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Mediation: construction of terms of an agreement or consent order

Date:6 APR 2016
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A 'not particularly well drafted' consent order

The recent case of Besharova v Berezovsky [2016] EWCA Civ 161 has things to say: firstly to any mediator or lawyer who seeks to settle financial issues between formerly married or cohabiting couples (although Besharova specifically applies only to married couples); second to any lawyer (or mediators) who may be called upon to draft an agreement Tomlin order or consent orders; and thirdly to any lawyer called upon to construe agreements or orders when they are found to be unclear.

Boris Berezovsky attracted a variety of litigation especially in his declining years. Not long before his death in March 2013 he settled divorce proceedings in the Family Division on terms set out in a consent order - 'not very well drafted' said Sir Stephen Richards - that his wife was to receive (1) the net proceedings of sale (after repayment to him or his estate of £16m) of a property and (2) sums of money from specified litigation. The property remains unsold and no sale is in sight. A third provision was in issue: did the order provide...

Read the full article here.