Funding ISW Assessments in Care Proceedings

by Charlotte Wilson

Sometimes in care proceedings there arises issues around who should fund ISW assessments. It has been known for a Local Authority to say that the costs should be met by the legally aided parties only rather, than the costs be split between all parties.

JG v The Lord Chancellor & Ors [2014] 2 FLR 1218 provides the Court with a discretion as to the apportionment of costs when the Court rejected the Lord Chancellor’s contention that equal apportionment was the normal order and a number of his arguments why the child on legal aid should not be required to pay more than a proportionate share of the costs.

Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council v S and Another: FD 18 Oct 2004.  Was a case where an expert’s report was required for the purposes of care proceedings. The court ordered that the costs be paid as to half by the local authority, where there were three other parties who were legally aided. The local authority appealed which was allowed. The proportionate basis, where the cost was divided equally between the four parties was to be preferred. There was no statutory guidance, but the following point was raised that: ‘The court should seek a fair apportionment; the court should allow for whether the report was to go purely to satisfaction of the threshold condition; whether the expert was a treating expert rather than merely a forensic expert; and the fact that a party was publicly funded should not lead to a different position.’