OG V AG [2020] EWFC 52 (29 July 2020)

This is an Ancillary Relief Judgment in which consideration was given to the value of assets in relation to a no-deal Brexit, Covid-19 and the setting up of a rival company by one of the parties.

The matter concerned cross financial applications made by the husband and wife, after 25 years of marriage.  During the marriage the parties had set up a business which was valued at around £12.8 million at the time of the final hearing.  The parties also had an extensive property portfolio in both joint, sole and their business names.  The husband subsequently resigned from the parties’ business and it was found that he was the owner of a rival company.  It was also found that funds from the sale of the parties’ properties from Dubai, had been ‘loaned’ from the husband to his new company.

Upon considering the matter, the issue of Brexit and Covid-19 were raised and what affect this would have on the value of the assets.  The wife argued that a 10% discount should be applied to the trading and surplus assets of the business.  The SJE, who valued the business, agreed that there should be a discount but did not provide a figure.  Mr Justice Mostyn subsequently applied a 10% discount but only to the trading value of the business.

In relation to the husband setting up a rival business, the wife argued that a discount of 40% should be applied.  The SJE advised a discount of 20 to 40%.  Mr Justice Mostyn applied a 30% discount, again only to the trading value.

In giving his Judgment, Mr Justice Mostyn considered the case of Miller v Miller [2006] UKHL 24 [2006] 2 AC 618, other relevant cases and the parties’ conduct throughout.  Mr Justice Mostyn considered that both parties were difficult and confrontational.  It was therefore ordered that the husband pay 90% of the wife’s costs (reduced as per the Judgment) on an Indemnity Basis for period 1, up to and including the PTR (£235,626).  In relation to period 2 (from the PTR to the final hearing), the husband was to pay 90% of half of the wife’s costs on an Indemnity Basis (£92,394), with a reduction of £50,000 due to the wife’s unreasonable behaviour.  The husband was therefore to pay £278,020 in respect of the wife’s costs.

In terms of a financial settlement, Mr Justice Mostyn considered that the case, apart from the issues above, was one that the equal sharing principle should apply.  The non-business and non-pension assets were divided 50/50 with the 30% reduction in value to the husband’s share.  The husband would therefore receive £7,316,094, which would be 44.7% of the total assets.  The departure of equality was £869,741, which was due to the husband setting up a rival business and his conduct during the proceedings.

The full judgement can be read here

If you have any questions regarding this summary case law please contact Claire Robson here

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