Re S (A Child): SC 25 Mar 2015

The Court was asked as to the proper approach to ordering the unsuccessful party to pay the costs of a successful appeal in cases about the care and upbringing of children. It arises in the specific context of a parent’s successful appeal to the Court of Appeal against care and placement orders made in a county court. The LA now appealed against an order for it to pay costs.
Held: The appeal succeeded. In the absence of some suggestion of bad or reprehensible behaviour by the Local Authority, the standard rule as to the non availability of costs in such cases should be followed. There are differences between trials and appeals. ‘At first instance, ‘nobody knows what the judge is going to find’, whereas on appeal the factual findings are known. Not only that, the judge’s reasons are known. Both parties have an opportunity to ‘take stock’ and consider whether they should proceed to advance or resist an appeal and to negotiate on the basis of what they now know. So it may well be that conduct which was reasonable at first instance is no longer reasonable on appeal. But in my view that does not alter the principles to be applied: it merely alters the application of those principles to the circumstances of the case.’

Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Hughes, Lord Toulson
[2015] UKSC 20, [2015] WLR(D) 163, [2015] 2 All ER 778, [2015] 1 WLR 1631, [2015] 1 FCR 549, [2015] Fam Law 513, UKSC 2014/0101, [2015] 2 FLR 208
Bailii, WLRD, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary
England and Wales
CitedIn re T (Children) SC 25-Jul-2012
The local authority had commenced care proceedings, alleging abuse. After lengthy proceedings, of seven men and two grandparents, all but one were exonerated. The grandparents had not been entitled to legal aid, and had had to mortgage their house . .
CitedRe B-S (Children) CA 17-Sep-2013
The mother had been refused leave to oppose her child’s adoption. She now appealed.
Held: A court facing such an application faced two questions: Has there been a change in circumstances? If not, that is the end of the matter. If yes, then the . .
Appeal fromRe S (Children) CA 28-Feb-2014
F appealed against a placement order in respect of his daughter. The court was asked whether the judgment had been based upon proper evidence and reasoned sufficiently.
Held: The appeal was allowed, an interim care order is substituted in . .
CitedGojkovic v Gojkovic (No 2) CA 1-Apr-1991
In ancillary relief proceedings, the husband had not made frank disclosure of his assets. The final Calderbank offer of andpound;600,000 was made only the day before the substantive hearing. The offer was rejected. The judge awarded the wife a lump . .
CitedLondon Borough of Sutton v Davis (Costs) (No 2) 1994
In cases involving children costs awarded against one parent or another are exceptional since the court is anxious to avoid the situation where a parent may feel ‘punished’ by the other parent which will reduce co-operation between them. This will . .
CitedKeller v Keller and Legal Aid Board CA 21-Oct-1994
The standard practice of not awarding costs in children cases overrides the possibility of making a hardship order from Landlord. Costs orders are unusual in custody disputes and no order was to be made against the Legal Aid Board in favour of an . .
CitedG v E and Others FD 21-Dec-2010
(Court of Protection) Baker J awarded costs against a local authority which had been guilty of misconduct which, he held, justified departure from the general rule. He observed: ‘Parties should be free to bring personal welfare issues to the Court . .

Cited by:
CitedMG v AR FD 16-Nov-2021
Family Case: Costs Security depends on Case Merits
Application for security for costs in family cases.
Held: In contrast to civil cases generally, in a family case the merits of the application and the strength of the defence necessarily have to be carefully considered. It is only by . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Costs

Updated: 22 November 2021; Ref: scu.544727