Costs Awards In Appeals - Can You Afford Not To?

The costs awards regime seeks to increase the discipline of parties when taking action within the planning system, through financial consequences for those parties who have behaved unreasonably and have caused unnecessary or wasted expense in the process. A party may be ordered to meet the costs of another party, wholly or in part, on specific application by the aggrieved party”….COSTS AWARDS IN APPEALS AND OTHER PLANNING PROCEEDINGS CIRCULAR 2006.

During Appeals the parties normally meet their own expenses however; it is possible in certain circumstances for you to be eligible for a “Costs Award”.  A Costs Award is an Order, enforceable by the Courts, that allows you to claim the full or part of the costs of your Appeal. 

Costs can be awarded for all types of procedures including written representations, hearings and inquiries.  The amount you are able to claim will cover the cost of employing an agent and for their representation throughout the appeal.  It will also cover the costs of the costs application itself and the use of a range of professional expertise to provide detailed technical advice.

WRITTEN REPRESENTATION

The costs application will be submitted, as a separate matter, at the same time as the appeal supported by a full statement of why an award is considered justified. The reasons for refusal, as cited by the council, should be addressed inpidually. Unnecessary costs must be quantified and proven. You should note that a Costs Award should only be applied for where it is felt fully justified that the “other party” has acted unreasonably. Refusal of planning permission in itself is not adequate reason for claiming costs.

 

HEARING AND INQUIRIES

Hearings and inquiries require the appellant to submit an advance written statement of their grounds or written skeleton argument and disclose this to the other party so that the intention to claim for costs is made clear.

When a Costs Award is granted it does not specify the amount to be paid however, it gives directions for the award to be calculated and the parties have to agree the costs following receipt of the Award. If the amount cannot be agreed then the matter can be referred to a Costs Officer of the Supreme Court Costs Office for a detailed assessment of the amount.

A Costs Award is not common procedure and it is not automatically awarded following a successful appeal and, likewise, an unsuccessful appellant is not expected to automatically cover the other side’s costs. It is perfectly feasible that, whilst you may claim for a full cost Award, you will only be granted a partial award or even refused a costs claim in its entirety if it is not deemed applicable. Where the application for a full award is allowed in part, a proportion of the expense of making the application will be recoverable accordingly.

Planning Appeals Limited is successful in claiming client’s costs where appropriate and, on examination of your refusal reasons, will automatically decide as to whether a costs application would be pertinent to your appeal.