AA -v- Government and Social Care Ombudsman and another (anonymity order)

Administrative CourtHigh CourtKing's Bench DivisionAnonymity Order

Claim number: AC-2024-LON-000476

In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
Administrative Court

27 March 2024


Matthew Butt KC sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court


The King on the application of
AA (by her litigation friend AB)


Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Dependability Ltd


London Borough of Hounslow
(Interested party)


On an application by the Claimant

Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant and Defendant

ORDER by Matthew Butt KC sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court

  1. I make an anonymity order in the case. The Claimant will be known as AA and her mother as AB. This is due to AA’s age and disability and to protect her Article 8 rights.
  2. I grant permission for the Claimant to discontinue her claim should this be required.
  3. In relation to costs, I note the normal rule that costs will follow the event and that the claim being withdrawn at this stage would require the Claimant to pay the Defendant’s costs to date (preparing the AOS in line with Mount Cook principles).
  4. I consider that exceptional circumstances apply in this case, however, which justify departing from the normal course.
  5. I acknowledge that the Claimant did not comply with the pre-action protocol and that the Defendant wrote to the Claimant on 5 March 2024 inviting her to withdraw the claim which she failed to do.
  6. I also acknowledge the points the Defendant makes about the role of the Ombudsman and its powers. The Defendant is correct that it does not have power to “renew [the Claimant’s] blue badge” which is the remedy sought. This could however have been shortly set out within an AOS.
  7. There has been a significant change in circumstance since the AOS was served in that Hounslow have issued the blue badge which the Claimant sought on 20 March 2024. I do not consider that it would be in the interests of justice to require AB to pay what would be a significant sum in costs for a claim in which she has obtained the relief she sought.
  8. I bear in mind in this regard that the Claimant is a vulnerable child and her litigation friend (in relation to whom costs are sought) is unrepresented and her carer. This is also relevant when understanding the failure to follow the pre-action protocol or to act upon the 05 March 2024 letter.
  9. I have therefore provisionally determined that exceptionally there is to be no order as to costs in this case. This is provisional as the Defendant was not aware of Hounslow’s decision when the summary grounds of defence were granted.
  10. In the event that the Defendant wishes to make further representations in relation to costs these must be filed within 14 days and shall be limited to two sides of A4.
  11. In the event that the Defendant does file such submissions, I will also consider any submissions from the Claimant in response to be sent within 14 days of the Defendant’s document, also limited to two sides of A4.