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02 JUN 2009

Credit Crunch in the Court of Appeal: <i>Myerson v Myerson</i>

Matthew Brunsdon-Tully, Camini Kumar, Valentine Le Grice QC, Barristers, 1 Hare Court

On 11 March 2009, the 'credit crunch' case of Myerson v Myerson (No 2) [2009] EWCA Civ 282, [2009] 2 FLR (forthcoming), had its second outing in the Court of Appeal, this time in front of Thorpe, Smith and Sullivan LJJ. In the first appeal, Mr Myerson had successfully convinced the court (Lord Justice Thorpe being common to both constitutions) that Baron J, as the financial dispute resolution appointment (FDR) judge, was to have no further involvement in the case (Myerson v Myerson [2008] EWCA Civ 1376, [2009] 1 FLR 826). This time Mr Myerson sought to set aside the order, arrived at by consent following the FDR, on the basis that the dramatic depreciation in his assets caused by the global financial crisis amounted to a Barder event (see Barder v Caluori [1988] 1 AC 20), such that it rendered the order both unfair and unworkable.

The appeal aroused significant media interest as it was the first testing of the court's willingness to revisit settled agreements in light of the credit crunch. A favourable outcome for Mr Myerson, it was thought, would herald an influx of 'credit crunched' husbands seeking to review concluded settlements on the basis of unprecedented drops in the value of their investments. The court (perhaps predictably) signalled its disinclination to reopen existing ancillary relief orders and dismissed the appeal. However, their Lordships did not go so far as to rule out that a case brought as a result of the credit crunch might, in the appropriate circumstances, fall within Barder.

To read the rest of this article, see June [2009] Family Law journal.

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