In reply to the specific points raised:-
- I am not surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling and amongst fellow Family Lawyers this is the predominant view. The matter was initially dealt with in the High Court by Mr. Justice Moylan a highly experienced Family Law Judge. The Supreme Court ratified his findings. Further there has been a very long standing principle going back to an old case called Livesey v Jenkins which makes plain that there must be full and frank disclosure in cases of this nature.
- The next steps will be that the High Court will give Directions as to the future conduct of the Wife’s Applications, including as to disclosure of course, and no doubt matters will proceed to Final Hearings unless a settlement can be achieved.
- As to future divorce cases the Supreme Court’s Decision underlines and emphasises in big bold letters the need to make full and frank disclosure. Certainly particularly where there are Consent Orders there has been an element of a relaxed approach about this. No doubt Family Law Practitioners will be emphasising to their clients the need for great accuracy in their disclosure both in contested and uncontested matters to avoid the legal mayhem and costs involved in this case.
- The advice I would give if consulted about an Order which a client thinks should be revisited is fundamentally that it is necessary to look at the scale of the non disclosure. First of all of course the non disclosure has to be proved but taking it that that is possible that non disclosure must be to my mind substantial and significant enough for the Court to be certain that the basis of the agreement reached would have been different had the correct disclosure been made.
I am happy to discuss the above in more detail and I am available until 12noon today to talk on the telephone. My direct line is 0121 289 3771.
NB. Just to add the following:-
- The magnitude of non disclosure in these cases was enormous involving many millions. We are not talking about a few pounds in a box under the bed!!!
- The Supreme Court clearly wanted to do the “right thing” in terms of natural justice. Mr. Justice Moylan was affirmed by the Supreme Court albeit in the Gohil case he had relied on technically inadmissible evidence.
- It should go without saying that the principles enshrined are non gender specific and apply to both spouses!!