Family Law Hub

Disclosure

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  • The husband sought an order for the wife to produce the files of her previous legal advisors. The husband's case was that she had waived the privilege that would normally attach to communications between a client and her legal advisors on three separate occasions, for example when claiming that they had been "frankly incompetent". Cohen J found that the wife had clearly invited the husband "into the consultation room", in claiming that her instructions had been misconstrued or misquoted or not followed. It would be unfair if the husband could not challenge this statement by reference to contemporaneous notes, emails and other communications. The files would be made available to a QC selected by the parties for sifting and, if required, redacting the necessary material. Judgment, 12/07/2020, free
  • In proceedings for the enforcement of an ancillary relief award, the wife had made an application for disclosure by the tenth respondent, her son, to whom she claimed monetary assets had been transferred by the husband, and the son had applied for disclosure of her funding arrangements and various documents upon which she relied. Knowles J concluded that the son's counterclaim should be struck out. He had no entitlement to seek any relief in respect of the wife's funding arrangements and had failed to demonstrate that there were legally recognisable grounds for challenging their legality. It was decided that the son should disclose documents containing receipts of $100,000 or more, and various other requests were also to be answered. As to the son's application for disclosure, it did not breach Article 6 for the wife to hold on to irrelevant documents. The son had no need to see documents which the wife's solicitors were satisfied did not contain any personal or financial information relating to him. The son also made an application, unsupported by any witness statement, for a reporting restriction order, with the goal of preventing his personal finances from being made public. The case had generated a good deal of media interest. Knowles J decided that the draft order as it stood would inhibit responsible reporting of the proceedings, but he was persuaded that there should be an order to prevent the son's address and other personal information being included in reports. Judgment, 13/06/2020, free
  • Private law family proceedings between the mother and father were ongoing, regarding the welfare of their eight-year-old son. This hearing concerned the disclosure and inspection of documentation from the mother's successful asylum claim, in which she had alleged domestic and sexual abuse on the part of the father. MacDonald J ordered that several of those documents should be disclosed, with some redaction, as being relevant to its fact-finding process. The father had the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, and his Article 8 rights were also engaged. The same was true of the child's Article 6 and 8 rights. It was plainly in the child's best interests for decisions as to his welfare to be taken on a fully informed basis. This required that the court had before it all of the evidence relevant to determining that issue. However, MacDonald J stressed that this decision did not signal any change in the general approach to disclosure into family proceedings of asylum documentation. Rather, this was the application of settled legal principles to the very particular facts of this case. Judgment, 11/05/2020, free
  • An application to set aside a final financial remedies order for the second time on the grounds of material non-disclosure. Holman J concluded that the husband's evidence on the crucial issue had been evasive and untrue, and that he had deliberately withheld disclosure, not only from the wife and the court, but also from his own legal team. The wife was entitled to re-open the case. The previous order was set aside and there would be a fresh determination of the wife's claims for financial remedies. Holman J urged the parties to enter serious negotiations and find an early basis for settlement. Judgment, 22/01/2020, free
  • Seven summonses were before Cohen J. One was the wife's judgment summons, claiming the husband had not paid the sums due under the order and requesting committal. The husband admitted that he was in arrears, but argued that he was unable to pay. Looking at his expenditure, Cohen J was satisfied that that was not the case, and found him to be in contempt of court. Consideration of what punishment to impose was adjourned to a later hearing, and the husband was directed to file information and evidence regarding the claimed changes in his circumstances. Judgment, 12/11/2019, free

Latest know-how

  • In a tweet: Disclosure of husband's confidential documents ordered from copies held by wife's lawyers. Case note, 18/10/2019, members only
  • In a tweet: The courts’ poor service - which had effectively forced the parties into arbitration – did not dilute the magnetic importance of the arbitration agreement. Case note, 04/07/2019, members only
  • Florence Jones, Pupil, 1 Hare Court, writes a case summary of Vilinova v Vilinov & Anor [2019] EWHC 1107 (Fam). Case note, 31/05/2019, members only
  • In a tweet: Adverse inferences made against H resulted in an award that gave him £160K and his undisclosed assets and W £1.4million Case note, 26/10/2018, members only
  • In a tweet: Debts were a fiction created by H to defeat W’s claims Case note, 26/10/2018, members only

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