If you expect a court to find in your favour then it should be obvious that you will first have to obey the directions of the court, and conduct your case in a reasonable fashion.
Anyone who fails to do this should not be surprised that the judge will not be well disposed towards them.
This simple truth was clearly demonstrated in a recent case that took place in the High Court in London.
The case concerned an appeal by a husband against a financial remedies order which divided the assets as to 62% to the wife and 38% to the husband.
The husband put forward a number of grounds of appeal, essentially challenging the findings of the judge in the court below as to his means, and the finding that the wife needed more of the assets to rehouse herself (the judge found that the husband’s earning potential would enable him to rebuild his resources so as to buy a property).
Hearing the appeal, Mr Justice Peel noted that the judge in the court below had made a number of “trenchant findings” about the husband’s “litigation misconduct, non-disclosure and general dishonesty”, pointing out that when a party fails to make full disclosure of their means the court is entitled to draw adverse conclusions where appropriate.
Specifically, the judge had recorded that after the parties separated the husband withdrew some £530,000 from his business ventures, and that the lack of disclosure the husband had provided prevented clear identification of where that sum had gone.
Mr Justice Peel commented that it seemed that, even on the husband’s own case, he had extracted getting on for £400,000, which was used for his own purposes. That sum, he said, easily matched or exceeded the difference between the sum award to the wife and the sum awarded to the husband.
Mr Justice Peel concluded:
“In looking at the case in the round, I take the view that [the husband] has only himself to blame for the findings made against him. His deficient disclosure, and manipulative litigation conduct, inevitably exposed him to the sort of findings and evaluation undertaken by the judge.”
In the circumstances the husband’s appeal was dismissed.
The full judgment can be found here.
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