Friday, August 24, 2007

A reasonable outcome

As a footnote to my previous post, the "modest award" granted to Mrs North by the Court of Appeal was periodical payments of £3000 per annum.

The first question that may be asked is: why should she get anything? Well, the Court of Appeal took the view that her circumstances were not entirely of her own making - she sustained substantial losses to her investments which Lord Justice Thorpe "characterised as misfortune rather than mismanagement" - and the nominal maintenance order made previously was clearly intended as a 'safety net'. As her need was "self evident", there should be an upward variation in the nominal order. As Mr North was a "rich man", "modest further financial support for his former wife would have minimal impact on his economy".

Why then only £3000 per annum, far less than her needs, as determined by the Principal Registry? Well, this is where Mrs North's extravagant lifestyle counted against her. As the Court stated: "She has largely made her own bed and must expect to lie in it", or to put it another way, why should Mr North be entirely responsible?

The Court anticipated that the parties would agree a capitalisation of the maintenance, so that Mrs North's outstanding claims could be dismissed.

It seems to me that this was an entirely reasonable and logical outcome, despite the media outcry. The full report can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm tempted to agree with a previous commentator that the judiciary are mad. Sure £3k is not much in view of the husbands assets - but on the other hand why should he pay *anything*.

    I think your previous point is right: there is a mishmash of principle and conflicting judgments that need statutory tidying up.

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