News

“Big Money” divorce on appeal to Supreme Court

  • December 17, 2012
  • By Hunters Law

The disappointed ex-wife of oil tycoon, Michael Prest, has been granted permission to appeal the controversial Court of Appeal decision in Petrodel Resources Ltd & Ors -v- Prest & Ors [2012] EWCA Civ 1395.

The Court of Appeal’s majority (2:1) decision on 26th October 2012 caused huge controversy in the family law world when they ruled that the High Court judge had been “wrong” to “pierce the corporate veil” and to equate the companies owned and controlled by Mr Prest with Mr Prest himself and to regard their assets as his.  The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal brought by the three companies owned and controlled by Mr Prest against the Order requiring them to transfer assets to Mrs Prest. Mrs Prest has now been granted permission to appeal this decision.

The Court of Appeal decision highlights the tension that exists between, on the one hand, the fact that, in company law, a company is a separate legal entity that is entirely distinct from its members and, on the other, the inclination of the Family Division to look behind corporate structures if that is required in the interest of achieving fairness. Given the constitution of the Court of Appeal in this case, it is perhaps unsurprising that the former prevailed.

Lord Justice Thorpe, the only Family Law specialist sitting in the Court of Appeal and who delivered the dissenting judgment, warned that the Family Division judge’s overriding duty to achieve fairness would be defeated if company law allows a wealthy businessman to “hide” his assets in corporate structures. The Court of Appeal judgement can be read in full here.

The appeal will be heard in the Supreme Court on the 5th and 6th March 2013. The Family team at Hunters are eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court judgment and are following all the developments.

 

Related News

Jan 28, 2022
Richard Kershaw discusses sharing carried interest in private equity divorces in Lawyer Monthly
Jan 20, 2022
Henry Hood interviewed by Citywealth
Jan 17, 2022
Family Mediation Week: Nicole Derham discusses qualifying as a family law mediator
Jan 17, 2022
Henry Hood discusses how divorce settlements can be influenced by personal asset management during a marriage in STEP Journal Plus
Dec 30, 2021
Henry Hood comments on the highest post-divorce financial settlement awarded by an English court in New Law Journal
Dec 21, 2021
Henry Hood and Eri Horrocks discuss the consequences of failing to make a payment under a court-ordered divorce settlement in EPrivateClient
Dec 15, 2021
Henry Hood and Anna Roiser examine privacy and transparency in financial proceedings on divorce
Dec 10, 2021
Henry Hood comments on Frederick Barclay faces a possible prison sentence after failing to pay a £50m divorce settlement in The Legal Diary
Dec 03, 2021
Philippa Kum discusses arrangements for children of separated parents over the Christmas holidays
Nov 26, 2021
Henry Hood examines the case of WX v HX [2021] EWHC 241 and divorce settlements in EPrivateClient

© Hunters Law LLP 2022 | Privacy NoticeLegal & Regulatory | Cookies Policy | Complaints Procedure.

Hunters Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (number 657218)