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Supreme Court rules in landmark divorce case

A landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in the case of Prest v Petrodel, which was about financial remedies in divorce, has upheld the appeal of the estranged wife.

The appeal concerned the position of a number of companies belonging to the Petrodel Group that were wholly owned and controlled by Michael Prest, the husband. One of the companies was the legal owner of five residential properties in the UK and another was the legal owner of two more.

The High Court had ruled that that the wife, Yasmin Prest, was entitled to a share of these properties. Michael Prest appealed the decision, and the Court of Appeal found in his favour.

Yasmin Prest then appealed this decision to the Supreme Court to determine whether the court has power to order the transfer of these seven properties to the wife given that they legally belong not to the husband but to his companies.

The Supreme Court has now unanimously allowed the appeal by Yasmin Prest and declared that the seven disputed properties vested in the companies are held on trust for the husband and were accordingly “property to which the [husband] is entitled, either in possession or reversion”.

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