The number of financial disputes which run up disproportionate legal costs is a “tragedy”, a High Court judge has declared.
In a recent judgment, Mr Justice Holman said that it was far too common to see “litigants spending completely disproportionate amounts of money on purely financial litigation”.
He added that disputes over children – such as where they will live or how much contact each parents can have with them – had “very high issues at stake which cannot readily be measured in terms of pounds or Euros”. However, when the dispute is purely financial, spending large amounts of money on litigation is a “waste and folly”, he said.
The judge made these remarks following a financial dispute between the French parents of a three year-old boy. The mother and child lived in Paris, while the father lived in London. He claimed that the amount of child maintenance he had been required to pay by a French court was too much for him to afford.
He characterised the amount of time and money the parties had spent on the case as “mind-boggling”. The judge noted that the case was originally scheduled to be heard in 30 minutes, but “occupied the entire day for the parties and much of the day for me”.
Mr Justice Holman ruled that he could not “do any sort of rough justice today with regard to the costs” so he ordered that the case be listed for a final hearing at a later date. In the meantime, he urged the former couple “in the strongest possible terms to cease this bitter and costs disproportionate conflict” and come to an agreement which was acceptable to both parties.
To read the judgment, click here.