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Costs orders in financial proceedings

Clients are often surprised to find that whether they make attractive or unattractive offers to settle financial proceedings the rules on costs state that since 2006 “the general rule in financial remedy proceedings is that the court will not make an order requiring one party to pay the costs of another party.”

Many people believe that this is unfair and results in clients having to fight on bearing costs in a dispute that they have attempted to avoid.

The periodical magazine for specialist family solicitor organisation “Resolution” has recently reported on a debate amongst family lawyers in which the initial view before the debate was that the rules that applied before 2006 also be reinstated so that the court could take account of offers and make orders for costs.

Surprisingly the eventual outcome of the debate rejected reinstatement of the old rules. However at the same time the view was that the present system is also inadequate. There was a suggestion that there should be more focus on the efforts the parties might have made to resolve the case without litigation, by using alternative dispute resolution options are by serious negotiation.

The general view amongst specialist family lawyers seems to be that in cases where one party is being unreasonable the current system does not do enough to allow a court to mark its disapproval of the unreasonableness. Unfortunately the hunt continues for the Golden fleece solution that will put proportionate costs pressure on parties without turning a sensible outcome of a case into something that is so expensive that the parties are left questioning the whole value of the justice system.

For more information about any aspect of the divorce process, please contact Ian Stirzaker, Head of Family Law on 01905 723561 or e-mail

Added: 07 Mar 2016 10:35

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