Today's Family Lawyer Podcast

Should you seek an order for costs in financial remedy proceedings?

The Today’s Family Lawyer podcast welcomes Nicola Rushton, Senior Associate at Forbes Solicitors in Lancashire, to discuss costs in financial remedy proceedings with host David Opie. 

For Nicola, current costs rules don’t provide any deterrent for litigants, and particularly litigants in person, to  run cases that don’t have merit or are disproportionate to the assets.

In an interesting discussion Nicola shares her thoughts on current case law, citing RM V TM [2020] EWFC 41 in which Justice Peel QC provides a damning assessment of the litigation costs saying

“There may be worse examples of disproportionate and ill-judged litigation, but none spring to mind. It’s hard to express what a calamitous waste of resources this has been.”

The case resulted in legal costs spiralling to 94% of liquid assets as each side continued to robustly reject any negotiation. In the end each party walked away with just c. £5,000.

Nicola also cites a more recent case presided over by Mr Justice Mostyn OG v AG [2020] EWFC 52 which provides another reminder of the dim view the courts will take on delay and dishonesty, using costs as a method to penalise those who fall foul.

“Seeking costs puts the other side on notice,” says Nicola acknowledging that you very well not be awarded them, but they are part of the practitioner’s armoury when it comes to financial remedy proceedings.

Nicola shares her thoughts on the importance of seeking orders for costs, and what practitioners need to consider throughout the proceedings to ensure you are protecting your clients from the risk of costs orders. being imposed on them.

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