Costs in children proceedings
Costs in children proceedings

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Costs in children proceedings
  • Legislative provisions
  • Key case law
  • Case law examples where costs orders made
  • Procedure
  • Costs against non-parties
  • Specific considerations in public children proceedings

This Practice Note explains the principles applied in relation to costs in children proceedings (private and public) and the limited circumstances in which an order for costs may be made. The general position is that it is unusual for the court to make a costs order in children proceedings, although such proceedings are subject to the general rule that the court may at any time make such order as to costs as it thinks just. Key areas for consideration are:

  1. legislative provisions

  2. key case law

  3. case law examples where costs orders were made

  4. costs against non-parties, and

  5. specific considerations in public children proceedings

The underlying reasons why costs orders are unusual in children cases are that such orders:

  1. will reduce the funds available to meet the needs of the family

  2. are likely to increase tension between the parties, which would not be in the best interests of the child, and

  3. may deter a party from taking court proceedings

Where one party intends to apply for an adverse costs order on the basis of the other party's unreasonable conduct, they should give that party sufficient notice of their intention to do so.

Legislative provisions

In children proceedings there is no application of the general rule that costs will follow the event. Express statutory provision for this is made in the Family Procedure Rules