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(Court of Appeal; Laws, Jacob and Wilson LJJ; 13 May 2011)
The wife was very wealthy (c £58.8m gross by date of trial; c £28.3m at date of separation) by virtue of pre-marriage inheritances. Nonetheless she lived extremely modestly throughout her 21 years of marriage. Recently the family was spending about £79,000 per annum.
Held that where the assets were entirely non-matrimonial and neither party had worked, the award to the husband of 9.3% of the assets (£5.3m) was not unacceptably discriminatory. The importance of the source of the assets may diminish over time depending on the circumstances, but here the assets had always been ring-fenced. ‘Special contribution' is a term of art which does not apply to a contribution of non-matrimonial property. The husband's appeal was dismissed. The judgment would be anonymised to protect the normality of the children's lives.
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