ANCILLARY RELIEF: Charman v Charman [2006] EWHC 1879 (Fam)

24 JUL 2006

(Family Division; Coleridge J; 23 July 2006)

Following a long marriage, in which both parties started with nothing and in which both played their full part in the marriage, wholly exceptionally, the wealth created was of extraordinary proportions from extraordinary talent and energy. Taking everything properly into account the judge awarded the wife about £48m, just under 37% of the total. In cases involving extraordinary energy, extraordinary entrepreneurial or other wealth generating skill, combined with sheer size of fortune, a tariff of percentage bands which decreased as the size of these extraordinary fortunes increased might prove to be a helpful guidance and, ultimately, no less fair than the current expensive uncertainty. Even if the husband had satisfied the court that the trust structure had been intended to benefit unborn relations, it would have been wrong for the court to have ignored the trust assets. At the end of a marriage of this length it would be grotesquely unfair for a spouse to be excluded from benefit by such an informal arrangement, even if consensual and created at a time when the marriage was sound.

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