Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2014 position: 28

Case law update: Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman

This case arose out of the divorce proceedings between Mrs Tchenguiz-Imerman and Mr Imerman. During contested financial remedy proceedings, the wife applied to the English High Court for the disclosure of documents and information in relation to offshore discretionary trusts of which the husband’s family were beneficiaries. Despite a request from the Royal Court of Jersey not to do so, the Family Division of the English High Court ordered disclosure of sensitive trust information due to its potential relevance and importance to the financial remedy proceedings.

The wife was seeking a share of assets held within offshore discretionary trusts, which included assets generated during the marriage. Neither the husband nor the wife were beneficiaries of these trusts, but each of them could be added to the class of beneficiaries.

The High Court had to decide whether or not these trusts were nuptial settlements for the purposes of section 24 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and could therefore be varied by the court and whether the trust assets were financial resources available to the husband. One of the key questions was whether or not the trustee was likely immediately or in the foreseeable future to exercise its powers for the husband’s benefit…

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