As you may know, Legal Aid in family proceedings can now only be secured in very limited circumstances. In view of this, it can be difficult for many people to fund matrimonial proceedings.
Historic Case Provides a Sense of Hope
The historic case of BC v. DE 2016 has provided a sense of hope for those who need assistance with the payment of their legal costs.
This case involved a dispute in respect of the arrangements for a child, whose parents were not married. The Father was very wealthy and had been assisting the Mother financially. However, at the time he issued children act proceedings, he reduced the financial provision he was making to the Mother.
As a result, the Mother applied to the Court to restore the previous level of financial provision she was receiving from the Father, as well as funding for her legal costs in respect of the arrangements for the child and her financial application.
In view of this, the Court had to consider whether it had the ability to make a legal costs order in children act proceedings in respect of both past and future legal costs.
The Court’s Decision
After considering matters in great detail, the Court held that the Father should pay 85% of the Mother’s outstanding legal costs. The Court also confirmed that the Father should pay the majority of the Mother’s future costs (however it did make certain reductions).
The Court decided that the Mother was entitled to receive £212,439.00 to meet her past and future legal costs.
The Court stated that if the Mother’s legal costs were not paid, her lawyers would refuse to act for her which would delay her proceedings further or mean she would need to act in person.
So, it is possible to secure a Legal Costs Order where the parties are unmarried?
This case certainly shows it is possible; however it doesn’t follow that it should be expected.
Although this case may provide some hope for those who need assistance with the payment of their legal costs in Children Act proceedings, we have to remember that this case involved a very wealthy Father and the facts of the case are unique.
Book a Free Initial Appointment
Our family department offers a free initial 30 minute interview to provide general advice and guidance in relation to your matter.
If you would like to discuss the possibility of obtaining a Legal Costs Order or simply review the funding options available to you, please contact our offices on 01323 727321 to arrange an appointment and we will be happy to discuss this with you.
Alternatively please get in touch with one of our expert and approachable family law team directly: