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Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 periodical payments application dismissed in ‘superrich’ father case

Latest application was ‘nothing more than a second repetition' of mother's dissatisfaction with quantum

Mr Justice Bodey in the High Court has dismissed a mother's application for increased periodical payments under Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 in a case in which the father was said to be a member of a royal family that "appears to rank pretty clearly among the superrich."

In GN v MA [2015] EWHC 3939 (Fam) the mother's (M's) latest application for an increase in periodical payments was found to be "nothing more than a second repetition… of her dissatisfaction with the quantum" of the March 2013 periodical payments order and a dissatisfaction on which the Court of Appeal had ruled and the Supreme Court refused.

M applied for the father (F) of a boy, C, aged 7, to increase substantially periodical payments made under Sch 1 to the Children Act 1989 from £204,000 p.a. to ca. £780,000 p.a. M also sought orders for various debts of hers to be paid off by F, including legal costs; and for additional sums to be paid for holidays and medical expenses for C. F cross-applied for summary dismissal of M's applications and for a s. 91(14) CA 1989 order.

There had been a history of litigation in relation to C. This included: (1) a final hearing in March 2013 at which F was ordered to purchase a property for M and C, to pay off M's debts amounting to £770,000 and to pay periodical payments of index-linked £204,000 p.a.; (2) a further hearing in December 2013 in which Bodey J dismissed M's application for an upward variation in periodical payments; (3) an unsuccessful full appeal to the Court of Appeal in December 2014 against the periodical payments order; and (4) refusal by the Supreme Court of permission to appeal in April 2015.

F asked that M's latest application be struck out or dismissed summarily; M that it be adjourned so that it could be better prepared now that she was not acting in person. Bodey J referred to Wyatt v Vince [2015] UKSC 4 in holding that M's application was "identical ... to one which had already been dismissed", at [32], and therefore open to strike out. In the alternative, Bodey J held that the application should, by reference to the factors at clause 4 of Sch. 1 to Children Act 1989, be dismissed summarily, as should the applications for medical expenses and holidays. M's costs bill to her former solicitor was left to M to "sort out as best she can", at [43].

A final issue, concerning a trust that owned the property in which M and C live, was left to the parties to sort out through negotiation or mediation – or, failing that, to be returned to the court.

For the judgment and summary by Alex Laing of Coram Chambers, from which this item is derived, please click here.