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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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ANCILLARY RELIEF: Vaughan v Vaughan [2007] EWCA Civ 1085
Date:2 NOV 2007

(Court of Appeal; Ward, Mummery and Wilson LJJ; 2 November 2007)

Allowing the appeal against the circuit judges order, the circuit judge having increased the wifes award by £25,000, the court noted that an appeal was not from a judgment, but from an order. A judgment might have contained an error, and a change of circumstances might have invalidated some of its important assumptions, but it did not follow that the order should be set aside upon appellate review. The failure of the district judge to apply the relevant legal principles to the question whether the husbands dissipation of about £100,000 should lead to a re-attribution of that sum to the husband had opened the case to review by the circuit judge. However, the circuit judge had omitted to survey, in terms of percentages of capital, the effect either of the district judges order in the light of the fresh evidence, or of his own proposed substitute order in that light; the result of this omission was that the circuit judge had never found it necessary to identify the sum to be re-attributed to the husband by reason of dissipation. In his calculations the district judge had not included the capital value of the parties pension rights, which had distorted his assessment of the division of the assets between husband and wife. While there was a difference between disposable capital and the capital value of pension rights, it was convenient practice to include in the balance sheet, underneath the total value of other capital, the capital value of pension rights, then arriving at a grand total.