WALES/ENGLAND – Coleridge J offers guidance on approach to ‘lesser issues and assets’ in financial remedy cases

Judge’s comments have been expressly approved by the President

Family Law Week

 

In B v B [2013] EWHC 1232 (Fam) Mr Justice Coleridge has made remarks, approved by the President of the Family Division, which practitioners will need to keep in mind when dealing with what the judge described as ‘the lesser issues and assets’. 

The parties had broadly agreed that the assets in the case of £40m should be split as nearly as possible in half.  However, there remained issues as to which party should retain the castle, how the husband’s interest in three private equity funds should be shared, the valuation of a yacht and how the lesser assets, including cars, should be dealt with.

Having applauded the parties and their advisers for achieving agreement on many of the major issues, Coleridge J commented on their approach to the lesser assets. He said:

“The small differences (as a proportion of the pot) in the value of [the less important assets] does not merit the time (and costs) spent on them. As the rules now make clear, proportionality is the name of the game when costs are so high and court time is more and more at a premium. A much more rigorous approach to case management (especially in the field of the employment of experts) is being introduced in other areas of the family justice system to save precious time and money. This type of high value litigation cannot expect to be immune and parties to it can expect to be confronted more and more by a refusal by the court to participate in these disputes over the lesser assets and where in each case the difference is around 1% of the net value of the pot or less. Assets falling in this category should be bundled up together and an overall value for them all agreed. If not the court is itself likely to apply that system in a broad, even rough and ready, way. As Mr Marks QC observes the pursuit of precise accuracy is a spurious and vain endeavour where the figures are in most cases derived from professional valuations and opinion and assets are not being sold anyway.”

For the full judgment and summary by Richard Tambling of 1 Garden Court, please click here.

 

SOURCE: Family Law Week

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