In Thursfield v Thursfield, the man’s marriage had come to an end while he was living in Michigan. When he did not comply with the agreed settlement, his former wife obtained a court judgement against him and also turned to the English courts. She was granted legal orders freezing assets and also ordering her former husband to disclose details of his finances.
The man did not supply the financial details until a very late stage, and the judge decided he was therefore in contempt of court, sentencing him to two years in jail.
The man appealed. He claimed the sentence was excessive and said the court should have taken his age and previous good character into account.
But sitting at the Court of Appeal, Lord Justices Lloyd, Jackson and Beatson were unimpressed. They concluded that the original judge had been justified in regarding the man’s failures to obey the court orders as serious and persistent. In such circumstances long sentences were required to set an example, they said.
Photo of court door by Elliott Brown via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence