The issue of responsibility for legal costs in family law cases has come to prominence since legal aid was effectively dismantled by the coalition government. The problem is particularly vexed because unlike in civil disputes [for example personal injury claims] the general rule in family law cases is that each party bears their own legal costs.
You should therefore keep the following in mind:-
- Legal Aid: There is a residual ability to apply for legal aid where there has been domestic violence and we can advise you of that where appropriate.
- Deferred Payment: In some cases we may be able to defer payment of our costs until the end of a case – although we will always need payment in advance of our out of pocket expenses, such as court fees. The approach may be appropriate where it is an inevitable that the case will conclude with a substantial capital recovery.
- It is possible within financial proceedings to apply for an interim Order which can include an element to allow a party to pay their solicitor. This approach may be appropriate where the Respondent is a high earner.
- Finally, the court can direct one party to pay the other party’s costs where there has been “litigation misconduct”. This generally occurs where one party behaves dishonestly or requires the other to unreasonably or unnecessarily litigate a specific issue.