financial remedy

Are you worth £7.5 million?

Hot on the heels of our post on the Certification of Complex Financial Remedy cases, Mr Justice Mostyn on the authority of the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby has issued a ‘Statement on the Efficient Conduct of Financial Remedy Hearings Allocated to a High Court Judge whether Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice or Elsewhere‘.

The statement sets out guidance for the process and procedure in financial remedy cases allocated to a High Court Judge. The guidance covers areas such as the criteria applicable for allocating such cases, the condiditons to be met and the method by which they are transferred. Within the guidance, there is an advisory threshold of £7.5 million in net assets involved for a case to satisfy the transfer to the High Court. The case has to be ‘exceptionally complex’.

Furthermore, emphasis is again placed upon Bundles, and FPR Practice Direction 27A a topic very dear to Munby J, whose Guidance on Bundles itself runs to 8 pages.

Within the Statement a self-certification Pro Forma is reproduced for those looking to transfer their case to a High Court Judge.

Principles of allocation

The main principles of allocation are set out in the Guidance. We have included links to interesting cases and our blogs as applicable to each. And for more details on certifying complex financial cases read our post here :

The governing principle is that a case should only be allocated for hearing by a High Court judge if it is exceptionally complex or there is another substantial ground for the case being heard at that level and that allocation to that level is proportionate. Such allocation is rarely likely to be proportionate unless the net assets exceed £7.5m.   

In determining whether the governing principle is satisfied the following are relevant considerations:  

(1) The overall net assets exceed £15m (Cooper-Hohn v Hohn [2014] EWHC 2314 (Fam)) ; and/or

(2) The overall net earned annual income exceeds £1m.  

In a case falling within (1) or (2) the governing principle will likely, but not necessarily, be satisfied. There will be some relatively straightforward cases falling within (1) or (2) where a transfer to High Court judge level will nevertheless not be proportionate.   

In a case not falling within (1) or (2) above but where the net assets are said to exceed £7.5m:   

(3) There is a serious case advanced of non-disclosure of assets (see Gohil and Sharland and our post here).  

(4) Substantial assets are held offshore either directly or through the medium of trust or corporate entities and there may be issues as to the enforceability of any award (Prest v Petrodel Resources Limited & Ors [2013] UKSC 34).

(5) Substantial assets are held in trusts which are said to be variable nuptial settlements (our post here).  

(6) Substantial assets are held through the medium of unquoted corporate entities and detailed expert valuation evidence will be required (our post here).  

(7) A serious, carefully considered and potentially influential argument is being advanced of  a. compensation, b. non-matrimonial  property, or c. conduct (our post here).

(8) There are serious, substantial third party claims to the assets otherwise subject to the dispositive powers of the court (e.g.bankruptcy Horton v Henry [2014] EWHC 4209 (Ch)).

(9) There is a serious, carefully considered and potentially influential issue as to the effect of a nuptial agreement (again, our post here).

(10)  The application involves a novel and important point of law (how about a Disney Princess?).

Where, on any view, the net assets do not exceed £7.5m allocation to a High Court Judge is only likely to be proportionate where the application involves a novel and important point of law.

Contact us

If you have any query in relation to financial remedy proceedings on divorce, or family law generally please get in touch with our specialist family lawyers here at Paradigm Family Law. Call us on 0845 6020422 or email us at [email protected].