Crowther v Crowther and ors [2020] EWHC 3555


Mrs Justice Lieven DBE has handed down judgment in Crowther v Crowther and ors [2020] EWHC 3555 (Fam) in which the Judge granted the Respondent Husband’s application that the Applicant Wife pays his costs of and occasioned by the Preliminary Issues on an indemnity basis with a payment on account.

The Applicant Wife had made serious allegations of fraud, conspiracy and sham against the Respondents, which were due to be determined in a 7-day trial of the Preliminary Issues. One week before the trial was due to commence, she discontinued those claims. The Court emphasised the need for a consistent approach between the Divisions of the High Court.  Although it was not directly applicable under FPR 2010 r. 28.1, the presumption in CPR r. 38.6 (that a party who discontinues pays the other side’s costs) was highly relevant. The position was strongly reinforced by the fact that the allegations that had been withdrawn were of fraud and conspiracy, which have serious reputational consequences and parties should be reticent before pleading them.

Justin Kitson and Alice Hawker acted on behalf of the successful First Respondent.