Lchj v Syma

CourtFamily Court (Hong Kong)
Judgment Date18 Mar 2015
Citation[2015] 2 HKLRD 959
Judgement NumberFCMP28/2014
SubjectMiscellaneous Proceedings
FCMP28B/2014 LCHJ v. SYMA

FCMP 28 / 2014

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

MISCELLANEOUS PROCEEDINGS

NUMBER 28 OF 2014

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IN THE MATTER OF SYCM, a minor

and

IN THE MATTER of section 13 of the Guardianship of Minors Ordinance, Cap 13

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BETWEEN

LCHJ Applicant

and

SYMA Respondent

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Coram: Her Honour Judge Sharon D. Melloy in Chambers (Not open to public)
Date of written submissions: 23 and 27 February 2015
Date of Ruling: 18 March 2015

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RULING
(Costs arising out of a successful FDR hearing)

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Introduction

1. This is the second time that I have been asked to determine the issue of costs in this litigation. On the first occasion I was asked determine costs when the Respondent father challenged an order nisi made by my fellow deputy judge that he do pay the mother’s costs arising out of an application for interim maintenance for the only child of the relationship a little girl M who is now aged 10 ½ years old. On that occasion I upheld DJ Chan’s original order and the father was ordered to pay the wife’s costs on a party and party basis to be taxed if not agreed. There was certificate for counsel. That Ruling is dated the 23 July 2014.

2. On the 3 July 2014 an order was also made for joint custody of the child with care and control to the mother and reasonable access to the father to include defined staying access. As is normal in circumstances such as this an order was also made that there be no order as to costs including costs reserved previously.

3. Thus this application is limited, rather strangely to the costs arising out of a successful FDR hearing when all outstanding financial matters were successfully compromised. This is in my experience very unusual. As pointed out by the solicitors for the father in his written submission:

(v) It is normal practice that parties would agree on costs issue together as a whole with the main issues in dispute. This is one of the rare cases, especially in the Family Court, that parties were able to agree on the main issues in dispute but could not agree on costs.

The issue

4. The issue then is what cost order would be appropriate in all of the circumstances of the case? The mother is asking that the father do pay all of her costs of the ancillary relief proceedings to include all costs reserved. The father is asking that there be no order as to costs.

The law

5. I set out the law in my ruling of the 23 July 2014, which for ease of reference I will repeat below as follows:

4. The law in relation to costs is otherwise well settled. In the leading case of Gojkovic v Gojkovic [1992] Fam 40 Butler-Sloss LJ stated as follows:

“There are many reasons which may affect the court in considering costs, such as culpability in the conduct of the litigation: for instance (as I have already indicated earlier) material non-disclosure of documents. Delay or...

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