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Judge said Costs, and the other sides solicitor said 'yes'

(21 Posts)
Joy5 Fri 03-Jan-14 20:58:32

Was in the family courts earlier today, and at the end the judge just said 'costs' and my ex's solicitor said 'yes'.

Only occurred to me tonight, did i miss something representing myself. Does it mean i've been awarded my ex's legal bills or am i reading something into a usual process?

If anyone could put my mind at rest, i'd appreciate it.

babybarrister Fri 03-Jan-14 21:26:59

I would interpret it as the other way round - you have. To pay the other sides costs I am afraid

Joy5 Fri 03-Jan-14 21:32:45

Thats what i'm worried about, that i've somehow been awarded my ex's solicitors bills.

I'm on a low income, claiming tax credits, so i've somehow without saying a word been awarded my ex husbands legal costs. Hes been using solicitors for months, i'm self repping because i can't afford to use a solicitor, i can't afford to heat my house properly, i'm so worried now i've somehow been ordered to pay his legal costs?

babybarrister Fri 03-Jan-14 21:35:45

You should contact court office asap for copy of typed and sealed order which should clarify the issue

Joy5 Fri 03-Jan-14 21:41:42

Thanks babybarrister, i'll have to wait for Monday to do that. I'm just so worried now, by representing myself because i can't afford to pay a solicitor, i've somehow without saying a word been awarded my ex's legal bills. And hes been sending me endless legal letters over Christmas, i know from his bank statements hes paid thousands already in legal costs.

I can't believe a Judge, knowing i'm representing myself, would let me be awarded thousands of pounds in legal costs without giving me a chance to object?

iheartdusty Fri 03-Jan-14 22:07:47

what happened at the hearing?

in family cases, it is not standard for one person to be ordered to pay the other side's costs, it is a relatively unusual event, but it can happen.

was it a hearing about money, or contact with children, or something else?

Joy5 Fri 03-Jan-14 22:11:48

It was a pre liminary hearing to do with finances, children not involved.

Been told to go to another hearing, lasting longer in a few months time, date not agreed yet.

It only came back to me late tonight, now i'm just now sure what happened. Just can't believe i could have been awarded my ex's legal costs when i can't even afford to pay for a solicitor myself! Its seems i'm going bankrupt no matter how hard i try not to, just because my ex can afford legal advice, and will sink to even lower depths to keep his money for himself and his new family, while me and our 2 younger sons struggle to survive financially.

sykadelic15 Sat 04-Jan-14 00:06:44

Is there no probono lawyer available to low income people?

Also, don't be afraid to ask for clarification. Pay close attention and next time say "I'm sorry Your Honour but what are you asking by saying 'costs'?" or whatever else they're saying/doing.

Joy5 Sat 04-Jan-14 11:19:17

Thank you for your advice.

Not sure what a probono lawyer is, but i can google it thanks.

I did ask for clarification a couple of times earlier, i felt ok enough to do so, but seconds after the judge shouted 'costs' and the other's solicitor 'yes', he then said you can leave. So I swept up my papers , and left the room and the building without a backwards glance. My poor friend in the waiting room was left to run after me.

ladyjulian Sat 04-Jan-14 13:44:45

Pro bono means "works for free." The Bar Pro Bono Unit for example:

In family cases it would be unusual for any costs to be awarded and there would have been a discussion about it. If you were self-represented it would be pretty much unheard of for a judge to consider awarding costs against you without explaining it to you and offering you a chance to argue.

catcatcat Sat 04-Jan-14 14:10:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Joy5 Sat 04-Jan-14 15:40:47

Thanks ladyjulian, i've looked at the link, i need a referral though but if my GP can do, think they might be able to help me.

Catcatcat, you could be right, although if hes suggesting that my ex may pay my legal bills, it would be much more useful for me to know at this stage so i can appoint a solicitor rather then at the next court appointment.

I'm interested now!

ViewFromThe4thFloor Sat 04-Jan-14 16:46:39

Joy, as ladyjulian said, it would be very unusual for a judge to order you to pay your ex's costs except under certain circumstances. If he were to do so there would be some discussion as to why. It usually only happens if one party has been completely unreasonable, or if the costs are driven up by someone for example rearranging something very last minute. Even then it's rare.

Likely the judge was asking the solicitor if they want "costs in the application" put on the judge's order, which is normal, hence the solicitor saying yes and there being no discussion. Technically what it means is that if costs for a later hearing were awarded to your ex, the costs of this hearing would be awarded too. The same would be true for you towards your ex. But as above, costs in the later hearings are highly unusual, so it has no impact. Check with the court but in all likelihood, you'll each pay your own costs.

Note also you would be expected to pay for the costs of the divorce (i.e. a few hundred pounds, not cost of the financial settlement) in certain types of divorce, for example if your ex is divorcing you on the grounds of your adultery and you've admitted to it.

Joy5 Sat 04-Jan-14 18:47:06

Thanks Viewfromthe4thfloor

Think i missed the full words the judge said, and when i remembered last night, i only remembered 'costs. Then totally freaked out i'd missed something.

Have been divorced a while, my ex submitted papers. Think he did it to stop me divorcing him on his adultery, but i'm on such a low income i couldn't afford to do it. And what little free money i do have, i would much rather spend on my 2 younger sons, then legal costs.

Thanks again, you've been really helpful.

tiredandsadmum Sat 04-Jan-14 18:57:06

I had to go to family court over finances - my ex earns a lot and I don't. I asked my legal team about costs and was told firmly that I would have to pay my own. Very unlikely for them to be awarded to other party. And I was divorcing my ex on grounds of adultery. I was also told that if I couldn't afford a legal team then I would have to represent myself against his legal team. I was pretty shocked at this and still feel that ex was allowed to abuse me financially. I have always found the court clerks to be very helpful if I had questions about process.

MiconiumHappens Sat 04-Jan-14 18:58:16

DH self repped and during this we asked about costs with sometime we had with a solicitor and she said it was rare in family court for this to happen.

But what two things jump out at me more is firstly the judge would know that you are not aware of the legal process so anything to do with you incurring any cost (let alone someone else's!) would be very well explained to you and in any case would require a response from you. Secondly and practically like you say as a solicitor would you want the person who is paying your bill to be a person who can't pay for their own representation? You are going to be fine OP dig out the paperwork it should say on there somewhere. But honestly you are going to be fine smile

Good luck, don't let the legal eagles rattle you. Nobody knows your family and the situation better than you, remember on that footing you have the advantage wink

Get some legal advice if you can, we used FNF who were fantastic there maybe something like this available to you. You can do this!

Joy5 Sat 04-Jan-14 19:30:59

Thank you, helps such a lot to hear other people have self repped.

Think last night, i was just exhausted i panicked and totally worked myself up. Am calm again now, and seeing things sensibily again.

You're right about i know my family situation better then anyone, and one thing showed up yesterday, and that was my ex's solicitor wasn't 100 per cent certain of the facts. I guess if you're paying for the cheapest newly qualified solicitor thats what happens.

I'm the only person offering to provide a home for my 2 youngest sons long term, no ones stronger then a mother protecting her sons. Especially one whose eldest son died a few years before their father walked out. They were what gave me strength yesterday, that and knowing my papers were totally truthful. So i can do this!!

FTCarer Thu 09-Jan-14 12:12:08

If it was a first or preliminary hearing then the brief shouted exchange would simply mean 'costs in the application' - a recital that goes on the bottom of the court order.

Unless there is some exceptional side to the proceedings (deliberately withholding funds or deliberate deceit in disclosure) then this is 100% normal.

Its nothing to worry about! (beyond the fact that most probably you will both have to pay your own costs, I assume you already know this?!)

If your self repping then for gawd's sake take either a friend or a McKenzie to court with you - its really hard to follow whats going on if you are self repping on your own.


Joy5 Fri 10-Jan-14 11:50:13

All of the McKenzie friends i contacted locally to me, understandably asked for their travel time etc, just on so little money i can't afford that.

FTCarer are you suggesting i could take a friend inside the court with me? I didn't know that was allowed. My friend went to court, but waited in the waiting area for me, i didn't know it was possible she could have come into the court room with me.

babybarrister Fri 10-Jan-14 16:41:49

yes you can take a friend provided you abide by these guidelines

Joy5 Thu 30-Jan-14 16:26:18

Thank you for everyones responses. Finally heard from the court today, it seems my original letter went missing in the post, so i've had to chase them.

I havn't been awarded the costs, they are to go on the agenda at the next hearing. So thats ok. Can't believe what a state i got myself into, was convinced i'd have to pay my ex's legal costs.

Thank you again everyone.

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