Lambert v Lambert: CA 14 Nov 2002

The parties appealed an order for the division of the family’s 20 million pound fortune on divorce. The husband argued that his special contribution to the creation of the wealth meant that he should receive a greater share.
Held: The Act gave wide discretions to the Court, and nobody could expect clarity or predictability of outcomes. The husband’s contention was discriminatory, and could not be adopted. Any substantially new approach would now require legislation. Two themes emerged: ‘First it is unacceptable to place greater value on the contribution of the breadwinner than that of the homemaker as a justification for dividing the product of the breadwinner’s efforts unequally between them. Second both the practicality and the value of the exercise of marking the parties to a failed marriage on their respective performances is questioned. . . . [There] are clear warnings that the excess commonly seen in the litigation of the issue of the applicant’s reasonable requirements has now been transposed into disputed, and often futile, evaluations of the contributions of both of the parties.’ and
‘A distinction must be drawn between an assessment of equality of contribution and an order for equality of division. A finding of equality of contribution may be followed by an order for unequal division because of the influence of one or more of the other statutory criteria as well as the over-arching search for fairness. ‘ and
‘the danger of gender discrimination resulting from a finding of special financial contribution is plain. If all that is regarded is the scale of the breadwinner’s success then discrimination is almost bound to follow since there is no equal opportunity for the homemaker to demonstrate the scale of her comparable success. ‘
Lord Justice May, Mr Justice Bodey, Lord Justice Thorpe
Times 27-Nov-2002, [2002] EWCA Civ 1685, [2003] 1 FLR 139, [2003] Fam 103, [2003] 2 WLR 631, [2003] 4 All ER 342, [2002] 3 FCR 673, [2003] Fam Law 16, Independent 21-Nov-2002
Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 25(2)(f)
England and Wales
CitedH-J v H-J FD 17-Oct-2001
The court considered cross-appeals in a case first decided by the District Judge involving substantial assets. The order gave the wife approximately 45% of the assets.
Held: The court increased the wife’s share to equality. Coleridge J . .
CitedCowan v Cowan CA 14-May-2001
When considering the division of matrimonial assets following a divorce, the court’s duty was, within the context of the rules set down by the Act, to impose a fair settlement according to the circumstances. Courts should be careful not to make . .
CitedWhite v White HL 26-Oct-2000
The couple going through the divorce each had substantial farms and wished to continue farming. It had been a long marriage.
Held: Where a division of the assets of a family would satisfy the reasonable needs of either party on an ancillary . .
CitedH v H (Financial Provision: Special Contribution) FD 2002
The court heard an application for ancillary relief in a divorce. The family assets were andpound;6M. The husband was a successful city solicitor. Counsel contended that for various reasons his financial accumulations during the course of his . .
CitedG v G (Financial Provision Equal Division) FD 2-Jul-2002
The family assets were in the region of andpound;8.5M. The wife sought a half share. The husband proposed that she should have 40%. The husband had built the family fortune through exceptional hard work and astute business acumen in the field of . .
CitedM v M FDNi 20-Dec-2001
The court considered the approach to the evaluation of contributions in ancillary relief proceedings in a divorce where there were substantial assets. McLaughlin J said: ‘In the course of adducing evidence before me counsel sought to tempt me with a . .

Cited by:
CitedFoster v Foster CA 16-Apr-2003
The marriage had been short, there were no children, both parties were working, and each could support themselves providing themselves with accomodation. The wife had successfully appealed a finding of the district judge for an equal distribution. . .
See AlsoLambert v Lambert CA 25-Nov-2002
. .
CitedSorrell v Sorrell FD 29-Jul-2005
The parties contested ancillary relief on their divorce. The marriage had been very long, and the assets were very substantial. The husband contended that these assets represented an exceptional contribution on his part.
Held: In this case an . .
CitedG v G and Another FdNI 25-Oct-2003
There had been a long but argumentative marriage, and the parties disputed distribution of the assets on an ancillary relief application.
Held: The husband could not claim to discount shareholdings as a minority shareholding where he also . .
CitedWall v Wall CA 27-Nov-2002
The wife sought permision to appeal against an ancillary relief order, relying on Lambert v Lambert, and saying that she had not received a fair hearing.
Held: Permission could only be granted if the court thought there was a real chance of . .
CitedMiller v Miller; McFarlane v McFarlane HL 24-May-2006
Fairness on Division of Family Capital
The House faced the question of how to achieve fairness in the division of property following a divorce. In the one case there were substantial assets but a short marriage, and in the other a high income, but low capital.
Held: The 1973 Act . .
CitedM v M (Financial Relief: Substantial Earning Capacity) FD 29-Mar-2004
The parties had been married for 12 years, there were three children, one with special needs, and assets of over 12 million pounds. The court considered the application for ancillary relief. It was substantially agreed that the wife should receive . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 22 March 2021; Ref: scu.178443