Indemnity Costs Order in "unreasonable" and "vexatious" prosecution of Boris Johnson

On 7 June 2019, the Divisional Court (Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Supperstone) allowed an application for judicial review against the decision of Westminster Magistrates' Court to issue three summonses against Boris Johnson, on the application of Marcus Ball and Brexit Justice Limited.  

On 20 September, the Court made an Order for costs against the Private Prosecutor in the sum of £101,130. The Court concluded that, in view of the conduct of the Private Prosecutor in bringing and pursuing the private prosecution, he should pay the Claimant's costs on an indemnity basis.  

Not only did the Private Prosecutor reject the advice of eminent Queen's Counsel that the offence could not be made out, he commenced the prosecution "in breach of the duty of candour" owed to the Court. In the Divisional Court’s view, the evidence "shows that the prosecution was politically motivated and vexatious" and there was "plainly no proper legal basis for the issue of the summonses in this case". The bringing of this prosecution was "unreasonable to a high degree" and "deserving the punitive element of an order for indemnity costs”. 

Adrian Darbishire QC and Rachna Gokani represented Mr Johnson, instructed by Ellen Peart of BCL Solicitors.

Please click here for the costs judgment and here for the decision to quash the summonses.

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