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Costs orders - litigate at your peril

Date:12 AUG 2021

It seems there has been a never-ending line of costs commentary flowing through the reported decisions from financial remedy courts as of late. There is a clear trend of encouraging the making of costs orders; something that was far from the norm of no costs orders in contested financial remedy proceedings a few years ago. The reasons for this encouragement are many and possibly speculative; perhaps a by-product of the cuts to Legal Aid and therefore the lack of access to legal representation inevitably leading to extensive unnecessary and unmeritorious litigation perhaps a consequence of the continued backlog in the family courts perhaps an ancillary product of the widening parameters of judicial discretion and uncertainty?

Or perhaps as is this author’s opinion it is the much needed and proverbial ‘shove’ that parties need to urge them to settle their disputes; particularly in cases where the asset base does not warrant continuous and protracted litigation. Being slapped with a hefty quasi-fine is nobody’s wish and so the courts now threatening costs orders to make the message loud and clear: find a resolution. That is...

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