Family Law Litigation Costs

A High Court Judge, Mr Justice MacDonald ordered the wife in the case of DH v RH (No.4) (Costs) 2024 to pay almost a quarter of her husband’s legal costs.  The costs incurred in that case had reached nearly £3m by the final hearing, with £1m being incurred by the husband and £1.9m by the wife.

The costs were extended by the wife’s persistent litigation conduct and her quest to prove her contention that her husband was hiding assets, including holdings in cryptocurrency, arguing these hidden assets amount to between £170m to £210m. This was rejected by the Judge. The wife had made no written submissions as to costs despite the court inviting her to do so. She had been warned by the court last summer that her costs were causing concern as she sought to prove her contention that the husband was hiding assets.

The judge split the assets between 52% to the wife and 48% to the husband, adding that this was sufficient to meet her needs.

The husband accused the wife at the final hearing of ‘wanton and reckless dissipation of assets’ through her pursuit of litigation, and a ‘serial failure’ to comply with court orders. He also accused the wife of stealing confidential financial information, resulting in his incurring an extra £25,000 in costs. The wife failed to comply with at least 50 individual case management orders and instead engaged in a ‘zealous and unremitting search for assets she believed to be undisclosed’. The husband also alleged that the wife’s behaviour during the hearing was ‘disruptive and caused considerable delay’ to the conclusion of the final hearing, resulting in increased costs.

Following the hearing, the wife attempted to contact the judge and proceeded, without permission, to email large amounts of material to the court.

Therefore the judge took the unusual step of ordering that the wife pay £200,000 towards the husband’s costs and a further £55,000 to cover specific expenditure he was forced into.

 

Safeena Tufail

 

Published on 11/06/2024

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