Sharland and Gohil: Wednesday 14th October 2015
The Supreme Court ruling has just been received in respect of this landmark case concerning two wives who have been involved in on-going litigation regarding their final financial orders acquired within divorce proceedings, confirming final financial orders can be reopened in the event of fraud.
Both women agreed to a financial settlement on the basis of the respective husbands representations of their financial worth. In each case, subsequent evidence came to light revealing the husbands to have significantly underplayed their true wealth.
So what does this mean for those of us unlikely to be looking at a £10m settlement as Mrs Sharland was?
Whilst we welcome the court allowing consent orders to be looked at again in cases of established fraud, the reality is that deception is going to have to be significant for it to make a difference to the overall award, and cases involving assets of such substance are uncommon.
That said, this ruling is helpful in reinforcing the duty of full and frank disclosure in all financial cases. Currently parties are required to attest to the veracity of the financial information they have given. This judgment will hopefully give pause for thought to those considering understating their affluence. Adverse consequences for those contemplating circumventing justice can only be a good thing.
Anita Scorah, Solicitor
O`Neill Patient Family Department