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Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many occasions since the implementation of the Licensing Act magistrates have awarded costs against objectors; and what written guidance he has given to magistrates on the exercise of their discretion to award such costs. (181060)

The Ministry of Justice does not collect information on the award of costs against objectors in licensing cases. It would not be appropriate for the Secretary of State to issue guidance to magistrates on the award of costs since this is a matter of judicial discretion. The Justices' Clerks Society and the Magistrates Association, in conjunction with the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS), published an article in “The Magistrate” magazine setting out as a principle that the award of costs against an unsuccessful individual, including objectors, should be exceptional.