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Quan v Bray [2014] EWHC 3340 (Fam)

Date:4 NOV 2014
Law Reporter
(Family Division, Sir Paul Coleridge, 27 October 2014)

[The judicially approved judgment and accompanying headnote has now published in the Family Law Reports [2015] 2 FLR 546]

 Financial remedies – Post-nuptial settlement – Trust set up to aid in the conservation of Chinese tigers – Whether the trust could be construed as a post-nuptial settlement by virtue of it being a fully discretionary trust – Whether there was an intention to benefit the parties – Whether the wife could claim an interest in the trust
Please see attached file below for the full judgment.

 The judge held that a trust set up to aid in the conservation of Chinese tigers was not capable of being a post-nuptial settlement in the wife’s claim for financial remedy.

 The husband and wife lived together for 15 years and were married for 11 years. They had a shared interest in saving Chinese tigers, a highly endangered species. A trust was established called the Chinese Tigers South Africa Trust.

 In 2012 the relationship broke down, the wife was removed as a director of the trust and she petitioned for divorce. She made an application for financial remedy. One of the principal issues was what the true function of the trust was.

 The wife claimed that the trust was established not only in the interests of the Chinese tigers but also to provide financial benefit to the husband and wife. The husband disputed this.

 The issues that fell for determination were: (1) although neither party was identified on trust documentation as a beneficiary, whether the trust could be classed as a post-nuptial settlement and one of the parties as a beneficiary because as a fully discretionary trust it was capable of being amended; (2) if not, whether the trust should be regarded as having become a post-nuptial settlement if there was an existing intention to benefit one of them evidenced by past receipts from the trust; (3) whether if the parties had not received benefits, the mere intention to benefit one of them in an unspecified way at an unspecified time in the future was sufficient for it to be a post-nuptial settlement.

 The judge found that the trust could not be classed as a post-nuptial settlement merely by the fact that it was a fully discretionary trust capable of being varied. However, it there had been a regular flow of receipts from the trust to the parties that could be evidence of an intention to benefit them and render the trust a post-nuptial settlement. A vague unspecified intention at some time in the future to benefit the parties was not sufficient to turn the trust into a post-nuptial settlement.

 On the facts the judge was satisfied that the husband could seek to procure changes or beneficiaries to the trust but there was no evidence of past, present or future benefit to the parties from the trust. Nothing had been paid to them and there was no existing intention to do so. At best the wife’s case was that of a vague unspecified intention to benefit the parties at some time in the future which was insufficient to create a post-nuptial settlement. There was only one intention of the trust at the time it was established and that was to aid in the conservation of Chinese tigers. The wife had no claim against the trust.

  Neutral Citation Number: [2014] EWHC 3340 (Fam)
 Case No: FD12D083916


 Royal Courts of Justice

 Date: 27/10/2014

Before :

 MR. JUSTICE COLERIDGE/ Sir Paul Coleridge

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 (6) CONSERVATION FINANCE LIMITED (formally Eighth Respondent)

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 Mr. Richard Todd QC and Ms. Lily Mottahedan (instructed by Messrs. Vardags) for the Petitioner
 William Stuart Bray appeared in person
 Mr. Richard Harrison QC, Mr. David Eaton Turner and Ms. Samantha Ridley (instructed by Lewis Silkin LLP) for Save China’s Tigers

 Hearing dates: 9-20 December 2013 and 19 June–8 July 2014

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Quan v Bray [2014] EWHC 3340 (Fam)