Hassan was successful in a preliminary issue hearing of 3.5 days concerning two applications for an avoidance of disposition pursuant to s.37 Matrimonial Causes Act (“MCA”) 1973.

The case was considered of sufficient complexity to obtain legal aid funding for Kings Counsel for the applicant wife, who was ultimately represented by a “senior junior” due to a lack of KC availability.

The wife’s application centred around (i) a trust deed for a property with equity in excess of £1m which stated the property with a joint legal title was held beneficially solely for the parents, and (ii) the husband’s shareholding in a successful limited company which was transferred to his parents shortly after the commencement of divorce proceedings.

Hassan was instructed by interveners, the parents, seeking to protect their interest in the property and limited company.

In a technical argument, Hassan, and the representative for the husband, were able to prove the shareholding transfer was not a reviewable disposition to engage s.37 MCA 1973 as (i) the husband could not have formed the requisite intention for the transfer due to a contractual duty, (ii) the initial shareholding did not convey a benefit to the husband, applying the authorities of Ansari v Ansari [2008] EWCA Civ 376 & Read v Panzone [2019] EWCA Civ 1662. In relation to the property, cross examination revealed significant inconsistencies in evidence of the wife leading to a finding there could be no intention to defeat a claim for financial remedy at the time of creating the trust deed.

Both assets were preserved in their entirety and the intervener parents were also awarded their costs for defending the claim. Hassan was instructed by Sarah Millington, partner at FBC Manby Bowdler.