Sorrell 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 unequal division would reflect the husband’s special and exceptional contributions. As to the balance between the cases of Cowan and Lambert: ‘courts would now look at the argument of ‘special’ contribution with great care, if not a sceptical eye. In my judgment Lambert sent a strong message to litigants and their advisers that they could not expect routinely to run a case of ‘special’ contribution successfully. I accept that the Court of Appeal did circumscribe or tighten the criteria to ‘the most exceptional and limited circumstance’ Here, ‘the evidence establishes that the true explanation for this extraordinary success story is that the husband does possess the ‘spark’ or ‘force’ or ‘seed’ of genius, call it what one will. It was by his talents as I have set out above that he generated the fortune for the family. One only has to glance at the schedule to see that the overwhelming preponderance of the fortune is derived from the shares in WPP. His genius was the generator of that fortune. ‘
Bennett J
[2005] EWHC 1717 (Fam), [2006] 1 FCR 75, [2006] 1 FLR 497, [2006] Fam Law 12
Bailii
Matrimonial Cause Act 1973
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedLambert 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 . .
CitedJ v J FD 23-Jan-2004
Ancillary relief. . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedYoung v The Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd CA 28-Jul-1944
Court of Appeal must follow Own Decisions
The claimant was injured and received compensation. He then sought to recover again, alleging breach of statutory duty by his employers.
Held: The Court of Appeal was in general bound to follow its own previous decisions. The court considered . .
CitedDavis v Johnson HL 2-Jan-1978
The court was asked to interpret the 1976 Act to see whether its protection extended to cohabitees as well as to wives. In doing so it had to look at practice in the Court of Appeal in having to follow precedent.
Held: The operation of the . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedWells v Wells CA 20-Mar-2002
The court considered an application for ancillary relief. The assets were substantial, but before the judge was to deliver his judgment he accepted evidence from the husand that the sale of his business had fallen through and H’s income . .
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: 01 May 2021; Ref: scu.231278