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Birch v Birch [2017] UKSC 53 – The Supreme Court allows wife’s appeal to vary undertakings contained in a consent order

Case comment by Ella Welsby

26 July 2017 - The Supreme Court, by a majority of 4:1, has allowed the wife’s appeal to apply to be released from undertakings given to her husband as part of a consent order approved by the court on 26 July 2010.

The 2010 order included undertakings whereby the wife promised to use her best endeavours to discharge the husband’s liability under the mortgage on the former matrimonial home ‘FMH’ or in the event that she was not able to, s...[CONT]

Sharp v Sharp: short marriage shakes 50/50 principle

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of City trader Julie Sharp, reducing the £2.74m award made to her husband Robin Sharp in 2015 to £2m.   This is a significant “sea change” in terms of matrimonial law in that it challenges the principle, established in White v White [2001] 1 AC 596  that the matrimonial assets of a divorcing couple should normally be shared between them on an equal basis.  Shaking what was widely regarded as a ri...[CONT]

"Special contribution" denied in one of biggest divorce payment awarded by a UK court

A 61-year-old, Russian-born oil and gas trader has been told to hand over £453 million, equating to 41.5% of the "total marital assets", to his 44 year old estranged wife. The award, which followed a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, could be the one of the biggest divorce payment awarded by a UK court. The significant payment also reinforces London’s reputation for  being 'the divorce capital of the world', with timely proc...[CONT]

Family Law Myth 1 – The “no fault” divorce

In the next few weeks, we would like to highlight some of the misconceptions surrounding divorce and family law. We start with the issue of the “no fault” divorce as this has been discussed at length in the media as a result of the Owens v Owens case.

This “no fault” divorce myth encompasses a number of misconceptions; the clarity is in the detail rather than just the meaning of the words themselves.

“No fault&rd...[CONT]

Family Law Update November - Alice Quirk comments on two recent cases

Re: W (Minors) [2016] EWHC 2226 (Fam) – Read full judgment here
Re: B (Litigant in Person: timely service of documents) [2016] EWHC 2365 (Fam) Read full judgment here

Re: W (Minors) [2016] EWHC 2226 (Fam) Judgment of Mr Justice Mostyn in which he makes a number of orders, the most significant of which relates to an ex...[CONT]


This case concerns a 25 year marriage in which the wife’s Financial Remedy Application was ultimately determined by HHJ Brasse in August 2014, following separation in 2013.  The parties were at the time both aged 50 and are the parents of three children aged between 17 and 20.

This was a traditional marriage in the sense that the husband continued to work after the birth of the children while the wife became the homemaker and primary carer, with only occasional modestly p...[CONT]

Robertson v Robertson [2016] EWHC 613 (Fam) – A case note by Natalie Sutherland

This case was a “big money” case where the total assets amounted to £219million. Mr Justice Holman delivered his judgment after the parties failed to reach a settlement, having been unable to bridge the gap of £77million.


The background facts

Mr and Mrs Robertson were married in December 2004, having cohabited since 2002. They have two children aged eight and seven. The parties separated at the end of 2013 and there...[CONT]

Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 – Two Recent Cases which demonstrate why a foreign divorce does not have to be the last say in terms of final financial orders – A case note by Alex Hulbert

Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (MFPA) allows, in certain situations, the English courts to make financial orders following a foreign divorce.

Before the court can consider an application under Part III, permission must to be obtained. S.13 (1) states that “the court shall not grant leave unless it considers that there is substantial ground for the making of an application for such an order.”

The factors set out at S.16 (2) of t...[CONT]

Covert Recording of Children – a case note by Alice Grainger on M v F (Covert recording of children) [2016] EWFC 29: A lesson in misjudged evidence.

“It is almost always likely to be wrong for a recording device to be placed on a child for the purpose of gathering evidence in family proceedings, whether or not the child is aware of its presence.”  The opening sentence of Mr Justice Peter Jackson’s Judgment could, almost, be all he needed to write on this matter. 

Instead, he continues by discussing the consequences of a parent taking the step of recording their child’s conversations wit...[CONT]

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