Re Steven Neary; LB Hillingdon v Steven Neary [2011] EWHC 3522 (COP)

(1) Each application for costs must be considered on its own merit: the previous cases were illustrative only and provided no guidance on the Rules. (2) The judge departed from the general rule in welfare cases (that each party bears his own costs) as this was not a typical case: Hillingdon's actions were significantly unreasonable in relation to the illegality of its actions, its disorganised decision-making, the lack of a proper best interests assessment, its uncooperative attitude to Stephen's father, its delay in referring the matter to the court (thereby increasing costs), and its attempt to defend its actions to the end, both in court and in the media. (3) Hillingdon were ordered to pay the OS's costs from the date of issue to the conclusion of the main hearing in May 2011 but not (a) costs in relation to the press issue, which raised issues of general public importance, or (b) costs following the main hearing, during which Hillingdon adopted a cooperative stance. (4) The application for indemnity costs was respectable, but an award on the standard basis was sufficient.

Related judgments

Neary v LB Hillingdon [2013] MHLO 87 (SEC)

Re Steven Neary; LB Hillingdon v Steven Neary [2012] MHLO 71 (COP)


Judgment: 29/12/11

Before: Peter Jackson J

Mr Hilton Harrop-Griffiths (instructed by Hillingdon Legal Services) for the Applicant

Ms Aswini Weereratne (instructed by Miles & Partners on behalf of the Official Solicitor) for the First Respondent

Mr Mark Neary made no submissions


Thanks to Sophy Miles (Doughty Street Chambers) for providing the judgment.

External links



What Do They Know website, 'Cost to HBC of legal proceedings in Neary v Hillingdon' (FOI request made 27/7/12). The FOI reply, dated 24/8/12, states that the costs to LB Hillingdon were: (1) solicitor costs 464.35 in-house hours (£32,318.31 at notional charge-out rate of approx £69.60ph); (2) counsel £32182; (3) expert reports £5231.65; (4) compensation £35,000; (5) court costs ordered and future costs not known at time of reply.