Case Summary: Goddard-Watts v Goddard-Watts [2019] EWHC 3367 (Fam)



Held, setting aside the order

  • and that this behaviour amounted to fraud.
  • In answer to the second question Holman J noted
    that the court’s approach to materiality depends on whether the non-disclosure
    is fraudulent or innocent.

    • In cases of innocent non-disclosure, an order could
      only be set aside for non-fraudulent non-disclosure if the court would have
      made a substantially different order if the relevant facts had been disclosed.
    • However, in cases of fraudulent non-disclosure the
      general principle could be summarised as “fraud unravels all”. The test was, therefore,
      whether the court could be satisfied that at the time when Moylan J made his
      order, he would not have made a significantly different order if he had
      known then what the court knew at the set aside hearing. Further, the burden of
      satisfying the court of this lies with the perpetrator of the non-disclosure.
  • Having found that H’s non-disclosure was deliberate
    and fraudulent, Holman J applied the latter test and was not satisfied that
    Moylan J would not have made a significantly different order, although he
    “readily accepted” that he might have done. Consequently, Holman J set aside
    the order made by Moylan J and held that there was to be a fresh determination
    of the W’s application for financial remedies.
  • Holman J then concluded by imploring the parties to
    settle so as to end the “vortex of profligate spending and
    mutual destruction