Michele Ann Hutchings Whelan -v- Paul Allan Hutchings [2012] EWCA Civ 38

Posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2012

The parties had married in 1980 and divorced in 2003, following which, ancillary relief proceedings had been compromised in 2004 by the W’s agreement to settle for a lump sum of £176,000. As a result of H’s apparent wealth, W became concerned that he had not made full and frank disclosure and applied to re-open the proceedings. The consent order was set aside. Following a 5 day hearing, the Judge found that H had deliberately not disclosed beneficial interests in a number of properties and awarded W an additional £384,000 together with costs. H appealed and was given leave to do so on limited issues, including costs. H’s appeals on the substantive issues were dismissed on grounds of the Judge’s findings as to his credibility, failure to provide evidence and conduct. Departing from the general rule under Rule 2.71(4) of the Family Proceedings Rules 1991 that no order to costs would be made, the Court found that:

“…looking the whole course of this litigation through the lens of the judge’s findings as to the husband’s conduct both generally and in the course of the litigation itself, I not only consider that an award of costs against the husband was palpably justified but regard such an order as being the almost inevitable consequence of the manner in which the husband had conducted himself.”

Appeal on costs dismissed.


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