NEWS

June 22, 2017

Should matrimonial assets always be shared between the parties on an equal basis?

What about when the case involves a ‘short marriage’?

The Court of Appeal has recently handed down judgment in the case of Sharp v Sharp [2017] EWCA Civ 408. The lead judgment is by Lord Justice McFarlane who describes the issue to be grappled with as follows:

‘In White v White [2001] 1 AC 596 (‘White’) the House of Lords established what has become a principle that the matrimonial assets of a divorcing couple should normally be shared between them on an equal basis. The present appeal requires this court to consider whether that is inevitably the case where the marriage has been short, there are no children, the couple have both worked and maintained separate finances, and where one of them has been paid very substantial bonuses during their time together. Although the possibility of a relaxation of the sharing principle in such circumstances has been described in earlier cases, this is the first occasion that the point has arisen directly for determination at Court of Appeal level since White and Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane [2006] UKHL 24; [2006] 2 AC 618 (‘Miller’).’ (see paragraph 1)

The wife was a trader and the husband worked in IT. They initially both had basic salaries of around £100,000pa, but the wife received annual bonuses of around £10 million pounds during the marriage. The marriage lasted for around 6 years, including 18 months of pre-marital cohabitation.

McFarlane LJ considers in depth the relevant legal cases, which is outside the scope of this news article.

McFarlane LJ was clear at paragraph 75 that:
‘Nothing that is said in this judgment is intended in any manner to unsettle the clear understanding that has been reached post-White on the approach that is to be taken to the vast majority of cases. The focus of the present appeal, which is very narrow, is upon whether there is a fringe of cases that may lie outside the equal sharing principle.’

However, the court held that in a case such as this:

‘…fairness may require a reduction from a full 50% share or the exclusion of some property from the 50% calculation.’ (see paragraph 97)

The court limited the husband’s total share to £2 million from a total pot found to be £6.9 million at first instance, but excluded the wife’s liquid capital from being part of the matrimonial assets for equal sharing. The husband received one half of the capital value of the two properties (his share was £1.3 million) and was provided with an additional award amounting to £700,000 to reflect a combination of the following 3 factors:
‘(a) the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage; (b) the need for a modest capital fund in order to live in the property that he is to retain; and (c) some share in the assets held by the wife’ (see paragraph 114)

In the writer’s opinion, this case is likely to add to, rather than settle, the on-going discussion about the applicability of cases such as White and Miller to the division of matrimonial assets between the parties in ‘short marriage’ cases.

If you have a case that you would like help with then please use our easy to use ‘enquiry form’ which can be found here.

Further reading:

White v White [2001] 1 AC 596
(http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/2000/54.html)

Miller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane [2006] UKHL 24; [2006] 2 AC 618
(http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/2006/24.html)

Sharp v Sharp [2017] EWCA Civ 408 (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2017/408.html)

Daniel Miller has been a practising family barrister since 2005.

He practises in all areas of family law, with a focus on financial remedy cases. He has had extensive exposure to financial remedy cases at all levels, which frequently involve disputed company assets, international issues, and trusts. He accepts work both under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

May 2, 2017

“Freemen-of-the-land” – Go Directly to Jail (Do Not Pass Go)!

Desperate times can sometimes call for desperate measures. It is therefore not difficult to see why the suggestion that you are not bound by legislation or commercial law may be attractive to someone who has mounting debt problems or is facing eviction from their home. This is essentially what is promised by various groups of people whose theories are all based around the ‘freemen of the land’ movement in North America.

The general claim is that there is a big state conspiracy – between the government, judges, civil servants, lawyers etc – to take away citizens ‘common law rights’. This all starts from the moment your parents registered your birth. Freemen see the birth certificate as a contractual document with the state signing over the legal title of the baby. The suggestion is that there is a distinction between you as a man or woman – John, of the Family Smith – and Mr John Smith who is the legal entity owned by the state.

The suggestion is that if you do not consent to being bound by the law then you will not be bound. This way official demands for payment of fines, to appear in court etc can simply be declined. By following various freeman rituals – e.g. asking the Judge if he or she is on their “oath” / refusing to enter the Court room unless the Judge agrees that your god given rights are intact / producing a birth certificate to be the respondent rather than the man/woman themselves – then the Court will have no jurisdiction over you and the Claim will be dismissed. It sounds like a wonderfully simple way to make all of your problems go away.

The problem is that it is, put simply, nonsense.

In the 2012 case of Meads v. Meads, a Canadian Judge forensically deconstructed and dismissed freemen-style arguments in a detailed 192 page judgment. This is a long read, but essential if you have any doubt that what the Freemen are peddling is anything other than nonsense.

The real problem is that not only will the Freemen arguments not magically make everything better – they may in fact land you in contempt of court – facing imprisonment or at the very least a substantial fine.

For example, in 2015 at Sandwell Magistrates’ Court, an uninsured driver was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment for contempt of court after claiming to be a Freeman-of-the-Land and therefore outside of the jurisdiction of the Court.

Unfortunately, there are no magic cures or silver bullets when it comes to legal problems. There is no substitute for taking early legal advice from a trained professional and being represented by someone who can fight your corner in accordance with the legitimate laws of this land.

Further reading:

Meads v Meads 2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII) https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abqb/doc/2012/2012abqb571/2012abqb571.html

https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2012/09/30/freemen-of-the-land-are-parasites-peddling-pseudolegal-nonsense-canadian-judge-fights-back/

https://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2011/11/15/freemen-of-the-dangerous-nonsense/

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/freeman-land-driver-jailed-contempt-10253089

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-12668444

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36499750

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/crime/norfolk-tax-dodger-arrested-after-writing-to-queen-1-745681

April 27, 2017

How to get Title registers and Title plans from the Land Registry

Neighbour disputes

How to get Title registers and Title plans from the Land Registry

In a dispute with a neighbour about a boundary or a right of way you need to look at up-to-date “titles” of your properties. These are the official records of ownership held by the Land Registry. How do you get them? It is easy, as Paul Ashwell explains in this step-by-step guide.

1. Go to

https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0C7IdFQG9k5Tz/?_ga=1.176165473.579252199.1490351291

2. Enter property name and post code

3. Click Search

4. Select Buy Title register and Title plan

5. Click Purchase

6. Click Create Account link

7. Click Agree [terms]

8. Enter name details,  address details, contact details and Login details.

9. Click Create Account

10. Click on link in activation e-mail

11. Return to Buy Documents page

12. Click Checkout

13. Select Payment Page

14. Enter Card details and Cardholders details

15. Click Make Payment

16. Click Continue

17. On Download documents Select documents and click

18 Click Save

19. Click View downloads

20. Open title documents

 

July 8, 2016
£11 million Ferrari dispute resolved

£11 million Ferrari dispute resolved

 

Simon Sinnatt and David Lewis-Hall represented a car collector in dispute over £11million 1954 classic Ferrari.

Simon and David were instructed to represent renowned car collector Mr Christopher Gardner at the 3 week trial in the Commercial Court set to start on the 18th April 2016.  The case concerned the purchase of a 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus by American billionaire Mr Les Wexner at an auction held by Bonhams at the June 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The car is one of only four of its type which remain in existence.

The car was previously owned by Mr Karl Kleve, an Ohio car collector, but the chassis was stolen from him in 1989 and found its way to Belgium. Mr Jacques Swaters bought the chassis in 1990 and restored the car to its former glory.  A title dispute arose between Mr Kleve and Mr Swaters, which was continued by their respective heirs.  Mr Gardner subsequently became involved in the dispute.

The car found its way to the Bonhams auction as a result of a purported settlement agreement between the parties fighting over ownership of the car.  Mr Wexner sought to rescind his contracts with Bonhams and the sellers, alleging that he had been misled.

A number of different claims were issued and joined together, resulting in proceedings involving 8 parties and a trial bundle running to over 60 lever arch files, to determine the fate of the car and destination of the proceeds of sale.

Simon and David were instructed as Public Access Barristers representing Mr Gardner in the negotiations between the parties who were represented by leading firms of solicitors Jones Day and Mischon de Reya and magic circle Chambers Brick Court and Blackstone.  Settlement of all claims was achieved.

Read news article here.

 

March 17, 2016

Clients who have switched to using a Direct Access barrister share their experiences of the benefits of going straight to a barrister. Here, Paul Himple, Managing Director, Go-Legal-HR Limited, shares his experience.

March 17, 2016

Clients who have switched to using a Direct Access barrister share their experiences of the benefits of going straight to a barrister. Here, Susie Mercer, Director, Romsey World of Water, shares her experience.

March 17, 2016

Clients who have switched to using a Direct Access barrister share their experiences of the benefits of going straight to a barrister. Here, Nic Allen, Director Avon Estates Ltd, shares his experience.

March 17, 2016

Small business owners can benefit from using a Direct Access barrister for legal support. Here, Joe Leach, Owner, Cowshed Recording Studio, shares his experience.

 

 
June 16, 2015

Paul Ashwell persuades judge to give landlord possession of a mobile home

A landlord let a mobile home on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. He got into difficulty with the formalities of a claim for possession. Paul Ashwell persuaded the judge that the tenants had suffered no disadvantage and possession was ordered.

June 12, 2015

Bruce Tregoning successfully persuades Judge to accept continuation of Court proceedings brought by a father contrary to child’s best interests

Bruce Tregoning acted in a difficult case where he successfully persuaded the Judge to accept that the continuation of proceedings was contrary to the child’s best interests despite a CAFCASS Officer’s report that recommended an assessment by a child and adolescent psychiatrist was required. The Court also found the continuation of proceedings was contrary to the child’s best interests in circumstances where the Father was contesting matters but had failed to attend Court at the final hearing despite being given notice and the Final Hearing being delayed.

June 11, 2015

Matthew Heywood makes successful argument on Appeal ensuring client keeps his driving Licence

A Barrister for me client was charged with speeding and was at risk of losing his license due to the amount of points on it. However, he denied ever receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution which eventually was fatal to the prosecution case. Matthew Heywood successfully argued on appeal that s.1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act applied and the conviction should be quashed. The Crown Court allowed the appeal and the conviction was quashed and the client kept his driving license.

June 11, 2015

Matthew Heywood successful in a legal argument ensuring client keeps his driving licence

A barrister for me client was allegedly caught using a mobile phone whilst driving and risked losing his license. Matthew Heywood was successful in a legal argument which resulted in the court dismissing the charge. The client was awarded his costs.

May 19, 2015

Exceptional hardship successfully argued

Christine Henson successfully argued exceptional hardship for motorcyclist speeding 94 in 70mph zone including roadwork restrictions of 40mph. Due to other points on his license would have been automatically disqualified unless he proved exceptional hardship. He has kept his license.

May 19, 2015

Timothy Bergin assists father achieve Parental Responsibility

Case was listed for a fact-finding in respect of cross allegations of domestic violence Timothy Bergin acted for a father. The mother was opposed to parental responsibility and direct contact. On basis of limited admissions made by father, the Court were content not to proceed with fact finding hearing The Court  Ordered parental responsibility to the father and direct contact once father had engaged onto the Living Without Violence Programme.

May 14, 2015

Christopher Rice obtains family law act injunction and occupation order

Family law act injunction and occupation order. Issued by client in person with support from Worth Domestic Violence project – client not eligible for public funding.  Husband was unpleasant controlling man. Two children, one with significant needs. Anticipated fully contested case. A compromise was reached which allowed the wife to return to the family matrimonial home allowing the husband some time to vacate.

May 14, 2015

Paul Ashwell advises in Company dispute

An entrepreneur sold his shares in a media company with instalments of the seven figure purchase price being paid over a number of years. There was a dispute about the tax treatment by the company of payment of instalments, the calculation of the balance in his director’s loan account and the conduct of the company pending the final payment. Both company law and tax expertise were needed. The way forward was resolved in a round table meeting with the barrister, a forensic account whom chambers had recommended and the entrepreneur’s legal advisor from abroad.

March 2, 2015

Richard Ager and Clare Ciborowska appointed as Associates of the University of Sussex

In recognition of their contributions to the training and education of social workers we are pleased to announce that Richard Ager and Clare Ciborowska of Barrister For Me have been appointed Associates of the School of Social Work and Social Care at the University of Sussex. This builds on our many links with the University and reflects the valuable input made by these barristers in these fast changing and demanding times.

March 1, 2015

Ghulam Hussain: Rest in Peace

With great sadness we announce that Ghulam Hussain died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack on Friday, 13 February.

His funeral took place at a mosque in Leeds on Sunday 15 February and his colleagues at Barrister For Me have expressed their sincere condolences to his wife, Rachel. An informal gathering was held at Chambers in memory of a much loved friend and colleague with the intention that a more formal memorial event will be held later for all who knew him and worked with him to pay their respects.

February 28, 2015

Anita Mehta writes the article: Schedule 1 to The Children Act 1989: Not Just for Wags

Family Law barrister Anita Mehta, a member of Barrister For Me, recently had an article published in Family Law Week arguing that Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 applications should not be regarded solely as the domain of footballers’ girlfriends or the extremely wealthy but as an influential tool for meeting children’s needs in a wide variety of cases.

Click here to read the article.