HD v WB [2023] EWFC 213 January 2023

Published: 25/01/2023 09:00


Peel J. Financial remedy proceedings concerning the circumstances surrounding a PNA and the weight, if any, to be attached to it. Realisable assets almost entirely in W’s name exceeded £43m. H sought for the PNA to be completely disregarded as it was entered into in undue haste, with insufficient disclosure, and no legal advice. H argued he did not understand the PNA, and in any event, it did not meet his needs. W argued that the PNA should be upheld as it was willingly entered into and understood by H, and his needs could be fairly met upon realisation of his business interest. Liquidity of minority business interests in its context as a resource was considered; [34]–[38].

Peel J concluded that the PNA had been freely entered into by the parties with a full appreciation of its meaning and consequences. Financial disclosure was also in broad terms accurate, and W should not be prejudiced by H not having pursued lines of enquiry; [90]. Whilst H did not take formally take legal advice, he had ample opportunity to do so; [89]. Lack of legal advice was not considered a vitiating factor, or ‘fatal’ such that no weight could be attributed to the PNA; [45]. Although the PNA was found to be unvitiated, it was departed from on a needs basis.

In light of the PNA, a total needs-based award of £1.9m (4% of liquid wealth) was made. Housing provision for H was made on a reversionary basis (like Radmacher and Luckwell v Limata [2014] 2 FLR 168) rather than outright as in Ipecki v McConnell [2019] EWFC 19 and AH v PH [2013] EWHC 3873). H penalised in costs due to his approach to the PNA. Costs order of £120k to be netted off against his needs-based award, but this was deemed reasonable and proportionate as H could not be insulated from the consequences of litigation.

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