Williams v Williams [2023] EWHC 3098 (Fam) - Moor J - Financial Remedy - Hadkinson order - legal services funding order - brief report!

In financial remedy proceedings, the billionaire husband, took little part in the process, and when he did, he caused trouble.  He filed no form E, applications were made for his committal etc.

W made two applications, first an application pursuant to the case of Hadkinson to prevent H, from playing any part in the litigation unless he complied with orders that had already been made.

The judge took the view that Hadkinson applications have no place in financial remedy proceedings prior to a final order being obtained, (the matter had not yet reached FDR) having first said the same, in 2013, in the case of Young v Young [2013] EWHC 3637.

At the current hearing, the judge said he was not trying to prevent H from participating, but doing everything he could to get him to engage.

Moor J: ‘With the greatest of respect to those who drafted this application, I take the very clear view that it should be dismissed.’

W also made an application for legal services funding.  The entire burden of establishing the financial position in the case, so far, had been down to W’s self-help.  W had no assets in her name, H had given her none during the marriage, except, possibly, some jewellery.

The application was made for a legal services funding order in relation to costs, not just of the financial remedy proceedings in this case, but also in relation to overseas enforcement of orders that have been made in this jurisdiction.

W had had funding from Schneiders of £204k, but they now refused any further funding.  (Indeed, it was said that they are going to recoup £86,000 worth of costs orders already made against Mr Williams, enforced via the third-party debt order that the judge had just made).

W made a further application to an alternative (second) fund provider, which was unsuccessful.

W’s solicitors, Vardags, would not operate on a Sears Tooth agreement.

The judge easily took the view that it is suitable for Mrs Williams to have her outstanding costs reimbursed, with W giving an undertaking to repay, if any of the money is not spent, or if it is directed at the end of the trial that there should be a repayment.

W also applied for her costs of continuing litigation in this jurisdiction, which the judge granted in the sum of £185,432, together with (a reduced claim) sum of £175,000 to cover overseas litigation.

The judge thus made LSPO orders in the sums of £190,420 to cover outstanding fees; £185,423 to cover the continuing litigation in this jurisdiction; and £175,000 to cover overseas litigation (H having money in Monaco and Switzerland … and probably elsewhere !).  As a later addendum the judge also made an order in the sum of £102,900 re two forthcoming experts reports.

As this is an almost a bullet point article for ease to both writer and reader, I have not gone into how the maths were calculated by the judge, which I consider rather tedious and otiose, but a purpose of this short note is to indicate that the judge was prepared to make lump sum orders rather than instalment orders, which is more the norm.