Derhalli v Derhalli – Family Law Week Case Summary

15 February 2021

A husband’s unsuccessful second appeal in possession proceedings which depended upon the proper interpretation of a Consent Order in financial remedy proceedings.

The husband was the sole legal and beneficial owner of the former matrimonial home ('the property'). A consent order provided for the property to be sold but did not express whether the wife could live in the property until the sale completed, or whether the husband could evict her or make her pay rent or damages for use and occupation whilst she remained living there.

In possession proceedings, the declaration of the first instance judge (HHJ Gerald) in favour of the husband was set aside and a fresh declaration made by Fancourt J allowing the wife to occupy the property until it was sold, paying all the outgoings related to the property but not paying occupation rent. Males LJ gave permission for a second appeal.

The issue on the second appeal was, "whether the judge erred in deciding that the reasonable reader, having all the background knowledge which was available to the parties, would have concluded that it was the intention of these parties that the wife would be permitted to remain living in the matrimonial home, rent free, until it was sold. If she was not, then the husband would succeed in his claim for damages." [3]

Read the full summary on Family Law Week.