Refusing a reasonable offer in divorce cases: The Risks

The recent judgement in SR –v- RS demonstrates that parties cannot, in the face of reasonable offers to settle, continue to litigate matters indefinitely without the spectra of cost sanctions.

Post-divorce, the Husband had refused an open offer of settlement from the Wife. As a result, the Judge in effect dismissed his application for financial remedy. The Husband sought permission to appeal which was refused on the basis that his appeal had no reasonable prospect of success.

At the First Appointment, the Judge stated that a suitable lump sum award to the Husband would be in the region of £20k to £30k. The Wife promptly made an open offer of £30k which the Husband refused. The matter then rumbled on to a final hearing.

The Judge’s view at the final hearing was that the Husband should receive a lump sum of £25k. However, the Judge took the view that the Wife was entitled to reimbursement of her costs also in the sum of £25k as a result of the Husband refusing her offer.

In net effect terms therefore the Husband received nothing. The Husband appealed and his appeal was dismissed. The Appeal Court upheld the Judge at the first instance stating that she was perfectly within her rights to make the Order she did stating as follows:-

“It just shows how seriously offers and particularly open offers in Litigation such as this have to be taken by the parties. The Court can have no truck with Litigants who ignore reasonable well pitched offers, proceed to trial at huge costs and then loose”.

Don’t let this happen to you

Here at Ringrose Law we try and provide plain advice in simple terms explaining the cost consequences of every opportunity.

If you require advice on any Family Financial matters we have experts in the field at all of our offices and look forward to hearing from you at Boston, Lincoln, Sleaford, Grantham and Newark.

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