In the case of Independent Trustee Services Ltd v GP Noble Trustees Ltd and others , The Court of Appeal ruled that a wife could not use a defence of being an innocent party when receiving a sum in ancillary relief proceedings as she had successfully applied to have the order set aside.
The husband and wife and been through ancillary relief proceedings and a minutes of order had been signed. The following year the wife successfully applied to have the order set aside. Her application for ancillary relief was to be reheard on the grounds that her husband had not made a full disclosure of his assets.
It had been discovered that her ex-husband was a fraudster and had illegally gained £52m from pension funds.
The trustee company, the claimant in this case, obtained a judgment against the husband for £52m plus interest. The husband was also held liable to account for £4.9m which he had knowingly received. The claimant also sought to recover £1.4m from the wife.
The appeal heard arguments as to whether the wife had a defence against the Trustees claim for the £1.4m.
As the wife had the order set aside she was no longer able to use the defence that she was an innocent party without notice of any other party’s claims to the property (bona fide purchaser for value without notice). Had the order not been set aside she would have been able to use this as a defence. The Trustees appeal was therefore allowed.