It will be extremely interesting to see the outcome of this case. Disclosure in financial proceedings is important and I lose count of the amount of time we have to stress this to clients.
This case questions whether the courts are really tough enough on disclosure but this is mainly in the bigger money cases. In reality the average case with a matrimonial home, some savings and each party employed it is near impossible to hide assets. In bigger cases with large companies involved and a complicated make up of assets more expert involvement is necessary to go through disclosure, often including lengthy company accounts, with a fine tooth comb meaning it can be easier to conceal assets.
How many ex-wives and husbands are really going to want to re-open their case? Even if they can the question must be asked as to whether further hearings and the time and costs involved are of justifiable value; will they prove assets were hidden? That will not be easy and the question has to be asked whether it would have changed the final outcome?
As a family law practitioner, if the supreme court allows these cases to be re-opened it will certainly be a case I refer clients to. It reiterates the importance of fully and frankly disclosing your financial position; putting all your cards on the table.
Today's cases go to the heart of the family justice system. They are about honesty when divorcing. England and Wales, and London in particular, is seen by many as the divorce capital of the world. .....most marriages of any significant duration, there is a 50/50 split of the couple's wealth. ...there is a huge incentive not to disclose assets and to not put them into the pot to be divided up. A court order approving a financial settlement can be set aside if one person fails to disclose assets, but it must be what the lawyers call "material" non-disclosure - that's "significant" to you and me. In other words it must be such that the court would have made a different order. Some argue that means the courts have been too tolerant of people not disclosing their assets.