Myerson v Myerson
On 11th March 2009 the Court of Appeal handed down an important
judgment in the case
of Myerson v. Myerson given the current
As a result of the downturn in the economy, many clients’ financial
circumstances have dramatically changed since agreements were made
and implemented by the courts.
Many have been tempted to try and revise consensual orders in
relation to the division of family assets because of the reduction
in value of those assets and as a result of the credit crunch.
Myerson has stated that such course of action is fraught
with difficulty. The background is
briefly as follows:-
Mr. and Mrs. Myerson reached an agreement to divide £25,800,000.00
worth of family assets.
Mrs. M receiving £11,000,000.00
(this represented 43% of the total). Mr. M. retaining £14,500,000.00
Mr. M. had made his fortune as a fund manager operating Principal
Capital Holdings Limited (PCH). Of her £11,000,000.00
Mrs. M. received £9,500,000.00 in cash and the balance was
by the transfer of a holiday home in South Africa.
Mr. M. retained his substantial shareholding in P.C.H. and other
properties. The share value
of P.C.H. at the time of the
hearing was £2.99p per share making his shareholding worth
approximately £15,000,000.00. The agreement was reached
on 19th March 2008 when the shares were valued at £2.75p
per share. A year later the value was £0.275p per share.
In December 2008 Mr. M. sought to appeal the order on the basis
that the downturn in the economy had rendered the order unfair.
It was argued on behalf of Mr. M. that the drop in the share price
and house values made the order unworkable. It was argued
that the “basis or fundamental assumption upon which the
original order had been made” was no longer practicable.
The reduction in the share value reduced Mr. M’s share of
the assets to a negative position of minus £539,000.00
whereas the wife retained £11,000,000.00 worth of cash and
The Court of Appeal had to consider whether or not it could review
the consent order.
The Court of Appeal did not allow the appeal stating that the
order had been reached by consensual agreement and that Mr. M.
must have known the risk, or potential risk, he was likely
to face. In
reaching the agreement he had taken a speculative course by seeking
to retain the
risk laden shareholding. Given that he had
agreed to take this risk the court felt that it had no obligation
to relieve him of the consequences of the risk he took.
The Court of Appeal repeated the court’s stated position
that it must do its upmost to uphold parties to the terms of an
order particularly one made by consent.
It stated that to vary a consent order the circumstances had to
be extreme and the court would expect the payer to find whatever
legitimate means may exist to fulfil payment of the order, for
example, the borrowing of more monies or the selling of all assets.
It is believed that Mr. M. will now take his appeal to the House
of Lords. Family lawyers should
be particularly careful in
the current climate when entering into agreements and should bear
in mind the potential problems which could be caused by the downturn
in the value of the assets which form the substance of any agreement.
If you require further information regarding this article or any
Road Traffic Act
prosecution matter, please contact:
Graham Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.premierdivorce.co.uk for further information.
2 Swinton Square
Cheshire WA16 6HH tel: 01565 632152
fax: 01565 632154