I'm re-reading Dickens's Bleak House. In case it's been a while since you've read the book, Bleak House features the endless case Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in Chancery, which eventually, after decades, eats up the entire estate it's about in court costs.
England is still at it, abusing court costs. The difference is that, in Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, only the estate itself is devoured. Individual people become involved and lose all their money only insofar as they are mesmerized by the case and choose to devote themselves to it, thinking to gain something from it. (There is one exception: a pathetic executor who is imprisoned indefinitely for obscure reasons, but Dickens only mentions him once.) There is no intent to target any individual for ideological reasons. It's just, as Dickens observes repeatedly with some bitterness, a bad system that rewards cynical lawyers. In the case I'm about to write about here, the targeting is obvious and deliberate, and court costs are the means of punishment.
England supposedly allows abortion only for limited reasons. Killing little girls in the womb just because they are little girls is not supposed to be one of those reasons. (No, I don't believe there should be any exceptions for abortion, but that isn't what this post is about; I'm just noting the state of law in England.) Aisling Hubert is a young, quixotic, pro-life activist who decided to expose the fact that some doctors are performing sex-selection abortions, contrary to law. She did just that, but the Crown Prosecution refused to prosecute, stating not that the evidence was lacking but that it was "not in the public interest" to do so. Exactly why it was not in the public interest was (as far as I've been able to tell) left obscure. All the more obscure since apparently the prosecution stated that there was a "reasonable prospect of conviction."
But England's system allows for private prosecution (rather interestingly), so young Hubert courageously took upon herself to go that route.
Then came the twist: The English system also allows the Crown Prosecution to interfere and take a private prosecution back into its own hands. Normally one would assume (at least I would) that this would be because the Crown Prosecution realized that the case really should be prosecuted. But in this case, the CP intervened apparently for the sole purpose of making sure that the sex-selecting abortionists got off scot free and, adding injury to insult, that Aisling Hubert would be punished for daring to pursue them.
The judge in the case ruled that Hubert has to pay the legal costs of the case, including those of the defendants, and the Crown Prosecution cheerfully added their costs. The bill is 47,000 British pounds, which Google's handy pound-to-dollar conversion tells me is just over $61K.
As far as I can tell, there is no requirement that Hubert be fined the court costs, even though her attempt to prosecute was successfully blocked. The Crown Prosecution itself smugly stated that "the costs were a matter for the judge." The judge's reasoning was that the case was "unnecessary," whatever that means, so Hubert has to pay.
Hubert doesn't have the money and plans to petition the court to be allowed to pay in installments what amounts to a fine for her attempt to apply the rule of law to abortionists. Otherwise, in a truly Dickensian twist, she could be sent to jail for failure to pay.
I'm not an expert in English law, but it really does look to me like this court cost award is ideologically biased. Her private prosecution could scarcely be regarded as merely frivolous, given that the prosecution itself stated that there was a reasonable chance of conviction. And if the decision about court costs was "up to the judge," then presumably he could have left the situation where it was, with the Crown Prosecution paying its own costs, the abortionists paying theirs, Hubert paying hers, and the British taxpayer paying the judge's salary and the light bill in the court. Putting it all on Hubert looks like a warning: Don't you uppity pro-lifers (or other conservatives) think you can use this private prosecution thing to try to get around our selective non-prosecution of our favored people.
So much for blind justice.
God bless Aisling Hubert.