NEWS

03 Mar 2014

Jane Campbell acts in High Court family case concerning freezing orders

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In R v R [2013] EWHC 4244 (Fam), Jane Campbell has acted for a husband in a case concerning a family business where the husband had set up another business after the parties separated which the wife contended was started to compete with the family business. A freezing order containing a restraint of trade clause was made without notice by Roderick Wood J under sections 37 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and section 37 Senior Courts Act 1981.

The argument centred on whether the court had jurisdiction to make the order restraining trade under section 37(2) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.  The President’s view was that the wording of the restraint of trade clause was incompatible with that section.  The argument then shifted to whether it could be made under section 37 Senior Courts Act 1981.  The President stressed that the court should not make an order under this section if another division of the high court would not similarly have the power to make the order.  The wife argued successfully that another division of the high court would have the power to make the order.  The husband admitted being a shadow director of the family company.  As such he owed a fiduciary “duty of good faith and loyalty” to that company and could “reasonably be expected to act in the company’s own best interests rather than in his own separate interests” as per Newey J in Vivendi SA and Another v Murray Richards and Another [2013] EWHC 3006 (Ch.) paragraph 142.