A former husband who lost his appeal against an maintenance award has been told to pay £30,000.
In the latest stage of a complex dispute between a wealthy banker and his ex-wife, he had been ordered to pay the sum in July last year. It followed his unsuccessful appeal against a ‘Hadkinson order’. This stipulates that an applicant cannot proceed with a case until he or she has full complied with all the requirements of previous court rulings.
But the money had not been paid. he appealed on the ground that his ex-wife had been represented in court on a pro bono basis. Consequequently she not require security for her legal costs he claimed. In addition, he should be allowed to prioritise his other debts, some due to the court, the former husband insisted.
In the Court of Appeal Senior Lord Justice Ryder said he and President of Tribunals Lord Justice Beatson had decided to rule on this further appeal purely on the basis of written evidence and submissions rather than stage an additional hearing.
“It would be disproportionate to provide an opportunity for a further oral hearing thereby increasing the costs and indebtedness that exists in order to hear the same arguments again.”
Lord Justice Ryder said the £30,000 payment had originally and clearly been described as intended to represent “a significant part of the debt owed by the husband to the wife.”
At a later hearing it had also been described as “security for the Respondent’s costs of this appeal”, but His Lordship added “there was nothing then said by the court to contradict the intention originally expressed.”
The banker’s second argument was also dismissed. Accepting this would have meant allowing him to submit documents and evidence not previously available and simply represented an attempt to change the court’s earlier conclusions.
But, Lord Justice Ryder insisted:
“A costs application is not an appropriate vehicle for the husband to do that.”
Accordingly, the sum due must be paid, along with accompanying interest.
Read Assoun v Assoun here.
Photo by Images_of_Money via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence