Brockwell v Brockwell: CA 5 Nov 1975

Ormrod LJ said: ‘But it must be a matter entirely for the judge to look at all the facts and the financial situation of each party and taking into account the fact that they made this agreement which to my mind is a very important piece of conduct under section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 because what the court is required to arrive at eventually is such an order as will be just and practicable having regard, among other things, to the conduct of the parties, and clearly when people make an agreement like this it is a very important factor in considering what is the just outcome of the proceedings . . what they themselves felt to be fair at the time when they made the agreement and that is as good a guide to justice perhaps as anything.’ and ‘To decide what weight should be given, in order to reach a just result, to a prior agreement not to claim a lump sum, regard must be had to the conduct of both parties, leading up to the prior agreement, and to their subsequent conduct, in consequence of it. It is not necessary in this connection to think in formal legal terms, such as misrepresentation or estoppel; all the circumstances as they affect each of two human beings must be considered in the complex relationship of marriage. So, the circumstances surrounding the making of the agreement are relevant. Undue pressure by one side, exploitation of a dominant position to secure an unreasonable advantage, inadequate knowledge, possibly bad legal advice, an important change of circumstances, unforeseen or overlooked at the time of making the agreement, are all relevant to the question of justice between the parties. Important too is the general proposition that formal agreements, properly and fairly arrived at with competent legal advice, should not be displaced unless there are good and substantial grounds for concluding that an injustice will be done by holding the parties to the terms of their agreement. There may well be other considerations which affect the justice of this case; the above list is not intended to be an exclusive catalogue.’
Stamp LJ, after citing Wright v Wright, said: ‘Nevertheless, the wife ought, in my judgment, to have the opportunity of showing that in all the circumstances, and notwithstanding the agreement, the court should exercise in her favour this discretion to award her some lump sum payment.’


Ormrod LJ, Stamp LJ


[1975] CAT 75/468, Unreported, 5 November 1975


Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 25


CitedWright v Wright 1970
In the course of a settlement of divorce proceedings, a wife agreed to withdraw her claim for maintenance. She sought to re-open it.
Held: the principle of Hyman v. Hyman applied, notwithstanding that the agreement between the parties had been . .

Cited by:

CitedEdgar v Edgar CA 23-Jul-1980
H and W separated and in 1976, without any pressure H and at the instigation of W, signed a deed of separation negotiated through solicitors. H agreed to purchase a house for W, to confer on her capital benefits worth approximately andpound;100,000, . .
CitedS v S FD 14-Jan-2014
The court was asked to approve a settlement reached under the IFLA arbitration scheme.
Held: The order was approved, but the court took the opportunity to give guidance. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.519964