Harris v Harris: CA 1 Jul 2001

The first instance court had acceded to the husband’s application for downward variation of the wife’s periodical payments to andpound;9,000 per annum and to the wife’s application substituting a lump sum of andpound;120,000 for the future periodical payments order. The argument now was whether the judge had sufficiently reduced the rate of periodical payments and primarily on the methodology of capitalisation.
Held: The order was affirmed. Although he had not been furnished with the relevant Duxbury calculations the figure was almost exactly in line with what the Duxbury tables would have suggested. The judicial assessment is essentially speculative. The periodical payments would end with the first life. The husband now had a serious illness compelling his retirement. The wife’s earning capacity was uncertain as was her relationship with her current partner.
Thorpe LJ said: ‘So the judicial conclusion will always be vulnerable. Either party may feel, with the advantage of hindsight, that the judge failed. The wife may feel that she has been under compensated when accident or illness befalls. The husband may resent the capital paid over when the former wife finds a new husband. These considerations are familiar to ancillary relief specialists, since they apply equally to the negotiation or determination of claims at the stage of the divorce. It follows, in my judgment, that the discretion exercised by the judge in this new jurisdiction must be very broad. Unless some clear error of approach or calculation has been demonstrated, I do not believe that this court should lightly interfere with the judge’s figures.’ The court trod a broad path. (Pill LJ) ‘What the judge is endeavouring to do is to express as a capital sum what is a fair capital sum in the circumstances in substitution for the periodical payments which would otherwise have been appropriate.’
Thorpe LJ, Pill LJ
[2001] 1 FCR 68
England and Wales
Citing:
See alsoHarris v Harris; Harris v Attorney General FD 21-May-2001
The applicant had been committed for ten months for contempt, being in breach of family court injunctions. He applied to be released after two months on the basis that the unserved balance of the sentence be suspended. The court held that it had the . .
See AlsoHarris v Harris CA 30-Nov-2001
Purchase of council house by brother and sister – whether intended as trust for both. . .

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 . .
CitedCornick v Cornick (No 3) FD 2001
The court considered its powers when being asked to vary a lump sum provision at the same time as a variation of maintenance.
Held: ‘section 31(7B) clearly introduces a wide discretionary power to be exercised by applying the words of the . .
See alsoHarris v Harris; Harris v Attorney General FD 21-May-2001
The applicant had been committed for ten months for contempt, being in breach of family court injunctions. He applied to be released after two months on the basis that the unserved balance of the sentence be suspended. The court held that it had the . .
See AlsoHarris v Harris CA 30-Nov-2001
Purchase of council house by brother and sister – whether intended as trust for both. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 January 2021; Ref: scu.186016