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Accountancy firm criticised judge’s ruling in Scot Young divorce case

Lawyers at accountancy firm Grant Thornton wrote to a High Court judge to criticise his ruling in a high profile divorce case, it has been revealed.

The lawyers wrote to Mr Justice Moor following a judgement last November in which he awarded £20 million to Michelle Young, the estranged wife of property developer Scot Young.

The pair had been engaged in acrimonious divorce proceedings since their separation in 2006. Scot Young was imprisoned for contempt of court in January last year after failing to provide court-ordered financial details. He claims he is bankrupt and unable  to support his wife and children.

Details of the private Grant Thornton letter emerged during a recent costs application in the High Court, the Independent reports. The firm had been appointed to try and recover the some of Mr Young’s funds, the paper reports.

They said a ruling by the judge casting doubt on the existence of certain creditors could meant that Mrs Young would receive preferential treatment in the bankruptcy process.

“Mrs Young’s share of recoveries will be enhanced at the expense of her former husband’s other unsecured creditors,”  the letter claimed. “That is simply improper and wholly unjustifiable.”

The letter suggested that Mr Justice Moor  “either review, rescind or vary certain aspects of your judgment”.

It continued:

“We take the view that you have been permitted to reach conclusions and make orders in circumstances where, at the very least, you should have been alerted to the reasons why you ought not to have so concluded and ordered.”

Counsel for Mrs Young told the hearing that the letter was “quite extraordinary”, adding:

“I have never seen anything like it. They didn’t even apply to intervene during the family proceedings. This is a very strange case.”

According to the paper, the judge sent a “robust” response, which branded many of  Grant Thornton’s claims “simply wrong”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    GT were out of line – but there are many cases in which wives are given an undue preference and they should not be.

    It is particularly wrong that a lump sum is not released by discharge in bankruptcy like any other debt. Marriage is said to be a partnership and the corollary of that is that lump sums should be (1) proveable in bankruptcy (2) released on discharge but (3) postponed behind other creditors’ claims.

    If that is wrong, why is it wrong?

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