TYB v CAR (Non-Disclosure) [2023] EWFC 261 (B)16 December 2023

Published: 26/02/2024 11:13


DDJ Hodson. What does the court do with the non-discloser? Final hearing involving a short marriage with a child almost four. This was a needs case. H admitted earnings of £60,000 pcm, spending at least £35,000 pcm in luxury entertainment and lifestyle. By the final hearing, he asserted no capital, no business, and only an income of £5,000 pcm (£4,000 pcm gross of US tax). W sought £550,000 capital for housing and £60,000 pa for herself and child. H was reminded of his duty to provide full and frank disclosure, which included explaining the significant changes in his capital position post-separation and the reasons for this. Orders were also repeatedly made with directions that he provide disclosure. Still, H’s disclosure remained inadequate and almost contemptuous of the obligations of the Family Court. The court only had his assertions that things had changed.

Held, the judge adjourned the final hearing part-heard as there was insufficient information about H’s capital and income position and the court needed reliable information. There was a concern that in proceeding it might give rise to a real risk of injustice and unfairness. The judgment outlines the instances and difficulties with H’s disclosure, in part for follow-up action by H and to give useful insights into the judicial process. There are useful observations about Form Es and the assets to be disclosed on the form, what constitutes a bank account, and disclosure obligations. Directions were given for H to address the non-disclosure. If H failed to provide the information, the judge indicated that he would be prepared to entertain an on-notice application for third party disclosure orders. The final hearing would be resumed, and the court would make an order based on the information provided, what should have been provided and what had not, and make any inferences accordingly.

The costs of the final hearing were reserved in part due to the hearing being part-heard. There were three reserved costs orders that were considered appropriate due to H’s wilful non-disclosure, non-compliance of orders and requirements of the disclosure provisions in financial remedy proceedings. H’s actions put W and her advisors to even more work. It is a reminder that costs will follow from non-compliance, and that this applies as much to unrepresented parties as to represented parties.

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