Discovery in family law cases
A recent interesting decision of Mr Justice Barrett in the case of Q v Q delivered in May 2022 may give some clarity in relation to applications for discovery in family law cases.
In this case the discovery was sought of various documents but including documentation and additional information in relation to the contents of a discretionary trust. The Applicant’s mother had died and the Respondent solicitor was seeking information containing correspondence between the mother’s solicitor and the Applicant’s solicitor in relation to monies likely to be received by the Applicant as well as the method used to distribute the estate.
It transpired that there was a very poor relationship between the Applicant and the executor and that there was little or no possibility of any information be forthcoming from the estate’s solicitor.
Judge Barrett who heard the discovery application expressed the view that it was expected that the distribution of the trust would be finalised by the end of that particular year but in any event the Court could only had regard to what monies had actually been received rather than any expressed intention of the trustees.
In a separate application in the same case whereby the Applicant was seeking to have this case remitted to the Circuit Court on the basis of the continuing costs involved in retaining the case in the High Court, Mr Justice Barrett refused this application on the basis that in his opinion the case would come on for hearing much more quickly in the High Court and this was for the benefit of both parties in the long run.
For further information or advice on any family law matter please don’t hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon, Erika Coughlan or Sally-Ann McCoy on 01 296 0666.