who was not a party to that petition. On the second issue, he considered himself bound by decisions of the Divisional Court and Court of Appeal in R. v. Cripps ex parte Muldoon to conclude that the Election Court ceased to exist when it made its determination under s. 145 of the 1983 Act.
Keith J said: ‘. . the effect of the words ‘except such as are by this Act otherwise provided for’ in section 154(1) is to limit the circumstances in which non-parties can be responsible for costs to the circumstances set out in any provision in the Act, and the only provision in the Act which does that is section 156. I appreciate that statutory provisions should be construed if possible so as to be consistent with legal policy. That includes enabling litigants to be assured that if they are successful they will recover their legal costs, if necessary against non-parties to the litigation in appropriate circumstances if the party against whom the order for costs is made defaults. I appreciate also that statutory provisions should be construed if possible to give effect to the presumed intention of Parliament, and Parliament may be presumed to have wanted litigants not to be deterred from bringing meritorious election petitions by the fear that they will not recover their costs. But these considerations simply cannot overcome the plain words of the exception in section 154(1), to say nothing of the words ‘[s]ubject to the provisions of this or any other enactment’ in section 51(1) of the 1981 Act and the words ‘subject to the provisions of this Act’ in sections 123(2) and 157(3).’

Keith J
[2010] EWHC 285 (Admin), [2010] PTSR 937
Representation of the People Act 1983 156
England and Wales
BindingRegina v Cripps; Ex parte Muldoon CA 1984
The Elections Commissioner had sought, some time after his order on a petition, to clarify the order from costs.
Held: The Commissioner, and in turn Keith J, had been wrong to consider themselves not bound by Muldoon. What Mr Cripps (the . .
CitedAiden Shipping Co Ltd v Interbulk Ltd (The ‘Vimeira’) HL 1986
Wide Application of Costs Against Third Party
A claim had been made against charterers by the ship owners, and in turn by the charterers against their sub-charterers. Notice of motion were issued after arbitration awards were not accepted. When heard, costs awards were made, which were now . .
CitedUllah and Others, Ahmed v Pagel, Scallan, Kennedy CA 12-Dec-2002
The claimants sought to issue election petitions to challenge the results of local elections. The petitioners had complied with all the rules save that they had failed to serve the notice of presentation within the five day period. The claimants . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromThe Conservative and Unionist Party v The Election Commissioner CA 23-Nov-2010
A losing candidate at a local election alleged corrupt and illegal practices relating to the entry of non-existent people on the electoral roll and using postal votes. The Election Commissioner found this proved and the election void, and awarded . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 11 December 2021; Ref: scu.401860