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Petrodel v Prest: achieving fairness in matrimonial disputes through inferences and resulting trusts

The conduct of the husband in Prest v Petrodel was key to the case, says Ann Northover and Spencer Clarke

14 June 2013

The Supreme Court found unanimously in favour of Mrs Prest on 12 June 2013 in her long running divorce proceedings, which involved her husband and his Petrodel Group oil trading companies. This was a decision based on the very particular facts of the case, and made available to the wife various English properties held by the husband's companies in order to enable her to seek satisfaction of her £17.5m award. Enforcement of that sum is not covered in this article.

The matters before the Supreme Court did not concern quantum, rather technical issues concerning the interplay of corporate and family law rules, and once again, whether family lawyers had been finding a way around the "rules", to arrive at the right, and just, outcome in their view. There could not be a separate approach to the application of legal principles in different divisions of the High Court.

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