Prest v. Petrodel Resources Limited  UKSC 34 (Supreme Court)
Date of Case: 11 June 2013
Case Reference:  UKSC 34 (Supreme Court)
At first instance, Moylan J. found the husband’s assets to be worth c.£37.5m. He awarded the wife c.£17.5m and ordered the husband to transfer to the wife four properties and an interest in a fifth property all held in the name of Petrodel Resources Limited and two properties held in the name of V Petrodel Limited. The companies appealed on the basis that the properties were not property to which the Husband was “entitled” in accordance with the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 24(1)(a). The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal. The wife appealed. The Supreme Court allowed her appeal and restored Moylan J.’s order. The Supreme Court stated that there remains a very limited principle of English law which applies when a person is under an existing legal obligation or liability or subject to an existing legal restriction which he deliberately evades or whose enforcement he deliberately frustrates by interposing a company under his control. The court may then pierce the corporate veil for the purpose of depriving the company or its controller of the advantage that they would otherwise have obtained by the company’s separate legal personality. The Supreme Court stated that this would not apply in this case, but allowed the wife’s appeal on basis that the seven properties were held on trust for the husband, such that they were property to which he (rather than the companies) is “entitled” in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 24(1)(a).
Article on Law Teacher: https://www.lawteacher.net/cases/prest-v-petrodel-resources.php