Prior to his appointment in 1999, he was a Partner in a general practice in the North East. He has had a keen interest in costs since the early 1980s having been principal in a cost drafting firm in the North West. Ian was appointed as a Regional Cost Judge in November 2005.
Ian Besford has been frequently quoted in connection with campaigners fighting against "unfair" bank charges. In July 2007 he ordered two banks to come clean over unauthorised overdraft fees in a move that could see the true cost of bank charges revealed for the first time. He told Yorkshire Bank and Alliance and Leicester to disclose how they calculate their penalty fees and what the actual cost to them is of servicing a bounced payment.