Family Law Hub

Property Interests

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  • The parties had been in dispute about the beneficial ownership of a valuable property. The former husband sought permission to appeal from findings of fact made in contempt of court proceedings. He contended that despite being an unrepresented litigant he had given evidence without being informed of his right to silence. Peter Jackson LJ found that the court could not be satisfied that no injustice had occurred. If the husband had been informed that he was not obliged to give evidence, he might not have done so. This was a procedural irregularity serious enough to justify the granting of permission to appeal, and the appeal should be allowed. Popplewell LJ agreed. Judgment, 17/03/2020, free
  • A judgment dealing with the wife’s application for financial relief following a divorce. The husband started a plant hire business shortly after their relationship began. HHJ Booth's decision was that all properties in their joint names should be transferred to the husband, other than a house occupied by the wife's mother. The husband would continue to provide support for the wife until he paid her, three months hence, £2.3 million. She would then be paid £1m more after 15 months and another £1m after 27 months. The pension would be shared equally. The husband's suggestion (after circulation of the draft judgment) that this might lead to liquidation of the business did not change HHJ Booth's decision: he had presented his case as if there were no possibility of the wife receiving more than he was prepared to offer, "a bold strategy that failed". He would have to bear the consequences of running his case this way. Judgment, 28/01/2020, free
  • Claims for financial remedies after divorce. Everything that the parties now possessed had been built up during the course of the marriage, including a successful mobile telephone business. The litigation had been highly destructive and the husband had been largely responsible for that situation. The only way that Cohen J could be confident that the wife and children would be properly provided for was for the beneficial interest in the business to be transferred to the wife. Properties in London and Miami were divided between them. Judgment, 23/12/2019, free
  • The husband had been ordered to pay the former wife a lump sum of £20m in full and final settlement of her claims. Eleven years later, not a penny had been paid. A without notice order had been made appointing receivers of shares in a Spanish company, of which the husband had been found to be the beneficial owner. This receivership order was set aside following an application by other parties, and the wife now appealed against the set-aside order. Baker LJ decided that the judge had been wrong to set it aside on the mere assertion by the other parties that they were the owners of relevant shares. A third party could not expect to receive the protection of the court if it wasn't prepared for the rights it claimed to be scrutinised. Arguments on limitation, jurisdiction and estoppel also failed. Moylan LJ and Longmore LJ agreed, and the receivership order was restored, the latter adding that the application to set aside the receivership order had been misconceived from the start. Judgment, 23/12/2019, free
  • The Court of Appeal recently gave judgment in Read v Panzone & Anor [2019] EWCA Civ 1662, an appeal concerning s37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The Court gave significant warnings to first instance judges about the dangers of making findings of fact on alternate bases: although judges may be tempted to take this ‘belt and braces’ approach, it may simply muddy the waters and confuse the issues for the parties. News, 06/12/2019, free

Latest know-how

Latest training

  • Lynsey Cade-Davies and Amber Sheridan of 29 Bedford Row review current developments in cohabitation law including an update on recent cases, proprietary estoppel after Southwell v Blackburn, the Cohabitation Rights Bill and points to remember when handling cases in the civil courts. Webcast, 16/03/2015, members only
  • Christopher Wagstaffe QC, 29 Bedford Row, addresses three main questions which arise in TLATA claims, quite apart from any Schedule 1 considerations. Webcast, 07/04/2014, members only
  • Watch a recording of the webinar, first broadcast on 14 March 2013. Webcast, 18/03/2013, members only
  • Webcast, 11/01/2012, members only

Latest sources

  • For use in registering joint ownership of property at the time of acquisition Form (external), 15/01/2013, free

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