What can we learn from Sharland?
Last year the case of Sharland was reported which is a cautionary tale for husbands and wives. In that case Mr Sharland owned a company and at the final hearing he told the court that there was no stock market flotation on the cards. The parties reached an agreement in the course of the final hearing day which was approved by the court.
Mrs Sharland then found out that detailed planning for an IPO had been going on behind the scenes since a year before the final hearing. She therefore applied to set aside the court order on the basis that Mr Sharland had misled the court and made a material non‑disclosure.
The court agreed with Mrs Sharland but did not find that it was a disclosure that would have affected the level of the settlement Mrs Sharland would have received. The order was sealed and in February 2014 Mrs Sharland received notification that her appeal had failed and the original order therefore stands.
Does that give scope to our business clients to mislead the court and fail in their duty to make full disclosure? The more pertinent question is had Mr Sharland produced the relevant documentation at the correct time to show what his plans for the IPO were, would the outcome have been any different? According to the higher courts, no it would not but what is absolutely certain is that Mr & Mrs Sharland, because of the way Mr Sharland conducted himself in the proceedings and particularly in connection with disclosure, have racked up significant additional costs and they have been embroiled in litigation for a further extended period.
The Family team at Rollits has particular expertise in dealing with high net worth individuals and we can assist our business clients in the protection of their assets and guide them through financial proceedings following on from separation or divorce.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.