This was the headline in The Times on 11th June. It followed the case of Mr Vince and Ms Wyatt. They married and separated over 30 years ago and divorced in 1992. At that stage they had no assets. They both remarried. In 1995 Mr Vince rigged up a wind powered generator for charging telephones at the Glastonbury Festival. He then set up a green energy company called Ecotricity thought to now be worth £57m. In 2012 Ms Wyatt sought to claim a share of this stating she wanted £1.9m.
The High Court said despite the delay in her making a claim against him she could. The Court of Appeal said she was too late and The Supreme Court agreed with the High Court that a claim can be made. This is of significance to couples who are divorcing.
Whilst the wife received £300,000 and £200,000 towards her costs the issue confirmed that unlike personal injuries and negligence cases there is no time limit within which to bring a claim. It is, however, clear that if the wife had issued her claim earlier she would have probably ended up with a larger lump sum. It is also a lesson to couples who decide not to bother (for legitimate costs reasons) to regulate any financial agreement in a financial consent order within the divorce. I suspect that in 1992 it never occurred to Mr Vince that by 2016 he would run a company worth £57million. Had he dismissed his wife’s claims in 1992 he would have been a lot happier!