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Costs awarded against volunteer advisors

This story in the Sunday Telegraph is a very important issue.

Basically for voluntarily assisting someone to challenge the state some advisors have been hit with a costs bill. It has been done on a sneaky way which allowed them to challenge the award of costs, but only at the risk of paying more costs if they lose. In fact I believe this is against the practise direction in respect of costs which requires someone to be given notice and allowed to challenge it at the hearing where the decision is made.

I had a similar thing happen to me when I tried to find out what had happened to Matthew Hawkesworth. An application had been made for judicial review through a limited company (Justice for Families Limited), but they awarded some costs against me personally. That was also done not in accordance with the practise direction.

I do now have the french copy of a court order which confirms that the french (as well as the Italian) judiciary see the actions in the UK as being unlawful. It appears that the Portuguese have won a case getting children taken to Portugal.

It is important to note that volunteer legal advisors have won cases taken to appeal in the family, civil and criminal courts. Hence to introduce a costs threat against people who do work pro-bono is completely wrong.

The reason it threatens the rule of law is that there needs to be some form of appellate system. Many of the cases that have won appeals that I have helped with would not have had legal aid under any of the systems of rules that have existed since 2005. (I don't know enough about the rules before then).

Comments

THANKS, John, for your consistent support!

I reported 'my way' on http://mckenzie-friends.co.uk/2014/04/20/when-assisting-imprisoned-and-wronged-parents-becomes-a-financially-risky-business/
Mark jones said…
I had a cost order against me for thirty thousand pounds for fighting for my children in jersey . The law firm viberts went for two hundred and thirty one thousand pounds and got thirty. How wrong it is when your not on legal aid like the mother. Jersey secret courts are so wrong . My message is never stop fighting for your children one of my children has lived with me for over four years .
Is it a consolation that Jersey is not better or worse?

Lawyers are always winning, it seems.

After years of observation, I just wonder if / whether / when they actually work in the interest of their clients!
Is it a consolation that it's as bad as in the UK in general, after years of observation?

I just wonder if / whether / when lawyers do work in the interests of their clients...

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