Case report: Imerman v Imerman – Court of Appeal 2010 [EWCH Civ 908]

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August 5, 2010

The parties were married in 2001 and had one child from the marriage. Shortly before the marriage, the parties entered into a pre-nuptial agreement. The wife petitioned for a divorce on 31 December 2008. During the marriage, the husband and the wife’s two brothers shared office space. The husband had his own password protected computer but his computer was supported by a server which was under the control of the wife’s two brothers. When Mrs Imerman petitioned for divorce on 30 December 2008, her two brothers were concerned for their sister’s financial security. They claimed the husband had made various threats that his assets would be concealed in any financial proceedings upon divorce and had stated that his wife would “never be able to find my money” claiming that it was “well hidden.”

Upon the wife petitioning for divorce, the brothers printed from the server 2.5 million pages of documentation placed into 11 lever arch files and given to the barrister to examine and decide which documents could be used within the financial proceedings and which the husband could claim were protected by legal privilege. The barrister delivered to Withers Solicitors the resulting 7 files as documents. The wife’s solicitors then copied these files and sent them to Mr Imerman’s solicitors.

The husband obtained an injunction preventing the brothers, the wife and Withers Solicitors from communicating or disclosing to third parties any information contained in such documentation and from copying or using any of the information contained within them. The order further provided for copies of the documentation to be handed over to the husband.

The Court of Appeal upheld this order but said that the wife was required to deliver the 7 files to the husband’s solicitors so that they could properly advise their client as to his disclosure obligations. Further, the wife’s solicitors were to retain no copies of the documents and were restrained, at least for now, from using any information they may have gained from reading the 7 files. The outcome of an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in relation to this decision is awaited.

See our recent article/blog for more information on this case

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