A husband who refused to comply with a court ordering him to pay his former wife £10,000 has won an appeal against imprisonment.
In the recently published case of Zuk v Zuk, the man had been ordered to pay the lump sum in financial remedy proceedings after the judge heard evidence that he had access to £37,000. A penal notice was attached to the order as the husband had made it clear that he did not intend to pay.
At a subsequent committal hearing, the man was sentenced to nine months imprisonment. He applied to have a finding of contempt of court set aside but this was refused. The husband successfully appealed.
Lord Justices Thorpe and Patten, along with Mr Justice David Richards, found that the Family Procedure Rules 2010 imposed a maximum sentence of six weeks for county court maintenance orders. The original judge had been wrong in believing she had jurisdiction to impose a sentence of nine months under the Contempt of Court Act 1981, they said.