A protected expenses order has been granted at the Court of Session in favour of a community council limiting its liability for the costs of an appeal against a decision by Glasgow City Council.
Hillhead Community Council (HCC) brought an appeal against the proposed Glasgow City Council (Hillhead) (Traffic Management and Parking Control) Order 2014. If granted, that Order would see the introduction by Glasgow City Council of parking bays for use by both residents and visitors. The cost of a permit would be reduced for residents and visitors would park on a pay and display basis.
HCC brought a challenge in the Court of Session against the local authority’s decision to allow others to use resident-only parking spaces. HCC maintain that the city council failed to consider all objections to the making of the order and to have regard to national air quality strategy.
The HCC secretary fears such changes would lead to “traffic chaos”. One current permit holder, a single mother of three with a disabled child uses her car for runs to two different schools and trips to hospital, says the “system will benefit people from outside the area and meet the demands of businesses. Residents do not want it.”
In early April 2015, Lord Bannatyne ruled that it would be “fair and just” to limit the community council’s liability for legal expenses to £1,000 as they would not otherwise be able to afford to proceed with the action. He also determined that the local authority’s liability should be limited to £15,000.
A protective costs order can be made at any stage of proceedings on such conditions as the court thinks fit, provided that the court is satisfied that:
- The issues raised are of general public importance
- The public interest requires that those issues should be resolved
- The applicant has no private interest in the outcome of the case
- Having regard to the financial resources of the applicant and the respondent and to the amount of costs there are likely to be involved, it is fair and just to make the order
- And if the order is not made the applicant will probably discontinue the proceedings and will be acting reasonably in doing so
Lord Bannatyne in a written opinion said “I conclude that having regard to the first appellants’ financial circumstances including the sum raised to date for this action and their own legal expenses together with the general financial position of the respondents it would be fair and just to limit their liability and the expenses to the respondents to the figure of £1000.” This decision was greatly welcomed by the Community Council.
We await developments with interest.