Family Law Hub

Litigation Conduct

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  • This was a second appeal in a financial remedy case described by the court as an exercise in self-destruction, the costs having become so disproportionate relative to the assets. The judge at first instance had made an order providing the husband with funds sufficient to buy a modest property and to pay most of his costs. The wife had appealed on the basis that the husband should not have been awarded anything at all and should bear his own costs. The appeal had been allowed, and the direct payment referable to the husband's costs had been substituted with a charge for the same sum to be secured on the property he would in due course purchase. The husband now appealed against the imposition of the charge. In King LJ's judgment, in cases where an order substantially in excess of the sum required to meet a party's assessed needs was sought in order to settle their outstanding costs (or debts referrable to costs), the judge should: (i) consider whether in any event the case was one in which an order for costs under FPR 28(6) and (7) in particular by reference to FPR PD 28 para 4.4 should be made; and (ii) have firmly in mind what the order they proposed to make by way of additional lump sum to meet a party's costs would represent if expressed in terms of an order for costs. This would act as a cross check of the fairness of the proposed order. In her view the order originally made by the judge, which allowed the parties to achieve a clean break, could not be regarded as being outside his wide discretion such that it was appropriate for his order to be altered on appeal. Moylan and Newey LJJ agreed. The appeal against the imposition of a charge on the property the husband hoped to buy was allowed. Judgment, 31/07/2021, free
  • An appeal against an order prohibiting counsel acting for the father from accepting further instructions from him in proceedings under Part II of the Children Act 1989. The father was from Pakistan, the mother from the UK, and they had married under Islamic law, separating two years later. Counsel in question had previously acted for the father, liaising with the mother, in immigration proceedings, following which the mother had made a complaint of professional misconduct against her. MacDonald J dismissed this appeal. It was possible that counsel's continued participation would lead to a reasonable lay apprehension of unfairness. The judge had not failed to give adequate weight to the potential for the mother to adopt a tactical position amounting to an abuse of process. Given the evidence before the court of counsel's highly personalised responses to the mother's complaints, the potential for difficulties to arise in cross-examination of the mother by counsel was plain. Judgment, 14/10/2020, free
  • The couple had been together, unmarried, for just over ten years and had two children. There had already been three trial judgments given in separate actions consequent on that breakup, leading to costs orders against the female partner totalling about £90,000, none of which had been paid or were likely to be paid. This new Chancery claim arose out of allegations that the male partner, in his capacity as director of a company in which both parties had held shares, had run substantial parts of it on a cash in hand basis. He applied to strike out or dismiss the claim, and for an extended civil restraint order (CRO) to prevent his former partner making further claims or applications against him without permission. HHJ Parfitt, sitting as a judge of the High Court, struck out the particulars of claim and the claim form on the ground that taken together they impeded the just disposal of the proceedings – they provided no basis for the case to be understood, defended or tried – and did not comply with the rules regarding statements of case. He also struck out the claim on the grounds that it sought to reopen matters decided in previous claims and otherwise failed to set out a cause of action with a reasonable chance of success. An extended CRO was justified, on balance, but it would not extend to family proceedings and it would exclude any application to have an existing limited CRO set aside. Judgment, 24/07/2020, free
  • Application that the wife's application for financial remedies be struck out on the basis that it was (a), vexatious, and/or duplicative and/or (b), on the basis there had been prior compromise. Application dismissed. Judgment, 09/01/2019, free
  • The court injuncted the husband from paying any further money to his solicitors unless he paid an equal amount (i.e. pound for pound) to the wife's solicitors. Judgment, 19/09/2018, 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
  • 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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