CRIMINAL LAW/ANCILLARY RELIEF: Crown Prosecution Service v Richards [2006] EWCA Civ 849

27 JUN 2006

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Moses and Hedley LJJ; 27 June 2006)

Where matrimonial assets were tainted and subject to confiscation, they should not ordinarily, as a matter of justice and public policy, be distributed. That was not to say that the court considering an application for financial provision under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 was deprived of jurisdiction by the existence of a confiscation order, nor to say that in no circumstances would an order distributing such assets be justified. However, the judge had been in error in thinking that the requirement to conduct a balancing exercise meant that in every case all factors were relevant. In a case such as this the knowledge of the wife, throughout her married life, that the lifestyle and the assets she enjoyed were derived from drug trafficking was dispositive.

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