- Can private prosecutors recover their pre-commencement costs? (Football Association Premier League v Lord Chancellor)
- What are the practical implications of this case from both a general costs jurisdiction perspective and also a private prosecutions perspective?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- The jurisdiction of the Divisional Court
- Recovery of costs incurred before the commencement of proceedings
- The court referred to the judgment in R (TM Eye Ltd) v Pama and Co Ltd. How were the costs incurred treated differently in that case?
- Case details
Corporate Crime analysis: Under section 17 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (POA 1985), private prosecutors can recover ‘just and reasonable’ costs incurred ‘in the proceedings’ from central funds. In what is a significant decision for private prosecutors, the Divisional Court unanimously held that private prosecutors could recover costs incurred before proceedings were commenced—that is to say, prior to a summons being issued or an information being laid. To come to this decision, the court had to consider what Parliament meant by ‘in the proceedings’, although much of the court’s reasoning was based on public interest considerations. As such, it is doubtful that this interpretation will be applicable to other areas of law. Nevertheless, the case is an important authority for private prosecutors because it allows them to claim costs that were previously not possible. However, the exact remit of these costs is not clear and of course it also remains subject to the court’s discretion to limit costs to what it perceives is just and reasonable. Written by Sarah Wood, barrister and Sophia Kerridge, pupil barrister, at 5 St Andrew’s Hill.
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