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Supreme Court finds in favour of oil tycoons wife


Lawson-West Solicitors - Expert Author

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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 the company.

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 disclose evidence.

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.

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Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our team of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a business, business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial property. Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on all aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and dismissal procedures. Visit for more information.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-07-13 14:09:26 in Legal Articles

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