FRB v DCA (No 4) [2021] 4 WLR 32 (Cohen J)

Date of Case: 19 January 2021
Case Reference: [2021] 4 WLR 32 

Stewart Leech QC and Daniel Bentham acted for the wife in this hearing which dealt with cross-applications by the parties, with the husband applying to vary the original order in the financial remedy proceedings and the wife applying for an increase in the periodical payments and to the interest rate to be applied (arising from the husband’s failure to transfer a property or pay instalments of a lump sum as ordered). 

The court found that the husband had failed to provide any real evidence about how the pandemic had impacted him or his wealth specifically, and dismissed his application. It was ordered that the interest now accruing on the overdue lump sum instalments was, forthwith, to be added to the periodical payments currently paid to the wife each month. 

The court held that although it is established that a lump sum by instalments cannot be enforced until decree absolute has been granted, that does not mean that it cannot be paid beforehand. Similarly, interest can run from the date of the original order, as provided for by section 23(6) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, irrespective of whether the payment was enforceable. 

The effect of the court’s order as finally worded was simply to enable the wife to receive that which she would now receive in any event at an earlier stage than would otherwise be the case in circumstances which arose from the husband’s failure to pay the lump sum. The court held that it was fair that the wife be compensated now in this way for the delay in her accessing her money, but the total periodical payment she was to receive each month was to be recalculated in light of the addition of this new sum.

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