A wife has been granted permission to use confidential documents in her divorce proceedings even though they were not obtained legitimately.
The case involved a couple who divorced in 2016. A financial order was made in favour of the wife, but the husband failed to pay.
The wife took action to enforce the order and in 2017, she came into possession of documents which were relevant to the husband's strategy of evading enforcement.
The documents had not been obtained through normal legitimate channels and so complex legal discussions took place to determine whether they could be used.
The issue was eventually put before the High Court.
The judge pointed to the fact that the husband was in contempt of the court's orders, was engaged in a campaign to frustrate enforcement of the financial award and was unlikely to give any proper disclosure.
Those matters alone might be considered reason enough to grant permission to use the documents.
Further, the wife had not deliberately tried to get some improper advantage and had sought legal
directions before making use of the documents in any further proceedings.
In those circumstances, any order that the wife must not use the documents would be a disproportionate response since it would potentially deprive her of evidence which might assist in unravelling her husband's schemes to evade compliance with the court's orders.
The court therefore directed that the wife and her lawyers were entitled to retain the documents, and to use them as if they had been disclosed by the husband in the proceedings.
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Case Citations: EWHC 3140 (Fam), TATIANA AKHMEDOVA v FARKHAD TEIMUR AKHMEDOV (2019), Fam Div (Knowles J)
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