(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Patten LJJ, David Richards J, 28 November 2012)
The family moved to London to enable the husband to study. He had no assets of his own and the family was supported by the wife who had received a considerable inheritance after her father's death. Following the breakdown of the marriage the children lived with the wife and she paid the husband interim periodical payments including provision for his legal costs.
The husband's costs amounted to £500,000 after divorce proceedings in Saudi Arabia and England, applications under both the Children Act 1989 and the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. The judge ordered that a property should be purchased in London by the wife to facilitate contact between the father and children. Upon the sale of the property once the children had attained the age of 19 the proceeds would be split between the husband and wife. In respect of the husband's costs the wife was ordered to pay £50,000. The husband appealed.
The appeal was dismissed. The husband's costs had been disproportionate to the issues at task. The judge had a wide discretion and gave a fully reasoned judgment. The order for a London property had secured the husband's position against his creditors when in reality he would be entitled to half the proceeds of sale at a future date.