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Joinder of third parties and wasted costs in financial remedy proceedings: Fisher Meredith v JH and PH

Date:22 AUG 2012

Damian Garrido

Barrister and Collaborative Counsel, Harcourt Chambers

Alex Hodge

Barrister, Harcourt Chambers

Karl Marx, having observed how some eccentric Frenchmen were interpreting his ideas, is famously reported to have said: 'If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist.' This was the predicament faced by Mostyn J in the recent case of Fisher Meredith v JH and PH (Financial Remedy: Appeal: Wasted Costs) [2012] EWHC 408, [2012] 2 FLR (forthcoming) when he presided over an appeal where one of his own judgments (TL v ML (Ancillary Relief: Claim against assets of extended family) [2006] 1 FLR 1263) was cited as being a substantial motivation in the lower court’s decision to make a wasted costs order. The article identifies that the decision is important for three reasons. First, it provides guidance as to the kind of case where third parties may be joined in proceedings for financial relief and consequently, who rightly has the responsibility to join that third party. Secondly, it provides a restatement of where the burden of proof lies in a case where beneficial ownership is disputed. Finally, it provides an invaluable review of the law of wasted costs and provides a cautionary tale for those who would seek to invoke the wasted costs jurisdiction during proceedings for Financial Relief.

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