On appeal from: [2012] EWCA Civ 1395

The matter centred around proceedings for financial remedies following a divorce, and concerned the position of a number of companies belonging to the Petrodel group, owned by the husband. The Court of Appeal held that there was no jurisdiction under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, s 24 to treat the assets of the parties as available for distribution to the wife.

The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the wife’s appeal, declaring that, in the particular circumstances of the case, the seven disputed properties are held on a resulting trust for the husband, and are accordingly “property to which the [husband] is entitled, either in possession or reversion”.

On the authorities the Court held that in very limited circumstances the Court can pierce the corporate veil when a person is under an existing legal obligation which they deliberately evade. The Court may pierce the corporate veil only for the purpose of depriving the company or its controller of the advantage which they would otherwise have obtained by the company’s separate legal personality.

For judgment, please download: [2013] UKSC 34
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII