The Administrative Court has issued strict guidance on how it will approach applications for costs following the settlement of judicial review claims, after complaining that it faces “a significant number of such cases, poorly considered and prepared by the parties”.
It includes limiting submissions to just two pages of A4, given that at the moment cases are “consuming judicial time far beyond what is proportionate”.
The guidance, the use of which is mandatory, stresses that the onus is on the parties to reach agreement on costs wherever possible, and says they should not make submissions to the court on costs unless they have “exhausted all reasonable avenues of negotiation and compromise, having properly applied the principles in M v Croydon  EWCA Civ 595”.
The parties also need “a clear understanding of the basis upon which they have failed to reach agreement and are in a position to provide a lucid and concise explanation of this in their submissions to the court”.
The third condition is that “the party claiming costs is clear that the court will able to decide that an order for costs should be made in favour of that party applying those principles [in M v Croydon], in a proportionate use of its time, and bearing in mind that unless it is clear that the claimant seeking costs has succeeded on all of the substantive parts of the claim, it is much more likely that there will be no order as to costs”.
The guidance then sets out standard directions that will apply in the absence of special circumstances, permitting one submission from the receiving party and then one from the paying party, with no further submissions unless the court asks for them. The submissions cannot be more than two pages of A4 in length; if they are, then the court will only read the first two pages.
Read the guidance in full here.