In a third set of proceedings between the parties, their total legal costs amounted to £2.35 million where the net assets at trial were only £738,375. Had Mr and Mrs Crowther been able to agree the pot and split that pot in half at the outset, they would have had £1.175m each.
The wife's legal costs (excluding divorce, children, and occupation order proceedings, but including the costs of Admiralty proceedings and a preliminary issue referable to financial remedies) amounted to £1,427,606; the husband's (on a like for like basis) were £920,316.
The wife's s25 statement was her 15th statement in the proceedings and the husband had filed his 26th. There had been 34 court hearings. The 4 bundles (core bundle, library bundle and two supplemental bundles) exceeded 6,000 pages.
“9. Each party thinks the other is, to use their own words, 'out to destroy' them. These proceedings have been intensely acrimonious. They, and their lawyers, have adopted a bitterly fought adversarial approach. I asked myself on a number of occasions whether the aggressive approach adopted by each side has achieved anything; it seems to me that it has led to vast costs and reduced scope for settlement. The toll on each party is incalculable (W was visibly distressed during the hearing) and, from what I have heard, the impact on the children has been highly detrimental.”
“87. The only beneficiaries of this nihilistic litigation have been the specialist and high-quality lawyers. The main losers are probably the children who, quite apart from the emotional pain of seeing their parents involved in such bitter proceedings, will be deprived of monies which I am sure their parents would otherwise have wanted them to benefit from in due course.”
Aside from the fireworks above, within the 16,000 word judgment there is helpful commentary on the following:
- The interplay between a Tomlin order reached in civil proceedings and financial remedy proceedings (paragraphs 42-47 and 53)
- Non-disclosure (paragraphs 56-62)
- Perhaps unsurprisingly, litigation conduct (paragraphs 63-65)
In the absence of any other notable judgments this month, I will point you in the direction of Class Legal’s recently sent out a list of the top 20 essential-reading finance cases as compiled by the editorial board behind their At-A-Glance Cloud - Mostyn J, Lewis Marks QC and Gavin Smith:
· Barder  AC 20