The Court of Appeal has ruled in the first substantial case concerning a financial settlement following the end of a civil partnership (Lawrence v Gallagher ).
The couples’ assets included various properties that they had bought, invested in and sold both before, and during, their partnership. The respondent asked for 45% of their assets. The appellant argued that his initial property was not a partnership asset and should therefore be excluded from the sharing approach. He also contested that their relationship should be classed as a dual career relationship.
The judge in the first hearing broadly agreed with the respondent and awarded him a 42% share of the assets.
The appellant successfully appealed and the share of the assets was reduced to 31%. The appeal judges ruled that the initial ruling, whilst trying to arrive at a fair outcome, had relied too heavily on theoretical outcomes on certain property values and the individuals’ earnings and bonuses.
The fact that the claim arose from the dissolution of a civil partnership rather than a marriage was of little significance as the language in the relevant Acts of law are identical.