In a recently published case, a judge has refused permission to appeal against a ‘financial remedy’ order (a legal order in relation to finances made following a divorce).
The wife in the case had been awarded £100,000 towards her legal costs, after successfully claiming that her former husband had been guilty of “extreme litigation misconduct in giving misleading and false disclosure; in failing to comply with orders; and in raising and pursuing issues unreasonably”.
Her counsel argued in her application for permission to appeal that this was not a fair award as it meant she would not receive the full 55 per cent of the marital assets awarded to her.
However, Mr Justice Mostyn said this argument did not take into account the disparity in the costs incurred by the husband (£124,472) versus the considerably higher costs incurred by the wife (£365,564). Once each party had made an already defined contribution to the other’s costs, the husband, in light of the finding against him, should pay the difference in the costs incurred by each. This came to £96,044.
The judge said this would be a useful approach to take in future cases in which there is a significant difference in legal costs incurred.