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11 APR 2008

PROPERTY: Re B (Criminal Justice Act 1988) [2008] EWHC 690 (Admin)

(Queen's Bench Division, Administrative Court; Cranston J; 11 April 2008)

Shortly before the husband pleaded guilty to excise fraud, and a confiscation order was made against him, the husband transferred his only asset, a half share in the matrimonial property, to the wife for no monetary value, the wife having remortgaged the property in her sole name. The wife had been the household breadwinner for some years, because of the husband's long-term illness, and had been unable to remortgage the property jointly with the husband because of the husband's debts.

The transfer of the husband's interest in the property had not been made to avoid the consequences of the husband's guilty plea and the resulting confiscation order; the evidence had established that the transfer had instead been an attempt to place the family finances in order, and had been recommended by the financial institutions advising the wife. However, the transfer had still been a gift to wife, and was accordingly available to pay the husband's confiscation order.

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