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(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Rimer, Black LJJ, 31 May 2012)
In financial proceedings following divorce the parties' forensic accountants agreed on a valuation of the matrimonial assets and the parties agreed to share those assets equally. The wife sought a number of privately owned properties and a lump sum of £322,000. She also alleged litigation misconduct by the husband. The judge ordered husband to pay the wife £500,000 taking into account the litigation misconduct allegations. The husband appealed.
The judge had been justified in awarding the wife all of the liquid assets but had fallen into error in combining a wasted costs payment with the lump sum. The orthodox method was to assess the lump sum in accordance with s 25 of the MCA 1973 and then to make a distinct costs order. The wife was awarded £322,000 and an order that the husband pay the wife's costs she had unnecessarily incurred, to be assessed by the trial judge.
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