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Medicaments and related classes of Goods No.4, Court of Appeal

13 August 2001
The issues

Wasted costs – Lord Chancellor’s liability

The facts

This concerned an application by the Director General of Trading in the Restrictive Practises at Court. The hearing had to be abandoned because it appeared to the parties that a member of the Court was biased. The costs concerned were estimated as being in something of the region of a million pounds!

The applicants for the wasted costs submitted that their right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights had been infringed and that they were entitled to compensation by the Lord Chancellor who was an emanation of the State responsible for providing impartial tribunals to conduct trials.

The decision

The Lord Chancellor had argued that an impartial tribunal had been made available, subsequently, so that Article 6 had not been infringed. The Court had itself remedied the situation and the application had proceeded afresh in a reconstituted Court. It was trite convention law that an Appeal Court could remedy the defects of first instant decisions so that no violation could be said to have occurred. There was no authority for holding under convention law that in these circumstances applicants were entitled to recover wasted legal costs.

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