Reported Cases and Case Studies
Here is a selection of our reported cases:
B v S (Financial Remedy: Marital Property Regime)  EWHC 265 (Fam)
Partner Bradley Williams acted for the wife in a case which concerned the impact of separate property regimes and a post nuptial agreement on a divorce. The case adds an extra gloss to Radmacher and is also being cited in relation to Mostyn J's comments on how courts should assess ongoing maintenance.
Grubb v Grubb  Court of Appeal
Partner Bradley Williams acted for the husband in the case of Grubb v Grubb in the Court of Appeal. The court considered how to determine what constitutes the "reasonable needs" of a spouse in a case involving inherited wealth. The case attracted substantial press coverage amid claims that the courts have lost touch with the idea of "reasonable needs" for wives in big money divorce cases.
L v L  EWCH 2207 (Fam)
Partner Nicole Hackett acted for the wife on an appeal in financial remedy proceedings where a non-extendable spousal maintenance order was made by the High Court even though this point had not been argued at first instance.
C v C (Appeal: Hadkinson order)  1FLR 434
Partner Bradley Williams acted for the Petitioner on an appeal in the High Court which, following the 1952 decision of Hadkinson v Hadkinson, defined the Court's powers to hear a party or impose conditions on hearing a party in circumstances where that party had failed to comply with part of an existing Order. The decision is viewed as legal precedent.
Golubovich v Golubovich  2 FLR 1614, Court of Appeal
Partner David Allison successfully acted for the husband, Ilya Golubovich, in a case in the Court of Appeal which established once and for all that an English court should recognise decrees of divorce made competently and within the rules of another jurisdiction where the other jurisdiction was outside the EU or with whom the UK did not have a reciprocal treaty arrangement. In this case a divorce decree had been granted in Russia by a competent court and there was no reason for the English court not to recognise it simply because the wife had obtained orders in England attempting to prevent the husband from applying for divorce in Russia.
K v L  EWHC
Partner Nicole Hackett and assistant Elizabeth Fletcher acted in a case for the husband of a multi millionairess worth about £57m. Most of the money was inherited prior to the marriage. The couple had lived very modestly during the marriage with the husband playing a home making role. Mr Justice Bodey held that the husband's needs, generously interpreted, could be met by a payment of £5m. This case is interesting in that it is clear that the court will look differently at the needs of a home-making wife from those of a home-making husband.
Re S (Leave to Remove: Costs)  EWHC 3120 (Fam)
Partner Gillian Bishop and assistant Elizabeth Fletcher acted for a Swedish mother who wished to return to Sweden with her then 8 year old son. Despite losing the original application we acted for the mother in her successful appeal and subsequent re-hearing following the child's father's redundancy. The reported aspect of the case was the mother's successful application for costs against the father in light of the father's unreasonable litigation conduct and his failure to take stock of the likely outcome of the appeal and the re-hearing.
McFarlane v McFarlane  2 FLR 1322, FD
Partners James Pirrie and Bradley Williams acted for Julia McFarlane on her application to vary the Order of District Judge Redgrave. When the House of Lords confirmed, in 2006, that District Judge Redgrave's maintenance award was fair in all of the circumstances they set out the principles governing such awards. Charles J gave important guidance on how these principles were to be implemented in practice in relation to Mrs McFarlane's variation application. In awarding a significant increase in Mrs McFarlane's periodical payments Charles J decided that the focus had shifted to ensuring security of income in retirement. It was right that Mrs McFarlane should be entitled to save and invest an enhanced share of Mr McFarlane's income. As Mr and Mrs McFarlane approach retirement the principles of compensation and sharing become less important than the overarching principle of needs, generously interpreted.
The wife and her lawyers had seized our client’s laptop computer without his permission in an attempt to obtain information. We were successful in preventing the wife and her legal team from accessing the information on the laptop and having it returned.
The Court of Appeal had decided that the daughters of a biological mother should reside with her former lesbian partner (who was not their biological parent). We helped the mother overturn that decision in the House of Lords so that they remained living with her.
The successful end point for a woman who had pursued her former husband for child support, this case established how the incomes from a wide range of businesses should be dealt with for child support. It became harder for earners to hide behind the figures in their published accounts
Confirming that Mrs McFarlane should be entitled to share in the high-earnings of her former husband, when they had been created by the partnership of their marriage, this case shattered the glass-ceiling that had previously existed for maintenance claims (and also created a new benchmark for child-maintenance awards).
The case established that it was the function of the court to resolve a parental disagreement (in this case schooling) and that the court could not abdicate responsibility by giving one parent a veto.
We were successful in assisting a mother of two small children to return to live in her country of origin with the children although their father wished them to remain in England.
B v S (Financial Remedy: Marital Property Regime)  EWHC 265 (Fam)
Partner Bradley Williams acted for the wife in a case which concerned the impact of separate property regimes and a post nuptial agreement on a divorce. The case further develops the law relating to pre and post nuptial agreements following the case of Radmacher and in particular provides authority that a foreign marital property regime should not be implemented on a UK divorce. The case is also being cited as authority in relation to the Judge’s dicta on how courts should assess the quantum of spousal maintenance.
The couple had married in Spain where, in the absence of any other agreement between the couple, each party would, on a divorce or on death, keep those assets which were in their own name. Some years later the couple entered into an agreement (a post nuptial agreement) which reconfirmed the principle that the assets of the couple were to be treated as separate, rather than shared, assets.
Some years later the wife began divorce proceedings in the UK and the couple could not agree on how their assets should be split. The wife argued that they should be split as shared assets according the principles of English law. The husband argued that the effect of the separate property regime under which the couple had married and the subsequent post nuptial agreement meant that each party should keep their separate assets – there should be no sharing of assets.
Having looked at all the circumstances of the case, the High Court judge took no account of the separate property regime and dismissed the post nuptial agreement on the grounds that neither party had entered into the agreement with a full appreciation of its implications on a future divorce in the UK. So the principles of sharing and need common to the distribution of matrimonial assets according to English law were applied to the distribution of the couple’s assets.
L v L  EWHC 2207 (Fam)
Partner Nicole Hackett acted for the wife on an appeal in financial remedy proceedings where a non-extendable spousal maintenance order was made by the High Court even though this point had not been argued at first instance. The judge decided that the wife, who owned a mortgage free property, could and would, become self sufficient, and that she had a safety net in the form of the capital in the property. She ordered that maintenance should be payable for 2 years and 5 months, with a bar to extending the term. This decision is important as it shows the discrepancy between the way in which district judges in the Principal Registry Family Division deal with spousal periodic payments and the way in which the High Court does.
Grubb v Grubb  Court of Appeal
Partner Bradley Williams acted for the husband in this case in the Court of Appeal. The Court considered how to determine what constitutes the "reasonable needs" of a spouse in a case involving inherited wealth in a “big money” case. The case attracted substantial press coverage amid claims that the courts have lost touch with the idea of "reasonable needs" for wives in big money divorce cases. The Court of Appeal also dealt with the issue regarding the circumstances in which a Court could summarily assess costs, which has important consequences for practitioners.
K v L  EWHC
Nicole Hackett and associate Elizabeth Fletcher acted for the husband of a multi millionaire worth about £57m. The money resulted from the modest shares inherited prior to the marriage by the wife which increased expediently, a “passive bequest”, during the marriage. The shares had remained in the sole name of the wife. Despite their wealth, the couple had lived very modestly during the marriage (this was considered to be a key feature by the judge) with the husband along with the wife playing a home making role. The Court of Appeal upheld Mr Justice Bodey’s decision that the husband's needs, fully and generously assessed, could be met by a lump sum payment of £5m. This case is significant in that it is clear that the Courts look differently at the needs of a home-making wife from those of a home-making husband. It is also instructive of the way in which the Courts deal with inherited wealth.
Golubovich v Golubovich  EWCA Civ 810/ All ER (D) 72
Having successfully acted for the husband, Ilya Golubovich, in a case in the Court of Appeal which established that an English court should recognise decrees of divorce made competently and within the rules of another jurisdiction, where the other jurisdiction was outside the EU or with whom the UK did not have a reciprocal treaty arrangement, David Allision subsequently advised the husband on an application for leave to appeal an order made for financial remedies after an overseas divorce. The appeal was reported as Golubovich v Golubovich  All ER (D) 72.
In this case a divorce decree in relation to two Russian citizens had been granted in Russia by a competent court and there was no reason for the English court not to recognise it simply because the wife had obtained injunctions in England attempting to prevent the husband from applying for divorce in Russia. The court considered, but rejected, the argument that it should refuse to recognise the decree of divorce granted in Russia on the grounds of public policy. There was no breach of natural justice in this case which could justify such a decision.