Supreme Court finds in favour of oil tycoons wife
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10 July 2013
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court has unanimously allowed an
appeal by an oil tycoon’s former wife and has now ordered him to hand
over assets held by his companies. In Prest v Petrodel Resources
Limited, the court used trust law rather than company law to declare
that the seven disputed properties that the case relates to are held in
trust for the husband.
A long-established principle in commercial cases is that a company is
independent of its shareholders and that ownership of a company will
not allow ‘piercing of the corporate veil’ during legal proceedings to
get at assets - unless there has been fraudulent or dishonest use of
In Prest v Petrodel, the court ruled that each of the properties in
question was held on trust for the husband, and the judge found that
the husband had not only deliberately sought to conceal this fact in
his evidence, but had further failed to comply with court orders and
The decision means that business people are not able to hide
assets in businesses and business structures on purpose in order to
protect them should they ever face divorce.
About the Author
Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our team
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-07-13 14:09:26 in Legal Articles