ANCILLARY RELIEF: M v M (Third Party Subpoena: Financial Conduct) [2006] FLR (forthcoming)

31 MAR 2006

(Family Division; Mr Peter Hughes QC sitting as a deputy High Court judge; 31 March 2006)

Although in relation to risky business decisions the wife had to take the rough with the smooth, the husband's gambling and financial conduct in the proceedings, including the flagrant breach of his undertaking not to gamble, and his decision to cease (a) maintaining the wife, (b) meeting the outgoings on the former matrimonial home and (c) paying certain mortgages, notwithstanding the order requiring him to do so, while at the same time paying substantial sums to his mistress, constituted conduct which it would be inequitable to disregard. In dividing the major asset of the parties in the wife's favour, the court was taking that conduct into account. In the course of the proceedings the court had given the wife permission to serve a subpoena duces tecum against the husband's mistress. In doing so the relevant factors included: the importance of the information to the issues; the wife's efforts to take all reasonable steps to elicit the relevant information within the proceedings from the husband, the inadequacy of drawing adverse inferences in this case, the close relationship between the husband and the mistress, and the ability to protect private information by editing of the documents.

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