Separation and divorce

Financial issues following separation and divorce

Presenting matrimonial finances and valuing businesses

The firm has presented the parties financial position and valued private companies for the purposes of divorce proceedings on many occasions, including for UHNW and international parties. One of the firm’s expert witnesses acted in he landmark matrimonial case, Prest v Prest [2011] EWHC 2956 (Fam) (see below), a case where the Supreme Court subsequently provided guidance on piercing the corporate veil (Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] UKSC 34.)

 

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Prest v Prest [2011] EWHC 2956 (Fam)

The Judgment in the Family Court is not available in the public domain. However, in the Court of Appeal, in associated proceedings brought by some of the husband’s companies, Lord Justice Thorpe started his Judgment by describing the proceedings in the family courts in which our expert gave oral evidence as follows:

 

On 4th October 2011 Moylan J delivered judgment in the financial provision case of Prest, a truly extraordinary case even within the breadth and depth of family division bounds.

 

The following summary is taken from the first appeal proceedings:

 

Client

Mrs Prest, in her financial provision case for herself and the four children following divorce.

 

Respondent

Mr Prest, former husband, a Nigerian barrister as well as a prominent and successful businessman in international oil development and trade.

 

Context

Our expert was appointed by solicitors acting for the wife. She sought an overall award of £30.4 million. The husband proposed a package that amounted to a little over £2 million.

 

Outcome

The Court heard extensive evidence between 13 and 30 June 2011. Each party’s expert accountant gave expert evidence for a day each.

 

Matters Settled

The experts for both parties agreed that neither had received the information and documents that would enable them to make any worthwhile assessment or valuation. The Court awarded Mrs Prest client properties valued at £17.5 million.

 

Challenges

As is not uncommon in this type of litigation the husband had repeatedly flouted his duty to give full frank and clear disclosure of his finances. However, the two parties’ experts were able to agreed sufficient evidence that allowed the Court to made an award to Mrs Prest.

 

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