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Costs Award in Crossrail

Gregory Jones QC

In what appears possibly to be a first the Crossrail Select Committee has recommended that the Secretary of State pay half the costs (engineering consultants and legal fees) incurred by AMP Limited, a mail distributor company based in Woolwich, in reaching a settlement which led to proposal AP/3 of the Crossrail Bill. The initial Crossrail proposal would have placed a shaft in the centre of the Petitioner's operations requiring it to relocate. Following a petition by AMP Limited and extensive talks the Secretary of State ageed to promote AP/3 which moved the shaft allowing AMP Ltd's business to remain. However, the settlement proved fruitless when the Committee recommended that a station be situated in Woolwich, and the Secretary of State placed it on part of the Petitioner's site requiring it to move in any event.

Previously, in respect of other applications, the Secretary of State had argued that there was no jurisdiction to make an award of costs since the Parliamentary Costs Act 2006 applied only to private bills and furthermore that even if the PCA 2006 applied the condition for an award presented a very high hurdle of certain conditions precedent (see section 10 PCA 2006). However, the petitioner argued that there was inherent power to make a costs award and that the PCA 2006 did not create the jurisdiction but merely limited it so that not only could costs be awarded in respect of a hybrid bill but the award was not governed by the tests for private bills set out at section 10 PCA 2006. The committee, recognising the unique circumstances of the particular petitioner, recommended the award of half its costs to be paid by the Secretary of State.

Gregory Jones (instructed by David Mundy of Bircham Dyson Bell) appeared for the petitioner.