Family Law Hub

Costs

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  • The parties married in 2004, separated in 2015 and the decree absolute of divorce was granted in 2019. The three children lived with the mother and had only indirect contact with the father. DJ Graham Keating found that their housing needs were being met, albeit imperfectly, by living in the former matrimonial home (FMH). He considered whether the income disparities and needs justified spousal maintenance. Although the mother had not been transparent about her resources, and the parties' litigation history strongly suggested that a clean break and the avoidance of subsequent litigation was very desirable, the mother would be responsible for the care of the children, for housing, feeding, schooling and clothing them. The district judge decided to grant the mother a 48.9% share of the father's 1995 pension, made no order for spousal maintenance, and left the beneficial interest of two properties with the mother and one with the father. He ordered the sale of the FMH, but this would not take effect provided that the mother secured the father's release from the mortgage, and paid him all costs awards from these proceedings, plus interest. If that were done within two years, the FMH need not be sold and the father would transfer his legal and beneficial interest in it to her. The father sought his costs of the FDR, and relied on a schedule of costs totalling £8,468. The district judge ordered that the mother should pay £7,388. The father also claimed for costs for the remainder of the proceedings. The district judge, quoting Mostyn J in OG v AG [2020] EWFC 52 ("if, once the financial landscape is clear, you do not openly negotiate reasonably, then you will likely suffer a penalty in costs") found that each of the factors in FPR 28.3(7)(a), (b), (d) and (e) justified an award of costs in favour of the father, the mother's evidence having been "elusive and evasive" as to her income. The mother was ordered to pay £9,000 towards the father's costs since the FDR. Judgment, 04/07/2021, free
  • The husband and wife had been engaged in highly acrimonious and litigious financial remedy proceedings since late 2019. This hearing concerned the husband's application for the wife to pay, on an indemnity basis, his costs of a preliminary issue regarding the beneficial ownership of five ships and whether the couple were indebted to the second to sixth respondents. The latter issue had been settled following a payment from those respondents to the wife. Lieven J stated that the wife's conduct had been "fairly extraordinary". She had alleged a conspiracy to defraud her of millions of pounds of matrimonial assets, and then decided not to pursue those allegations, having already put the husband to enormous expense and depriving him of the chance to clear his name. It was a basic principle, said Lieven J, that fraud should not be pleaded without sufficient evidence. Where a party pleaded fraud, and then withdrew that claim, the argument that they should pay the other party's costs was even stronger than in the withdrawal of other types of claim. The wife would pay the husband's costs of and occasioned by the preliminary issues on an indemnity basis. Judgment, 15/01/2021, free
  • An executor, the younger brother of the deceased, had appealed against an order for him to exhibit on oath a true and perfect inventory of the estate and an account of its administration. The respondents to the appeal were the deceased's widow and three children from his first marriage. The appeal was dismissed, and in this judgment MacDonald J dealt with whether those costs should be assessed on the standard or the indemnity basis, and the quantum of the costs. He decided that the executor should pay the costs of the respondents on an indemnity basis in the sum of £27,818.92 plus VAT. After delaying for over a decade, the executor had put the respondents to further expense, delay and inconvenience by requiring them to meet an appeal of dubious merit. This was a clear case for the awarding of costs on an indemnity basis. Judgment, 16/12/2020, free
  • A costs application by the father against the mother, following his largely successful applications for child arrangements orders, specific issue orders and prohibited steps orders. There had been five contested hearings. The father cited her conduct of proceedings as relevant under CPR rule 44.2(4)(a) and (5). The mother argued that the established criteria of unreasonable or reprehensible conduct were not satisfied in this case, that it would not be just to make a costs order against her, that such an order would be to the child's detriment, and that if the court were minded to order costs, certain costs should not be included, such as the costs of and incidental to the FHDRA. HHJ Corbett, sitting as a s 9 deputy judge of the High Court, found that the mother's conduct had been unreasonable, she had barely made an effort to engage in proceedings, and a costs order, excluding the costs of the FHDRA, was entirely just. She was ordered to pay a contribution of £15,000 to the father's costs. Judgment, 16/12/2020, free
  • The former husband applied for a legal services payment order pursuant to section 22ZA of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. As matters currently stood, neither party owned assets of any significant value. The former wife had been engaged in offshore litigation, which so far had proved unsuccessful, reducing but not eliminating the likelihood of recovery from that source. Roberts J was satisfied that legal services funding was not an option open to the former husband, nor was he a candidate for a commercial litigation funding arrangement. Focused legal advice could serve to narrow the issues which were currently preventing a settlement. The question then was whether the former wife was in a position to satisfy a legal services provision order. After considering the criteria in section 22ZB(1)(a)–(g), Roberts J decided that she would be able to procure the funding to meet such an order, and would not thereby be exposed to undue hardship or prevented from obtaining her own legal advice. The former wife was ordered to pay the former husband £95,000. Judgment, 21/11/2020, free

Latest know-how

Latest training

  • In this recorded webinar, Petra Teacher from 29 Bedford Row discusses how the courts have dealt with add-backs and financial conduct arguments. Webcast, 14/06/2017, members only
  • Recording of webinar first broadcast on 8 February 2017 Webcast, 10/02/2017, members only
  • Course Objective: By the end of the session you should have an understanding of the regulatory issues relating to unbundled services and learnt how you can manage your client when offering such services. First broadcast on 3 February 2017. Running time 69 mins. Webcast, 07/02/2017, members only
  • Philip Cayford QC and Simon Calhaem of 29 Bedford Row, who represented Mrs Wyatt in the Supreme Court, are joined by members of the Mills & Reeve family law team to review and discuss the issues raised by the case and the impact of the Law Lords decision on practice. Webcast, 18/03/2015, members only
  • Webcast recorded on 22 January at 1pm. Lysney Cade-Davies and Petra Teacher of 29 Bedford Row review some of the leading cases of 2014 and highlight the lessons for the year ahead. Webcast, 22/01/2015, members only

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