The case of Fullick v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 1941 (QB) concerned an appeal of a Deputy Master’s order that the MET Commissioner pay the claimants’ costs in the sum of £88,356.22, following the settlement of a contemplated civil claim for damages for breach of Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, negligence and misfeasance in public office. Slade J held that the Deputy Master had not erred in awarding the claimants their costs relating to the inquest because the steps taken for the purposes of it were relevant to the civil claim.
In Bennett v Chief Constable of Merseyside  EWHC 3591 (Admin), the High Court confirmed that a district judge was correct to make no order for costs against the police after it withdrew its Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (‘POCA’) s.298 application for cash forfeiture. In considering the decision of the district judge, the High Court reaffirmed three points:
i. The starting point is that no order for costs should be made provided that the public authority has acted reasonably and properly;
ii. In determining whether the police acted reasonably and properly, the court should scrutinise the behaviour of the police with care; and
iii. It may be justifiable to award costs against the police, particularly where the successful private party would suffer substantial hardship if no order for costs were made in their favour.
The High Court has held in Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v Brown  EWHC 2046 (Admin) that qualified one-way costs shifting (‘QOCS’) protection does not apply automatically in proceedings where a claimant is advancing both a claim for damages for personal injury and a claim other than a claim for damages for personal injury (a ‘mixed claim’).
Dogs and property throw up some of the more unusual and difficult issues on which a police lawyer is asked to advise. In the decision of Henderson v Comr of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 666 (Admin) and the subsequent costs decision at  EWHC 1092 (Admin), the court visited two issues – the standing of a person to intervene in a case concerning the destruction of a potentially prohibited breed and kennelling costs during the course of an appeal by way of case stated/judicial review to the High Court.
Where the police are unsuccessful in a closure order application there is no presumption that there be no order compensating the Respondent for financial loss. Unlike when considering the position on costs, the court’s focus on an application for compensation should be on the respondent’s behaviour, not that of the police, so held the Administrative Court in R (Qin) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWHC 2750 (Admin).