In family proceedings, the basic rule is that the Court can make costs orders as it thinks fair in all the circumstances. 

However, in relation to costs in proceedings for a financial order, they are subject to the general rule that the Court will not make an order requiring one party to pay the costs of another party.

Of course there are always exceptions.

The Court can make an order requiring one party to pay the legal costs of the other where it considers it appropriate to do so if the other party’s conduct before or during the proceedings has been less than helpful.

In considering whether to make a costs order the Court will consider:

 (a)    any failure by a party to comply with the court rules or any court order;

 (b)   rejection of any reasonable open offer to settle;

 (c)   wasted time/costs ie whether it was reasonable for a party to raise, pursue or contest a particular allegation or issue;

 (d)    litigation behaviour – ie the manner in which a party has pursued or responded to the application or a particular allegation or issue;

 (e)    general bad behaviour ie any other aspect of a party’s conduct in relation to proceedings which the court considers relevant; and

 (f)     the financial effect on the parties of any costs order.

Add to this that once there has been full and mutual financial disclosure, if you do not openly negotiate reasonably, then you risk having to pay the other party’s costs.  This applies whether the case is big or small.   If you run up costs unnecessarily, then you risk having a costs order made against you.

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