Z (Schedule 1 : Legal Costs Funding Order; Interim Financial Provision) [2020] EWFC 80 (26 November 2020)

This is a Judgment made by Mr Justice Cobb in relation to the mother’s interim Applications in respect of cost and finances.  These Applications were made in the English Court within on-going contentious litigation between the mother and father in respect of their child, Zoe.  In issuing her interim Applications, the mother sought a legal costs funding Order in relation to Schedule 1 and section 8 CA 1989 proceedings and interim financial provision for the child.

In relation to the legal funding Order, the mother wished for costs to be able to settle outstanding and unmet legal costs incurred by her previous legal firms in America and the UK.  She also wished for costs in relation to her current firm, Hunters, to allow them to continue to represent her.  In relation to financial provision for the child, the mother wished for enough to be able to set up a home in the UK and also to maintain the lifestyle that she had previously been afforded whilst in a relationship with the father.  The father was extremely wealthy, with assets in the region of $130 million (net), with a monthly income of $0.9 million (net).

In his Judgment in respect of the legal costs funding Order, Mr Justice Cobb considered the cases of Rubin v Rubin [2014] EWHC 611 (Fam) and Currey v Currey (No.2) [2007] 1 FLR 946, amongst others, and CPR Part 44.  In respect of the costs of the mother’s previous firms, no award was made, as it was not necessary for these costs to be settled in order for the mother’s current firm to continue their representation.  In respect of the mother’s current firm, Hunters, and the costs already incurred, Mr Justice Cobb stated ‘this firm should not carry a significant debt in working for the mother unpaid; the firm is not a charity …’  He therefore awarded £60,504 in respect of these costs (£86,434 claimed less 30% for notional standard assessment).

In respect of the mother’s future costs, it was considered that her estimation was excessive, given that there appeared to be no significant dispute between the parties.  It was therefore Ordered that the father would make 6 separate monthly payments of £15,000 towards the mother’s future legal costs.

Turning to the Application for interim financial provision for the child, Mr Justice Cobb considered several cases, the needs claimed by the mother and offers from the father.  In giving this decision, it was emphasised that this was an interim decision and that some adjustment may be required for a final decision.  £70,000 was therefore awarded for setting up a home in the UK, up to £15,000 for a deposit on a rented flat, £5,600 for a nanny and £5,600 for other expenses up to 01/01/21.  From 01/01/21, Mr Justice Cobb awarded £4,750pcm in respect of rent, £5,600 until mid-February for a nanny reducing to £4,000 thereafter and also £9,612pcm for other expenses.

The full judgement can be read here

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