Re Jones (a bankrupt) 2008 3 FLR 1969

s339 Insolvency Act claim by trustee in bankruptcy failed; robust application of Hill v Haines.  A party's obligations under the MCA were not 'liabilities' did not make the applicant spouse a  'creditor' within s 383 and 38,2 for the purpose of s340 'preferences'.   Capitulation in divorce negotiations was not equivalent to preferring a spouse.

Hill v Haines 2007 EWCA 1284  Court of Appeal

Despite clear signs of H’s impending bankruptcy, DJ ordered H to transfer his 50% interest in FMH to W which he failed to do.   He was declared bankrupt on his own petition. T in B tried to set aside under s339 as a transaction at an undervalue

It was held that the court order was effective to transfer beneficial interest.  The personal right to apply for orders under the MCA 1973 was consideration for purposes of s339.

Whether the order followed contested proceedings or was by way of compromise, in ordinary cases full consideration will be assumed  unless  it could be demonstrated that the property transfer order had been obtained by fraud or some broadly similar exceptional circumstance

If the ancillary relief order were the product of collusion between the spouses, designed to affect the creditors adversely, or there were some other vitiating factor, the trustee would be entitled to apply to set the order aside

Robert v Woodall 2016 EWHC 2987 (Ch)

Dismissal of the oral renewal by the Trustee in Bankruptcy appealing the strike out of his claims under sections 23 and 24 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (above).   Leave to appeal had already been refused by Mr Justice  Morgan on the basis that the death of the husband had brought to an end rights under the MCA and the Trustee could have no greater claim than that of the bankrupt.  Mr  Robin Dicker QC, sitting as a deputy High Court Judge, gave a clear analysis of why all the  bases raised by the Trustee were misconceived.  See

LexisNexis Article

 Family Law Week

Robert v Woodall [2016] EWHC 538 (Ch)

Caroline represented the wife of a deceased bankrupt and was successful in striking out a Trustee in Bankrupcty’s application in his own name under sections 23 and 24 of the MCA 1973.  Spousal rights under the MCA did not vest in a Trustee and in any event ceased on the death of the spouse. 

The case also dealt with dispositions by the bankrupt under s284 and preferences/transactions at an undervalue.


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Harman v Glencross 1986 2FLR 341 Court of Appeal

Application for a Charging Order Nisi to be made absolute.  If application was before the Divorce Petition, no basis for W to resist.  If after, the court holds the balance between the wife and the creditor. 

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