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Dishonest Dissolution Battle Heads to Court of Appeal

Sally Harrison QC and Samantha Hillas are representing Helen Roocroft in the Court of Appeal. Ms Roocroft is seeking a fair settlement after it was discovered that her ex-partner hid £6m of assets during their original dissolution settlement.

Ms Roocroft had been in an 18-year relationship with Carol Ann Ainscow, who owned a successful property company. The pair had met in 1991 and lived together for years before becoming civil partners in 2008. During dissolution proceedings in 2010, Ms Ainscow submitted documents to the court that suggested her wealth had been greatly reduced as a result of the property crash that followed the recession. Ms Roocroft therefore accepted settlement worth £162,000.

In 2013 Ms Ainscow died of a brain tumour, and Ms Roocroft discovered information that led her to believe that her former civil partner had not been honest about her assets and income in her original disclosure. She attempted to overturn the original agreement but the court dismissed her claim in July 2014. Ms Roocroft then secured permission to appeal in January 2015.

Miss Harrison QC and Miss Hillas are being instructed by Ros Beever of Irwin Mitchell, following their success in the Supreme Court in the case of Gohil v Gohil.  Ms Gohil was successful in asking the Supreme Court to set aside her original divorce settlement on the basis that her husband had deliberately hidden substantial assets.

Sally Harrison QC commented: “The judgment in last year’s Supreme Court case of Gohil v Gohil was clear that the courts will not tolerate the deliberate hiding or disguising of assets during divorce proceedings. We are now representing Ms Roocroft to request that the same principle be expanded to include the dissolution of civil partnerships.”

The hearing begins on 5 July 2016 at The Royal Courts of Justice and is listed for one and a half days.

The case has already received a great deal of press coverage including in the Telegraph, the Times and the Standard. The appeal has been covered in Family Law and the Manchester Evening News.