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Bramford: Royal British Legion club fails in bid to reclaim legal costs

PUBLISHED: 06:00 04 March 2014

Members of the Bramford Royal British Legion outside South East Suffolk Magistrates Court at an earlier hearing

Members of the Bramford Royal British Legion outside South East Suffolk Magistrates Court at an earlier hearing

A Royal British Legion club will have to pay thousands of pounds after it lost a case to recover its costs at the High Court.

A district judge found in favour of the Royal British Legion (RBL) club in Bramford in 2012 after it disputed a warning notice from Mid Suffolk District Council over the level of noise coming from its functions.
But each side was ordered to pay for their own legal costs,
despite the club being successful at East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

Chairman of the RBL group, Roy Clover, had said the charity’s finances were “decimated” by the court proceedings in 2012 and challenged the ruling at the High Court in an attempt to win back its own costs.

But the High Court dismissed the club’s application and has ordered it to pay Mid Suffolk’s costs of almost £4,200 within 28 days after the council took on the case as an “interested party”. The council’s costs come on top of what are expected to be significant costs for the club.

Jonathan Reed, senior solicitor for Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils, said he did not feel the club’s High Court challenge had been “reasonable”.

“We feel it’s a victory for the council but are mindful that the RBL is a charity and feel sorry for them and that they have to pay our costs,” he said.

“(I have) mixed emotions. I can see it from their point of view – it’s not a great place for them to be.”

He said it was the council’s job as “custodians of public money” to resist the club’s call to claw back its costs from the original case.

The council’s costs, including proceedings at both courts, was about £16,000, Mr Reed said.

No-one from the RBL club was available to comment, but its legal representative, Richard Tinkler, of Tinkler Solicitors, said: “The matter is concluded and done with. The club have been waiting a year for it and a decision was made.

“They can pay it, it’s not a problem for them. As far as they are concerned a line has been drawn under it.”

The High Court judge indicated she would have reached a different view had she heard the earlier noise case.

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