L v L [2021] EWFC B835 November 2021

Published: 25/02/2022 09:00


HHJ Booth.

Equal sharing of a combined c.£24m interest in a business acquired from H’s father prior to the 19-year marriage held to apply. H’s shareholding was restructured 3 years prior to separation. The character of this restructuring, which had provided H and W with equal and diminishing interests in the business with the balance held on trust for their children (see [10]--[12]), proved decisive in HHJ Booth’s decision.

H’s arguments that (a) the value of his shareholding at the start of the marriage (adjusted to reflect passive growth and latent potential) should be taken into account at the computation stage and (b) in any event, his unmatched contribution should be reflected in a departure from equality on distribution were rejected. So too was his proposal that W’s award, to be paid via the company purchasing her shares, be paid in stages. HHJ Booth considered that the company will have to borrow or sell assets to meet the cost.

Also of note is the conclusion that H’s refusal to allow W to access joint funds to finance the litigation, resulting in her obtaining a litigation loan, amounted to litigation misconduct. H was ordered to meet the costs of the loan.

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