Are Legal Aid Cuts Having An Effect On Family Courts?

Government cuts across all sectors have been biting for a number of years now, but the cuts in the legal budget have taken time to be fully realised and the impact on the family courts are hitting some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

The knock on effect of the changes in legal aid mean that in 42 per cent of cases now coming to the family court neither party have a solicitor, compared with just 12 per cent before the legal aid cuts. People without legal representation are known as Litigants in Person, or LIPs and a lack of legal advice can have a negative effect both on the court system and on the people involved.

A lack of representation brings a number of issues. The first is on the parents who are struggling to manage the access arrangements for their children. Without legal advice and representation, they will certainly find it difficult to know what processes need to be followed and they will also not have the experience to be able to argue their case effectively in court.

When taking a custody case to court, there are a number of tests which could be utilised if there are allegations of alcohol or drug abuse, such as hair follicle sampling, but tests like these are proving too expensive for the normal person on the street and this is affecting the outcome of some cases.

Victims of domestic abuse are sometimes having to face their abuser in court now because in order to qualify for legal aid – thus to be represented and supported, they have to have a doctor’s letter, which can cost up to £75 and some cannot afford this cost.

The knock on effect of litigants in person in the courts are that judges are having to guide them and use lots of discretion during the case, which would not be necessary with a  lawyer present. Therefore cases are taking longer to resolve in an already backed up court system and some private custody hearings are now taking 6 months or longer to be resolved.

Whilst no one can deny that savings need to be made, should these cuts really have to affect the most vulnerable in our society?

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 2898

How Much Will I Get?

A Brief And Simple Guide To s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973

In my view, the biggest and most difficult question client’s ask me relate to “how much will I get” following on from their divorce or dissolution of their (same sex) partnership.

It is not an easy question to answer and whilst clients may desire direct straightforward answers, the reality is straightforward answers are easy to provide in determining this question. It is difficult providing a range of figures that make be a likely award when full financial disclosure has been given, but it is dangerous and nigh on impossible at the outset of a case when there is no financial or very limited financial disclosure.

There are many reasons why Solicitors are evasive initially when it comes to giving this advice and never 100% confident even when they do. This does not reflect on the Solicitor but on the current state of the law.

The easiest way to explain this is to consider the following:

a)      Stare Decisis

b)     The sources of the law

c)      The process of coming to a decision

 

Stare Decisis

Sorry to be a bit technical at this juncture. Stare Decisis the process putting it simply, where courts follow the decision of a previous court to ensure consistency. So, if two very similar people say, undertake the same criminal activity anywhere in the country, they should, at least in theory receive the same punishment or sentence.

In family proceedings, this does not happen. The previous decisions of the court are not binding in a subsequent court on a similar matter (and many would argue that no two family cases are ever the same anyway).

Instead, in family proceedings, previous decisions of the courts are persuasive. That is, they should be sufficient to persuade a subsequent judge in a similar matter – but may not automatically do so.

So even very experienced practitioners who understand the law and keep abreast of the ne legal cases coming out of the higher courts will not with any degree of certainty be able to tell you always, certainly not initially, “how much will I get”.

 

Sources of the Law

The law that we rely on as professionals in helping us come to a decision on what we think may be a possible outcome of a financial case are mainly as follows:

a)      Case law – previous cases that have taken place that may be similar in at least some ways to your case and thus give us some guidance. But note, Stare Decisis applies as I have mentioned above.

b)     Statute – these are laws passed by Parliament, there are many, many laws passed by Parliament and we still refer to the ones that have not been repealed from the Married Women’s Property Act 1882 to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and so on. Familiarity with these Acts of Parliament is essential but do not provide the whole picture.

c)      Secondary Legislation – often when an Act of Parliament is passed, a lot of the fine detail if often left to a later date to be dealt with, usually by a Minister. This secondary legislation does not often have the same scrutiny as the Act itself does. Nonetheless, often these Statutory Instruments contain the “meat” of the “bones” of the Act of Parliament

d)     Love them or hate them, the EU also passes legislation which impacts on family law. We always need to keep an eye on what is happening at EU level to ensure that our domestic laws are compliant. Sometimes the EU legislation directly relates to family law, such as Brussels II, but often there are indirect consequences of EU legislation which permeates its way into family law such as The Human Rights legislation (as I shall generically put it).

All that information combined, helps us to come to some idea of what you may be entitled to when considering the financial aspects of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. That is not the end of it.

 

The Process of Coming to a Decision

The main piece of legislation (in this case an Act of Parliament) is the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. In that legislation, when deciding how much each party will get in a financial settlement we of course consider section 25. Often this is referred to as the “s25 factors”. Lawyers consider this section in detail and those who don’t do so at their own peril:
Section 25 (2) says: As regards the exercise of the powers of the court [in relation to the financial aspects of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution ] in relation to a party to the marriage, the court shall in particular have regard to the following matters-

(a)    the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the marriage to take steps to acquire;

(b)    the financial needs, obligation and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

(c)    the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage’

(d)   the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;

(e)    any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;

(f)     the contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;

(g)   the conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it’

(h)   in the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (for example, a pension) which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

Having considered all these matters, we can come to a view. It’s not as straight forward as it looks, or is it?

I have been undertaking family law since 1995 and I still have to sit and think and deal with competing dilemmas of the law before coming to a conclusion that I can convey with some confidence and some sense to a client.

Please note that this article has been written with the lay person in mind. There are some technical inaccuracies where I have taken poetic licence to convey the point or sentiment. At no stage whatsoever should you at all rely on the information included herein.

 

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 2898

E-Z Legal Form

Ann Aldrich used an “E-Z Legal Form” when she made out her will in 2004, a decision that proved to be a good choice for two nieces who cited the document’s lack of a residuary clause.

In a decision issued last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled for the nieces, though they weren’t mentioned in the will. The court said money acquired by Aldrich after the will was made out should be distributed under the laws of intestacy, which govern distribution of property for those who die without a will. The reason: The E-Z form did not have a residuary clause providing for the disposition of property not listed in the document.

Concurring Justice Barbara Pariente saw the ruling as a cautionary tale. “While I appreciate that there are many individuals in this state who might have difficulty affording a lawyer,” Pariente said, “this case does remind me of the old adage ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish.’ …

“I therefore take this opportunity to highlight a cautionary tale of the potential dangers of utilizing pre-printed forms and drafting a will without legal assistance. As this case illustrates, that decision can ultimately result in the frustration of the testator’s intent, in addition to the payment of extensive attorney’s fees—the precise results the testator sought to avoid in the first place.”

Aldrich’s will had left all her property to her sister, and then to her brother if her sister predeceased her. Because the sister died first, the brother had claimed he was entitled to the entire estate.

The will specifically said all “listed” items should go to Aldrich’s brother, the Florida Supreme Court said in an opinion by Justice Peggy Quince. “Therefore, it is clear that the testator did not intend for any property not listed to be distributed by the will. Any other interpretation of the testator’s actions would require this court to rewrite the will to include provisions regarding property for which the testator made none.”

Aldrich had signed a handwritten note after her sister’s death saying all her “worldly possessions” should pass to her brother, with the exception of certain bank accounts that should pass to a niece, the brother’s daughter. The document had just one witness—the niece who was to get the bank accounts—and was unenforceable under Florida law.

The nieces who asserted an interest in the estate were the daughters of a different brother who had already died.

The comments in this article are not intended to constitute legal advice. As ever, in all the articles written, it is imperative that you take independent legal advice before acting on any of the information contained herein.

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 2898

What Are The Duties Of An Executor?

If you have been named as an executor in a loved one’s Will, you will have a number of tasks which you will need to complete as part of executing the Will. If you have lost someone close, you will be dealing with your emotions and grief too which might make the whole process more difficult for you, but your legal responsibilities as executor still apply.

This can be a daunting prospect for you but by exploring the responsibilities and duties of an executor, you may feel more comfortable with the process.

The first thing you will need to do is to obtain the death certificate and establish yourself as the executor of the Will. This can be done with the original Will.

The next step in the process will be to initially value the estate. This could be difficult to do, especially if there is property involved so it is best to ask an estate agent to provide you with a valuation for any property included within the estate.

Once you have made this valuation, you may apply for a Grant of Probate. This will provide you with the power to distribute the estate and access bank accounts, investments and pension schemes. It is important at this stage to identify if any inheritance tax will be payable on the estate. Any estate worth over £325,000 will be subject to inheritance tax.

There is a fee payable to obtain a Grant of Probate and you will also need to attend an interview at the Probate Registry. Once this step is completed, you must ensure that any inheritance tax owed on the estate is paid. This may be difficult if most of the assets are tied up in property, but there is an option to pay in instalments if that is the case.

Once the Grant of Probate has been issued you can then start to administer the estate. This means you will be able to access bank accounts, savings, pension schemes and any other sources of money to transfer over to an executor’s bank account which you will have to open.

You will then need to collect any money owed to the estate and in addition, pay off any debts owed by the estate, including funeral costs and solicitors fees where necessary.

Any property will have to be placed onto the market and once sold, be distributed as stipulated in the Will. Your final requirements are to prepare the accounts for sign off by HMRC, notify the beneficiaries of their inheritance, send them a copy of the accounts and obtain sign off from each of them and then distribute all of the assets.

If this seems like a very complicated and stressful process, you may benefit from appointing a specialist solicitor to complete the probate process on your behalf.

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 2898

Divorce Pay Out Ordered Even With Three Pre-Nups

Only last month it was announced that prenuptial agreements, better known as pre-nups, would be made legally binding in England and Wales and yet this week the media has reported that the wealthy daughter of a multimillionaire media mogul has been ordered to pay her husband £1.2 million in a divorce settlement, even though there were three pre-nups in place.

This sad tale of the breakdown of a marriage and then the financial wrangling of all the parties involved has ensured that this couple’s divorce has made the papers.

Ms Luckwell, the daughter of Mike Luckwell, who owns the media company responsible for Bob the Builder, married her husband Mr Limata in 2005. He signed a prenuptial agreement and then followed this up with two additional agreements. Their marriage lasted 7 years until it broke down in 2012 over financial issues.

Mr Limata now has no assets and has debts of over a quarter of a million pounds. In contrast Ms Luckwell has nearly £7 million, which is mostly made up of a London property where she and her children live, which was purchased and given to her by her father.

Her father told the court that he would stop paying for the couple’s three children to go to private school and that he would cut off his daughter if she paid any money to Mr Limata.

However, the judge ordered that an award was unavoidable because the children would be living in luxury with the mother and in poverty with their father and if the roles were reversed, there would undoubtedly be an award made in the same circumstances.

Ms Luckwell faces having to sell her property in Westminster to be able to pay the settlement to her ex-husband, who will receive a 3 bedroom house for £900,000 to live in until the youngest child is 22 years old. It will then be sold and he will receive 55% of the proceeds to buy a new home for himself.

This judgment demonstrates that currently prenuptial agreements are taken into account, however, the financial status of the person who signed it will be factored in to any decisions made.

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, you should seek independent legal advice so you are clear about what this means for you.

 

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 2898

Prevention Of Terrorism Act 1988 (And 1998)

This article could be considered in conjunction with the comments I have made in the article entitled “All Catholics are Terrorists”.

It was 1989. I had completed my dissertation for my Honours on my LLB course. The paper was entitled “is unjust law, law?”. I will not bore you with the jurisprudence of the points made in that tome. What I will do is indulge myself a little to tell you a little of what my paper concluded.

In that paper, I reminded my readers (probably only my mum at the time and probably now, not a whole lot more!) that we (the British) were at war with the IRA. Some called it The Troubles (what an amazing euphemism – if only it were not so sad) and some called it a conflict. I am sure that there are legal implications of what that whole episode was named but whatever it was called, it was a bloody conflict, with serious, frequent and fatal blood shed on both sides of the fence.

Also around that time, for a bit more background information, we enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1988. At the time of its enactment, the Houses of Parliament were told, assured, convinced, that the Act would only remain in place for 14 WEEKS. Ten years later, it was supplemented (or supplanted depending on your political persuasion) by the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1998.

At that time, the British Government were riled, I was at that time serving in the Territorial Army and very much on the “side” of the British. We wanted to sort out the murdering Irish b*****ds.

The problem for me as a person was that I was also in the final throes of my law degree. I believed then and I believe now in the Rule of Law, of Justice, of right and wrong. (Doesn’t everybody?) Fiat Justitia Ruat Coelum MEANS something. Without that, as a Solicitor (as I am now) would be just a job, a deluded food processor in a meat factory. Bad law is bad law. It should not happen and should not be allowed to happen.

Back to my dissertation – in amongst other things, I wrote in my work that the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six would and should be released. My predictions came true. Sadly, I cannot take credit for being a Mystic Meg of the legal world (oh, if only) and neither can I take any credit for being a legal genius. It was obvious that this would happen, frankly.

Again, I will not bore you with WHY they were likely to be acquitted but I will say this: The politicians at that time, on both sides of the House, meddled with the law to put right things “right” that are politically unsatisfactory at the time. But politically unsatisfactory to who? To the politicians of course. Things will go wrong and often do, when politicians meddle in the legal system to fix political problems. Miscarriages of justice will occur and worse than that, if such a thing could be contemplated, is that or rights as citizens are made a tiny bit weaker because of it.

You may have forgotten about the Prevention of Terrorism Acts, you may have forgotten about the IRA terrorists and you may have forgotten about the fear that they put in the daily lives of the British Population and the countless, pointless loss of live even here on the mainland.

You may have even forgotten that many men and a woman were incarcerated for what the law says they did not do – for over 30 years in total. 30 wasted years of their lives that we cannot give back to them. 30 political years of vote wins. And of course that would not happen now – not now, with hindsight or with the advances in our legal morality. Surely not.

I hope not.

Think about the vile murdering Muslim terrorists now. None of them charged with any offence, despite them being incarcerated in Gitmo for god only knows how long. The incongruity of this paradox hurts my head. On the one hand, we “know” that they are involved in terrorism; we know they make our streets unsafe and put at risk the lives of our children.

But to keep them incarcerated without charge is anathema to any right minded person’s moral and legal code, let alone the established legal code of a developed civilised democratic nation. That utter unbelievable incredible faux pas not only destroyed the credibility of the USA as the bastion of good and the defender of Right, but fuelled the fire of terrorism to a magnitude never seen before as far as I am aware. That is bad news. The USA involved politics in the Rule of Law and frankly fucked up big time.

We, the British (well English and Welsh to be precise) are not that far behind. We have been involved in illegal rendition flights, sending BRITISH CITIZENS to third party countries that either are despotic or rub shoulders with them, knowing that they will be tortured. British security forces have been in the same building or room as British Citizens who have been tortured not by our forces (thank god) but by those whose countries they use, thereby creating a deniability of torture at our hands.

The story goes on and on. Let me put it into stark relief what happens when politicians are trusted to mess with the law if you are still not yet convinced. We are now talking about holding specialist trials. Trials where all the qualified personnel, the lawyers for both the defence and the prosecution, the Judges, the whole lot, have security clearance  as the information that may be put in these hearings is so sensitive. I do understand the need to maintain secrecy to protect our working methods, our fight against terrorism, our need to protect the personnel and so on. But at what price?

The defence only gets the “gist” (I kid you not) of the case against the accused. There will be parts where even the defence will not be allowed to hear and the prosecution’s case that is put to the Judge (obviously security cleared) without the defence even present.

This is utter madness.

I know we are all pissed off with terrorism and 9/11 and 7/7 more to the point for us was a disgusting act of violence that should never again be allowed to happen.

But really? Not even knowing what the case is against you before you are potentially fully convicted of an offence that you do not fully get to hear about and leaving you in prison for life. LIFE.

I am ashamed that in 20 years’ time, our children will look back on us and wonder what on earth we were thinking to allow this to happen. Just like twenty-somethings now seem to question what the bloody hell we were doing when the PTA came into force.

 

The comments in this article are not intended to constitute legal advice. As ever, in all the articles written, it is imperative that you take independent legal advice before acting on any of the information contained herein.

 

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 2898

Common Law Wife (OR Husband)

Apologies first: I have talked about heterosexual couples in this article. The same applies to same sex couples. I have also given an example of the male partner being the one who is the main breadwinner and the girlfriend being the stay at home mum. Clearly, that could be the other way round and of course, it could be a same sex partner that is the stay at home parent as their same sex partner goes out to work.

Disclaimer Second: I have tried to express an opinion about the fallacy of common law husband and wife. In doing so, I have touched upon a complex area of law known as Trusts. I have not gone into detail about Trusts and that means that some of the information contained in this article is not strictly accurate but one possible scenario that could arise. As per the main disclaimer at the end of this article, do not act on anything you see written in here but take independent legal advice from a qualified specialist family Solicitor. Not doing so, especially in this case of all cases, you do so at your own peril.

It never ceases to amaze me how often I hear people, old and young, rich and poor talk about their partner being their common law spouse. If anything, I seem to hear women refer to that concept more than men. I do not know why that it – but anecdotally, I would say that twice as often in my legal practice, I hear women say that they are the common law wife of a man that they have been cohabiting with for some time, rather than men referring to it. Why that is the case is not particularly relevant to this article but interesting nonetheless.

I recall a particular client who came to see me not a long time ago (and case law is littered with similar stories sadly) where a woman had been living with her partner for many a year and they had two teenage children together. She had changed her name by deed and as far as BOTH of them were concerned, they were common law husband and wife. Their families thought of them as a “married” couple as did their friends and all who knew them. They felt married.

Sadly, their relationship broke down and this is when the problems arose.

Let me state the obvious from the outset: to be married, two people, whether heterosexual or same sex, MUST go through a formal legal ceremony, ie a wedding, in a Register Office, a designated religious building (such as a Church) or more commonly nowadays, an approved other building, such as a country manor etc. Without that formal ceremony, the couple are not and never will be, married.

Many people do not worry about such “minor trivialities” – but as a Solicitor dealing with relationship breakdowns day in day out – that information is of crucial importance.

If I got a pound for each time I have had a client say that they are “married” only to find out that what they meant was that were common law husband and wife – I am sure I could retire.

The fact of the matter is that the concept of common law husband and wife has not existed in England and Wales since the 1700’s, 1763 from memory but don’t quote me on that. A few decades will not make the blindest bit of difference I bet. Let me say that again just in case you thought you misread what I just said – the concept of common law husband and wife has not existed in England and Wales since the 1700’s – yes, several hundred years ago. Quite why people still hold on to this dangerous myth of the common law spouse is beyond me.

I do not even know where this folklore starts – people just seem to know – like it is in the genes.

Back to the client that I mentioned earlier, they felt married, the believed they were married but they had not gone through a marriage ceremony. So now you and I know that in fact they were not married. You and I now know that they were not common law husband and wife as there is no such thing.

So what? Well, not untypically, the male partner (I will not call him a husband, so I will call him a boyfriend, just to drill the point home), he went to work so he was the breadwinner, so to speak. She stayed at home and looked after the kids.

He had the savings in his account – the account that he had before they met but they just kept using – because it did not seem to be a big deal. She had his passbook and even knew the online pin number and password and he did not. (Sounds like my domestic circumstances too).

Crucially, he had the home in his name as the mortgage was in his name, but they both considered it their home and the kids home.

I am now simplifying matters because there are circumstances where in such cases the female partner (I will not call her a wife, so I will call her girlfriend to remain consistent) does have an interest in property but it can be expensive to prove that the girlfriend does have rights and success can never be guaranteed.

In this case however, the client that I saw had no such rights and no way of proving that she out to have an interest in the property. Even though she had done everything to raise the kids, which in my mind and more importantly, in the courts, mind is the equivalent as going out and earning a wage and thus being a joint contributor to the outgoings on the property etc.

The net effect was that she was not his wife and thus not entitled to matrimonial relief

She was not his common law wife as there is no such thing in England and Wales

So she was just a “mere” girlfriend.

She was not entitled to any of the value of the home – not a dime.

In my mind and I am sure in most people’s mind, that was a very harsh outcome for the girlfriend, especially after a long relationship. But legally, it was the right outcome. That is what the law says and until the law changes that is how it will be. The law in these types of “common law” spouse cases are not concerned with fairness but concerned with legal (and equitable) rights. You are either entitled or you are not.

Let that be a salutary lesson, if you are the common law wife, you are no more than a mere girlfriend, and if you are the common law husband, they are no more than a mere boyfriend. The law will treat you as such. So, if you are in such a situation, fix it now – especially whilst your relationship is working – as both of you will want to be fair to each other.

In my case above mentioned, the boyfriend could have approached this matter as a gentleman and said, well I thought she was entitled, so I will give her that fair share. He didn’t. What he said was, not unsurprisingly, was that he would pay out only what she was entitled to in law. Which he now knew was NIL. He made a windfall and caused her untold misery, distress and financial hardship. She was understandably devastated.

If you are in a relationship with another person and have not formally regulated your position, then for heaven’s sake go and see a Solicitor to ensure that you are both protected or there will be more than tears later.

 

The comments in this article are not intended to constitute legal advice. As ever, in all the articles written, it is imperative that you take independent legal advice before acting on any of the information contained herein.

 

Shak Inayat
Solicitor
0207 183 2898

Shak Inayat

Shak Inayat, Solicitor, is a Wealth Management expert specialising in:

1. Family Law 

  • Divorces/ Same sex dissolutions
  • Children disputes
  • Financial settlements following divorce/dissolution
  • Injunctions to protect property and assets
  • Injunctions to protect the person

(particularly high value divorces involving pension or significant family businesses)

2. Wills & Probate

  • Wills
  • Powers of attorney
  • Health directive (living wills)
  • Probate
  • Change of name

Contact me for more information and how I can assist you to maintain, retain and sustain your previously accumulated wealth on 0207 183 2898 or 075 3837 3838

Shak Inayat is a fully qualified Solicitor practising at Penn Chambers Solicitors of 13 Austin Friars London EC2N 2HE

Penn Chambers Solicitors are fully regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Number 599165

Imagine a horrible man…..

Imagine a horrible man…

Then imagine that he hates his wife so much that he went out of his way to get her into trouble and that lands HER in jail.

Then imagine that he gets sacked (or resigns, call it what you will) from his job in the government

Then imagine the same man allegedly then pulled his wife through a window into the former matrimonial home and gave her a black eye in doing so

Then imagine the same odious man was allegedly violent when his wife tried to leave the home to flee from his rage.

Then imagine the same man who had previously worked for the government as an advisor being RE-INSTATED as a government advisor again.

I would be disgusted – wouldn’t you?

Well read these two articles then make up your own mind (and please tell me if I am missing something – I genuinely want to know because I cannot fathom it out) :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25844091

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10585122/Vicky-Pryce-gave-Chris-Huhne-black-eye-after-affair-aroused-gay-suspicions-court-told.html

Vince v Wyatt – round 2

Further to my previous blog on this issue, surprise surprise; the Supreme Court will hear an appeal by the wife in the case of Vince v Wyatt [2013] EWCA Civ 495.

Just when you thought this problem had gone to bed – it rears it’s head again.

You myat recall from my earlier blog  that in May 2013 the Court of Appeal allowed the husband’s appeal against the dismissal of his application to strike out his former wife’s claim for a financial remedy, which she issued some 18 years after the parties were divorced.

The Court also held that an A v A order should not have been made against the husband requiring him to pay a total of £125,000 to fund his ex-wife’s legal costs of bringing the claim against him. In the High Court Mr Vince had been ordered to pay £125,000 directly to Ms Wyatt’s solicitors.
There are six grounds of appeal in respect of each of which permission to appeal has been granted. The constitution of the Appellate Committee which granted permission was Baroness Hale, Lord Sumption and Lord Carnwath.

The essential points on appeal are:

  • Whether or not it is permissible to strike out a party’s Form A financial remedy application without the merits of such party’s claim being considered by a court of trial; and
  • What is the legal and beneficial status of monies paid under the A v A jurisdiction?

The appeal before the Supreme Court is likely to be heard in December 2014.

Watch this space!