Litigant-in-personal space.

An abusive husband has been ordered to pay 25% of his wife’s legal costs because he insisted on only communicating with her legal team’s female trainee during a case to divide their assets.

In a 2021 hearing, Deputy District Judge Leigh-Smith found that the husband had bullied, coerced and controlled his wife throughout their ten year marriage. Neither were identified in the ruling.

Due to the history of domestic abuse, a subsequent judge ruled that it would be inappropriate for the husband to cross-examine his wife at trial and directed him to provide his questions at least five days in advance so the trial judge could review them and read them out.

The husband, who represented himself as a litigant in person, failed to provide his questions, either then or in the eight months following the hearing's postponement. 

On the evening before the revised hearing date he emailed his wife’s solicitor’s trainee, who he knew was on holiday, and told her that he would be unable to attend the hearing for reasons "I am not at liberty to divulge”.

At two in the morning he emailed her again, promising "maybe when we next meet” to share “unsavory” gossip about her principal.

“Hi [Trainee], 
Sorry for the late night email... 
I obviously cannot make the hearing this week due to medical reasons. 
A mental health charity has guaranteed that they will provide legal defense and offence for anyone who defies my reasons for not making it to court... 
I again implore you to prevent [the wife] and her group in attending... Prevent her costs! 
One of the people I've spoke to knows [the wife’s solicitor]... They described him in an unsavory way, which I won't share in text... Maybe when we next meet. 
Have an awesome break, 

“The way the husband communicated his intentions causes me considerable concern”, said DDJ Mark Harrop at the Luton Family Courts.

“Emailing the most junior, female, member of the wife’s legal team while she was on holiday, alluding to future meetings between the two of them; withholding the underlying details of his application and requesting the court keep them secret from the wife; implying, without specifics, that the wife’s solicitor is widely regarded as incompetent or improper, undermining the wife’s confidence in her lawyers; threatening ‘legal defence and offence’ for anyone who ‘defies’ him: these are all things I have seen from him in other emails”, said the judge.

The judge described how other documents saw the husband accusing the wife’s solicitor and barrister of monetising child abuse and promising to expose them, accusing the solicitor of lying, reporting the solicitor to the police, and alleging that he was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the abuse he had suffered from the wife and her “malevolent legal team”.

“Something I have found particularly disturbing is the husband’s insistence on directing all of his emails to the wife’s solicitor’s trainee”, he said.

In those emails the husband invited the trainee to meet up with him on numerous occasions to discuss the case or to just “chew the fat”, and described them to the court as “positive interactions”.

“Suggesting private meetings and asking her not to share his messages with her employer, strikes me as an egregious abuse of the obvious power imbalance between them; one which I can only imagine made her deeply uncomfortable”, said the judge.

“They are controlling, undermining and threatening, and I can quite believe that the wife would experience them as a continuation of the abuse that she suffered throughout the marriage. It seems quite likely that they will have taken an emotional toll on her lawyers too”, he said.

As such the husband’s misconduct was deemed sufficiently serious to justify a departure from the general rule that each party is responsible for meeting their own costs, and ordered him to pay the wife a sum of £10,000, representing 25% of the legal fees she incurred, "to express the court’s disapproval".

Tip Off ROF


Read the ruddy judgment 19 January 24 10:23

@Anon 10:07


Read the ruddy judgment before passing comment. This article is just the edited highlights. 

Anonymous 19 January 24 10:34

Doubtful that the trainee was 'creeped out' by this any more than a male trainee, female senior, or male senior would be. And if she was then she's probably in the wrong job!

Read the ruddy judgment 19 January 24 13:20

Anon @1100


I'm not your law tutor. 


Read the ruddy judgment and make up your own mind:

Anonymous 19 January 24 17:28

@13.20 - I would never employ you as a tutor! So you're saying its not possible to make up one's own mind from the article alone? 

Read the ruddy judgment 19 January 24 20:22

Anon @1728

You need a tutor if you’re limited to “So you’re saying…”

Anonymous 20 January 24 16:37

This is excellent. Too many abusive men getting away with continuing the abuse via the family courts. Glad this twat got penalised in costs. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. 

Anonymous 21 January 24 12:10

@Read the ruddy judgement - you need a tutor even more if you can't answer a simple question! So you're saying its not possible to make up one's own mind from the article alone?

Anonymous 22 January 24 12:48

@Read the ruddy judgement - are you asking because you're saying that its not possible to make up one's mind from the article alone?

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