Bad behaviour in court
While some people choose to represent themselves in court, it is important to remember that they must behave properly and that if they do not they will be punished.
In a recent case the judge described a husband’s conduct whilst acting for himself as ‘abysmal’. The case, to fix the parties’ financial settlement on divorce, involved over 30 hearings (the usual is a maximum of 3) and 4 appeals by the husband. During the proceedings the husband assaulted the wife and her barrister, for which he was convicted of assault, made threats to kill the wife and her barrister, made up a bogus loan (involving his sister), fled abroad and sent numerous threatening emails to the court staff and judge. This has culminated in the emails being referred to the police for a decision as to whether to prosecute. The husband was ordered to pay the wife’s costs in the sum of £149,609.
Nicola Furmston is a partner and head of the Family department at Barker Gotelee.