Photograph – The Respondent Father’s Legal Team:
Sarah Benfield (Instructing solicitor, Clifton Ingram LLP, Reading); Andrew Bainham (St Philips); Amy Stout (3Dr Johnson Buildings); Stephen Gilmore (School of Law, King’s College London, who assisted with the appeal)
Andrew Bainham yesterday appeared in the Supreme Court (Lady Hale, Lord Hughes, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson and Lord Toulson) leading Amy Stout (3Dr Johnson Buildings) in the case of Re S (A Child). The appeal is concerned with whether the Supreme Court’s own decision in Re T (Children)  UKSC 36 applies to costs on appeal in care and placement cases or is confined to costs at first instance. Re T established that the general principle against making costs orders in children cases also applied to costs against local authorities. That case was concerned with costs incurred at first instance, specifically costs incurred by interveners in clearing their names in a fact-finding hearing.
In January 2014 Andrew obtained a costs order in the Court of Appeal (Macur LJ, Sharp LJ and Sir Robin Jacob) when, representing the Appellant Father, he succeeded in persuading the Court that a placement order be set aside and the case remitted for further hearing. Following further assessments, the little girl at the centre of the proceedings is now reunited with her father in Norway.
The Supreme Court heard argument yesterday on the extent of the application of Re T and on whether the policy considerations which informed that decision are apposite to appeals and appeal costs. The Access to Justice Foundation intervened on the question of pro bono costs orders on appeals. Judgment has been reserved.
Written by Mark Mansell