A Family Court judge has criticised a man for failing to disclose “significant resources” during his divorce.
In ABC v PM & Another, a firm of solicitors who represented the husband appealed an order to pay the wife’s legal costs of £8,000.
The man had a previous career as a banker in the United States before he was ordained as an Anglican bishop. His former wife was a teacher who used to work as an NHS business manager. The couple married in 1983 and had two children who are now adults. Despite surviving some marital difficulties in the 1990s, the couple finally separated in late 2010.
During their divorce proceedings, it became apparent that the husband had “hundreds of thousands of pounds in offshore accounts/investments” and other assets which he had not disclosed.
Judge Richard Robinson ordered that he transfer ownership of the £825,000 family home to his wife. He also ruled that the husband should transfer some of his other properties to her. Additionally, the husband’s solicitors were ordered to pay his wife’s legal costs.
The firm claimed that the wife’s costs should be paid by her selling the family home. Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Justice Moor summarised the prior facts of the case, and described the bishop’s failure to disclose all of his assets as “lamentable”.
Turning to the solicitors’ claim, the judge said it would be “extremely rare for a court to permit the costs to be secured by a charge over the very asset that is the subject of the dispute”. With that in mind, he dismissed their appeal.
To read the full judgment, click here.