London Borough of Hounslow v A Father & Mother (Costs in the Court of Protection - Disproportionate litigation)  EWCOP 23
Costs were awarded against the LA after a dispute in which the LA alleged the mother had mismanaged the P's funds.
The P's father was the DWP appointee responsible for administering the young man’s state benefits. The P's mother was separated from the father and did not live with them. The LA raised a safeguarding enquiry due to an allegation of financial abuse against the mother who was alleged to be mismanaging the son’s benefits. The LA eventually withdrew its application after the mother produced the relevant bank statements but by then, the LA's costs had risen to £15,000 and the father's costs to £50,000, which, in the Judge's view, were wholly out of step with the costs provisions of the Court of Protection Rules 2007 and 2017.
The court said that the litigation was conducted disproportionately by both sides (the LA and the father's solicitors) and there was a failure to focus on the simple central issue of whether the bank statements into which the benefits were paid evidenced any misuse of funds. The LA was ordered to pay 90% of the father's costs and was invited to agree an ex gratia payment with the mother, who had acted in person.
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