The judgment of Mr Justice Cobb in AZ -v- Kirklees Council [2017] EWFC 11 contains much of interest to the legal profession generally. It shows the danger of failing to comply with court directions; make or respond to appropriate offers of settlement and to litigate without due regard to proportionality. Although the respondent local authority…

“vii) If the family proceedings had been essentially adversarial in nature (i.e. appeal against refusal of day nursery registration), costs may well follow the event: see again Wilson J in London Borough of Sutton v Davis (Costs)(No.2):

“The proceedings were adversarial and the local authority lost the argument. Such were circumstances for application of the principle that costs should follow the event.”

viii) If “real hardship” would be caused to a party in achieving an outcome in the best interests of the child, that may provide a proper basis for a costs order – per Baroness Hale in Re S(above) at [33]:

“The object of the exercise is to achieve the best outcome for the child. If the best outcome for the child is to be brought up by her own family, there may be cases where real hardship would be caused if the family had to bear their own costs of achieving that outcome. In other words, the welfare of the child would be put at risk if the family had to bear its own costs. In those circumstances, just as it may be appropriate to order a richer parent who has behaved reasonably in the litigation to pay the costs of the poorer parent with whom the child is to live, it may also be appropriate to order the local authority to pay the costs of the parent with whom the child is to live, if otherwise the child’s welfare would be put at risk. (It may be that this is one of the reasons why parents are automatically entitled to public funding in care cases.)” (emphasis by underlining added).”



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2 thoughts on “

  1. What worries me is, if costs follow the event, does this mean families, who lose will now have to pay the LAs costs, unless they get a prescriptive costs order, this would nullify the benefit of this good judgement.

    Liked by 1 person

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