Petrodel vs. Prest: An Open Road and a Fast Car

Late last week the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in Petrodel Resources Ltd & Ors v Prest & Ors. The case may have been of only passing interest to most lawyers, but for family law specialists it is an extremely troubling development.

The Petrodel case involved an appeal by three companies against financial orders that had been made against them in divorce proceedings litigated between their principal (perhaps only) shareholder and his wife.

The trial Judge had found that throughout the case the husband had been deliberately evasive, undertaking various manoeuvres and strategies to avoid providing full and frank disclosure of his finances in a barely disguised attempt to avoid the wife's claims. The Judge awarded the wife £17.5M of the husband's fortune, ordering that properties held by the companies should be transferred to her to meet the award.

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