Potanina v Potanin [2021] EWCA Civ 702, [2021] WLR(D) 279

Date of Case: 14 May 2021
Case Reference: [2021] EWCA Civ 702, [2021] WLR(D) 279

Stewart Leech QC appeared in this case on behalf of the respondent husband (who had a net worth of c.$20 billion). The Court of Appeal considered whether leave should be granted to allow the wife to make an application under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. 

The wife appealed against a 2019 order of Cohen J, where he set aside his own ex-parte order granting leave and on re-consideration of her application had refused to grant leave. The Court of Appeal considered the proper approach to an application for the grant of leave and subsequent applications to set aside ex-parte orders for leave. 

In King LJ’s view, there was no basis for the judge to conclude that he had not properly considered the legislative purpose of Part III: the alleviation of the adverse consequences of no, or no adequate, financial provision being made by a foreign court in a situation where there were substantial connections with England. The court was bound by the decisions in Agbaje v Agbaje [2010] UKSC 13 and in Traversa v Freddi [2011] EWCA Civ 81. Cohen J’s case management decision to have a two-day set aside hearing had been contrary to those decisions, and King LJ held that Cohen J should have conducted a “short, sharp application to set aside leave on the basis that there was a ‘knock-out blow’”, such as a decisive authority being overlooked or the court being misled.

David Richards and Moylan LJJ agreed. The wife’s appeal against the order setting aside leave for her to make an application for financial relief was therefore allowed.

Bailii report: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2021/702.html


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