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Home Secretary and CPS appeal ancillary relief order to disclose material obtained under mutual legal assistance provisions

Appeal in P v P to be heard in November

Permission has been granted to the Home secretary and the Crown Prosecution Service to appeal Moylan J's decision in P v P [2012] EWHC 1733 (Fam). In the High Court Moylan J ordered in proceedings to set aside an ancillary relief order disclosure of material obtained from foreign jurisdictions under mutual legal assistance provisions. 

The husband and wife separated in 2004 and the ancillary relief proceedings were concluded by consent but also on the basis that the wife believed the husband had not provided full and frank disclosure.  In 2010, the husband was convicted of money laundering offences and sentenced to ten years imprisonment.  Material used at his trial and sentencing hearing included material obtained from foreign jurisdictions under mutual legal assistance provisions.  The Secretary of State, the CPS and the Husband opposed the wife's application.  The opposition to the wife's application was on the basis that the material sought would conflict with the provisions of section 9(2) Crime (International Cooperation) Act 2003 and be contrary to public interest because the disclosure would undermine the mutual legal assistance regime.

Moylan J reviewed and considered the international instruments which States may make use of to obtain and provide information.  The Judge also considered the concerns raised on behalf of the Secretary of State by the UK Head of Central Authority and the CPS to the extent that undertakings given in return for the provision of information to the UK may be breached if disclosure was made.

Moylan J determined that the prospects of the court being able to effect justice would be likely to be very considerably enhanced by the disclosure of the information sought by the wife.  The Judge was also satisfied that the brief glimpses he had had of the documents would be very likely to be of considerable significance to the wife in her set-aside application.

The appeal is expected to be heard in November 2012.

This news item is derived from Richard Tambling's case summary. Moylan J's judgment can be read here.