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Security for costs ordered in competition proceedings concerning alleged breaches of airport bye-laws

By: Ian Fitzharris BL

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High Court grants application for security for costs brought by defendant airport authority against plaintiff provider of car rental services at an airport, in proceedings challenging the authority's operation of airport bye-laws concerning the provision of car rental services to the general public where the parties are agreed that the defendant has met the legal test for granting of the application, but the court: (1) disagrees with the plaintiff that this is not a case where the court should exercise its discretion to refuse the relief sought in circumstances where no 'point of fact of national importance' arises from the potentially advantageous impact on consumers were the proceedings ultimately to be successful; and (2) decides the quantum of such security based upon the uncontested evidence of the defendant's legal costs accountant as to the likely costs of the case proceeding to a full hearing.

Security for costs - application meets legal test for granting security for costs - prima facie defence - plaintiff will be unable to discharge defendant's costs if proceedings unsuccessful - whether specific circumstances exist in which court ought to exercise its discretion not to make order sought - benefits to consumer if proceedings successful - provision of cheaper car rental facilities at airport not a point of fact of national importance or a concern of great public moment - defendant's failure to pursue District Court prosecution for breach of bye-laws - no determination by defendant on status of third-party licensed bus provider operating services at airport - plaintiff freely brought proceedings - limitations on District Court's powers regarding bye-law powers - quantum of security - no indemnity against all costs nor an encouragement to luxurious litigation - legal costs accountant evidence uncontested of costs of proceedings to go to full hearing

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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