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 the 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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Case Study – UHNW Divorce – 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:


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 team were appointed by solicitors acting for 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.



Challenges

The husband had repeatedly flouted his duty to give full, frank and clear disclosure of his finances. The two expert accountants’ evidence were able to agreed that neither had received the information and documents that would enable them to make any worthwhile assessment or valuation of the husband’s net worth or income. They each presented their best understanding of the financial position and gave expert evidence in court for a day each.



Lessons learnt

This was a truly extraordinary case even within the breadth and depth of family division bounds, partly because of the lack of full disclosure, but also the parties’ willingness to pursue their case as far as the Supreme Court. That court addressed the question of whether family proceedings could breach the corporate veil.




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Charles has given evidence in many reported cases. For further details about his reported cases, click here.







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