Local authority challenges costs of care proceedings article banner image

In a Case called Re: S(a child) a local authority appealed against a costs order made against it.

father and daughter resting in bed

The father of a young child had successfully appealed against a placement order obtained by a local authority for the child’s adoption. The Court of Appeal had ordered the local authority to pay the father’s costs of the appeal.

The local authority appealed to the Supreme Court in respect of the costs order confirming that it would not seek to recover the costs paid to the father.

The Supreme Court upheld the general practice of not awarding costs against a party including a local authority in children proceedings in the absence of reprehensible behaviour or an unreasonable stance. It determined that local authorities should not be deterred from their statutory duty to protect children by bringing proceedings. The court decided that it was not suggested in this case that the local authority had behaved in any way reprehensibly towards the child or her father. The appeal was accordingly allowed.

Andrew Lobb is an Associate at Stephens Scown LLP and is part of the St Austell family solicitors team. Andrew can be contacted on 01726 74433solicitors@stephens-scown.co.uk or www.stephens-scown.co.uk