de Lasala v de Lasala: PC 4 Apr 1979

No Revisiting of Capital Claim after Compromise

(Hong Kong) Where capital claims are compromised in a once-for-all court order they cannot be revisited or reissued in the absence of a substantial mistake. Capital orders are ‘once-for-all orders’. The legal effect of the order derives not from the consent of the parties but from the making of the order by the court. Lord Diplock said: ‘The [Hong Kong] Ordinance and corresponding English legislation recognised two separate ways in which financial provision may lawfully be made for parties to a marriage which has been dissolved. One is by a maintenance agreement entered into between the parties without the intervention of the court; the other is by one party obtaining a court order against the other for periodical payments or for once-and-for-all financial provision. In the event of default, a maintenance agreement is enforceable by action. A court order is enforceable by judgment summons.’ and
‘financial arrangement that are agreed upon between the parties for the purpose of receiving the approval and being made the subject of a consent order by the court, once they have been made the subject of the court order no longer depend upon the agreement of the parties as the source from which their legal effect is derived. Their legal effect is derived from the court order.’ and ‘Where a party to an action who seeks to challenge, on the ground that it was obtained by fraud or mistake, a judgment or order that finally disposes of the issues raised between the parties, the only ways of doing it that are open to him are by appeal from the judgment or order to a higher court or by bringing a fresh action to set it aside.’
Lord Diplock considered the relationship between rulings of the Board of the Privy Council and of the judicial committee of the House of Lords: ‘a decision of the House of Lords on a matter which in Hong Kong is governed by the common law by virtue of the Application of English Law Ordinance is not ipso facto binding upon a Hong Kong court although its persuasive authority must be very great, since the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, whose decisions on appeals from Hong Kong are binding on all Hong Kong courts, shares with the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords a common membership. This Board is unlikely to diverge from a decision which its members have reached in their alternative capacity, unless the decision is in a field of law in which the circumstances of the colony or its inhabitants make it inappropriate that the common law in that field should have developed on the same lines in Hong Kong as in England.
Different considerations, in their Lordships’ view, apply to decisions of the House of Lords on the interpretation of recent legislation that is common to Hong Kong and England. Here there is no question of divergent development of the law. The legislation in Hong Kong has chosen to develop that branch of the law on the same lines as it has been developed in England, and, for that purpose, to adopt the same legislation as is in force in England and falls to be interpreted according to English canons of construction. What their Lordships have already said about the common membership of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords applies a fortiori to decisions of the House of Lords on interpretation of recent English statutes that have been adopted as the law of Hong Kong. Since the House of Lords as such is not a constituent part of the judicial system of Hong Kong it may be that in juristic theory it would be more correct to say that the authority of its decision on any question of law, even the interpretation of recent common legislation can be persuasive only; but looked at realistically its decision on such a question will have the same practical effect as if they were strictly binding, and courts in Hong Kong would be well advised to treat them as being so.’

Lord Diplock, Lord Fraser of Tullybelton, Lord Russell of Killowen
[1980] AC 546, [1979] UKPC 10, [1979] 2 All ER 1146, [1980] FSR 443, [1979] 3 WLR 390
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedPearce v Pearce CA 28-Jul-2003
The financial claims on divorce had been settled by a compromise recorded in a court order. The order included periodical payments to the former wife. After she suffered financial losses, she sought an increase, and the former husband sought an . .
CitedMcFarlane v McFarlane; Parlour v Parlour CA 7-Jul-2004
Appeals were made against orders for periodical payments made against high earning husbands. The argument was that if the case of White had decided that capital should be distributed equally, the same should apply also to income.
Held: The . .
CitedKelley v Corston CA 20-Aug-1997
The plaintiff employed the defendant barrister to pursue her claim for ancillary relief in divorce. She sought to recover damages for his alleged negligence.
Held: A barrister’s immunity from suit for negligence in advocacy extends to . .
CitedThwaite v Thwaite CA 1981
The failure of one party to complete a conveyance as part of the ancillary relief order rendered the order executory, and therefore subject to the court’s jurisdiction to amend it. The court discussed the principle in de Lasala and saying that the . .
CitedJames, Regina v; Regina v Karimi CACD 25-Jan-2006
The defendants appealed their convictions for murder, saying that the court had not properly guided the jury on provocation. The court was faced with apparently conflicting decision of the House of Lords (Smith) and the Privy Council (Holley).
CitedXydhias v Xydhias CA 21-Dec-1998
The principles of contract law are of little use when looking at the course of negotiations in divorce ancillary proceedings. In the case of a dispute the court must use its own discretion to determine whether agreement had been reached. Thorpe LJ . .
CitedSoulsbury v Soulsbury CA 10-Oct-2007
The claimant was the first wife of the deceased. She said that the deceased had promised her a substantial cash sum in his will in return for not pursuing him for arrears of maintenance. The will made no such provision, and she sought payment from . .
CitedJenkins v Livesey (formerly Jenkins) HL 1985
The parties had negotiated through solicitors a compromise of ancillary relief claims on their divorce. They agreed that the house should be transferred to the wife in consideration of her release of all other financial claims. The wife however . .
CitedRobinson v Robinson (Disclosure) Practice Note CA 1982
The court considered the duty of parties in finacial relief proceedings to give full disclosure.
Held: In proceedings for ancillary relief, there was a duty, both under the rules and by authority, on the parties to make full and frank . .
CitedJudge v Judge and others CA 19-Dec-2008
The wife appealed against an order refusing to set aside an earlier order for ancillary relief in her divorce proeedings, arguing that it had been made under a mistake. The sum available for division had had deducted an expected liabiliity to the . .
CitedCS v ACS and Another FD 16-Apr-2015
Rule Against Appeal was Ultra Vires
W had applied to have set aside the consent order made on her ancillary relief application accusing the husband of material non-disclosure. She complained that her application to have the order varied had been refused on the ground that her only . .
CitedRoult v North West Strategic Health Authority CA 20-May-2009
The parties had settled a personal injury claim, on the basis as expected that the claimant would be provided with accommodation by the local authority. It later turned out that accommodation would not be provided, and he returned to court to . .
CitedGohil v Gohil SC 14-Oct-2015
The Court was asked ‘Do the principles referable to the admissibility of fresh evidence on appeal, as propounded in the decision of the Court of Appeal in Ladd v Marshall [1954] 1 WLR 1489, have any relevance to the determination of a spouse’s . .
CitedSharland v Sharland SC 14-Oct-2015
The Court considered the impact of fraud upon a financial settlement agreed between divorcing parties where that agreement is later embodied in a court order? Does ‘fraud unravel all’, as is normally the case when agreements are embodied in court . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Family, Constitutional, Litigation Practice

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Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.186015