The duty of disclosure in financial proceedings
Published by a LexisPSL Family expert

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The duty of disclosure in financial proceedings
  • General principles
  • Disclosure by the client
  • Professional duties
  • Disclosure from third parties
  • Disclosure to third parties

The duty of disclosure in financial proceedings

This Practice Note provides guidance on the ongoing duty of full and frank disclosure in financial proceedings, together with the possible consequences of any breach of duty, including the court drawing adverse inferences. It also considers the Supreme Court decisions in Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil, together with the professional duty not to knowingly mislead the court by providing incorrect or inaccurate information in relation to disclosure and the disclosure of documents to and by third parties.

General principles

There is an ongoing duty to provide full, frank, and clear, disclosure in financial proceedings. Such disclosure includes all material facts, documents and other information relevant to the issues in the case, together with any material changes after initial disclosure has been given. Such changes must be disclosed to the court and the other party at the earliest possible opportunity. As noted by Roberts J in AB v CD, ‘it is not for a litigant to judge the ambit of the duty to disclose or the consequences of disclosure; any information which is relevant to outcome must be disclosed’ (para [165]).

The issue of disclosure was considered by the Supreme Court in Sharland and Gohil, which notably found that:

  1. a recital in a financial order in divorce proceedings limiting disclosure (as in Gohil) has no legal effect

  2. each party owes a duty

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