Posted by Patrick Hart, Partner
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Wife granted permission to appeal divorce agreement at Supreme Court
The former wife of a businessman, who claims her husband failed to properly disclose the extent of his fortune, has won the right to take her case to the Supreme Court.
Alison Sharland has been granted permission to appeal a decision made at the Court of Appeal at the Supreme Court in June next year, after it was found that her husband misled both her and the High Court over the value of his company.
After 17 years of marriage Alison and Charles Sharland divorced and came to an initial agreement, whereby Mrs Sharland would receive £10.355m of cash and properties and Mr Sharland would have £5.64m of cash.
Under the agreement, approved by High Court Judge Sir Hugh Bennett, Mr Sharland would also retain a significantly larger proportion of the profit received on sale of the shares in his company, which had been valued in the proceedings at between £31.5m and £47.25m.
However it quickly emerged before the order was sealed that his company might be worth significantly more, after an initial public offering.
Following the revelation Mrs Sharland hoped to set aside the divorce agreement that had been approved by Mr Justice Bennett in the High Court.
But despite Mr Justice Bennett finding that Mr Sharland had knowingly concealed information from his wife and had lied to the court, he decided to uphold the agreement because he said the court would not have made a substantially different order from the agreement that the parties had already reached.
Mrs Sharland then took the case up with the Court of Appeal. During the hearing two of the three judges upheld Mr Justice Bennett’s decision, saying that Mr Sharland’s dishonesty was not ‘material’ to the outcome of the case.
The Supreme Court will now need to consider whether the original decision was unjust due to Mr Sharland’s misrepresentation.
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