Family Law Titles
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(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Rafferty, Kitchin, 22 May 2013)
Following divorce the wife was awarded a lump sum of £5.7m. When the husband failed to make payment the wife brought enforcement proceedings. When the district judge made an order for payment the husband failed to comply and the wife issued a general application for enforcement. The husband was ordered to file a fully completed Form E and a narrative sworn statement. Thereafter the wife issued a judgment summons under the Debtors Act 1869 and a committal application asserting that the information provided by the husband put him in breach of the district judge's order.
The wife's attempt to rely on evidence provided by the husband was rejected on the ground that it had been given under compulsion. The wife appealed and in the absence of the husband, an advocate was appointed.
The husband had no assets in the jurisdiction and therefore it was clear that none of the five available remedies under a general application would be available. However, the wife's strategic manoeuvre to issue a general application prior to the judgment summons could not be used as a device to achieve disclosure in the Debtor's Act application. The judge was wrong not to distinguish this case from R v K  EWCA Crim 1640,  1 FLR 807. The appeal was allowed in part. The judge had been wrong to exclude the documents from consideration but correct in excluding the husband's statement.
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