How important is full and frank disclosure?

23 April, 2015
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

Details have emerged of Judge Robinson’s judgment in a written ruling by Mr Justice Moor who had been asked to analyse a separate specific legal issue.

Mr Justice Moor said no one involved could be identified but that the husband had been a successful banker and had subsequently been ordained into the Anglican Church.

In Mr Justice Moor’s ruling he said Mr Robinson had concluded that the husband had “significant resources in addition to those disclosed” and “adverse inferences were drawn as his disclosure was found to be lamentable and not frank”.

Judge Robinson ordered that he transfer ownership of the £825,000 family home to his wife as well as some of his other properties.

In addition to this, the husband’s solicitors were ordered to pay the wife’s legal costs as the solicitors “knew something which should have put them on further enquiry, which would have revealed had they thought properly about it that the payment of their fees from the equity in [the family home] was in part intended to defeat the Wife’s claims”.

The law places a duty on both parties to a financial settlement to disclose to each other (and the court if financial settlement proceedings are commenced) all their financial circumstances. This case reinforces the importance that parties must provide full and frank disclosure of their entire means. If they fail to do so, it may provide grounds for the court to cancel or ‘set aside’ the order and the offending party could be ordered to pay all or a proportion of the other party’s legal costs. There may also be criminal sanctions under the Fraud Act 2006.