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Pre-Nup Ruling Brings Important Clarity To England And Wales

Expert Reacts To Radmacher Case


The Supreme Court has ruled that an appeal in the case has been successful setting a precedent which should now mean that properly prepared pre-nuptial agreements are more legally binding in the UK.

Elizabeth Hicks, Partner in the Family Law team at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This ruling gives important clarity in the UK as to the enforceability of pre-nuptial agreements by providing guidance on the legal status to those involved in divorce and family law. At Irwin Mitchell we have clients all over the country through our network of regional teams who will be affected by this as well as international clients who have a base in England.”

“Today’s decision  made it plain that if a pre nuptial agreement is entered into freely  “with a full appreciation of its implications” then it will be upheld. The decision means that that it is more important than ever to obtain legal advice on a prenuptial agreement .There is still a get out clause if it is found to be unfair and the test of fairness  "depends upon the facts of the particular case, and it would not be desirable to lay down rules that would fetter the flexibility that the court requires to reach a fair result".

.Furthermore, although this is a case based on multi-million pound settlements, it is of huge importance to family law generally.

“While pre nuptial agreements may not currently be considered the most romantic notion when getting married, this case highlights their importance. If situations do change, and couples do unfortunately find themselves separating, a pre-nuptial agreement will now under this decision could save many headaches, not to mention costs, arising from fighting each other through the courts provided that the agreement is fair in the first place.

“If a couple wants to enter into a pre nuptial agreement then, providing they meet the prerequisites and consider both their current and future situation, they should be able to have confidence that it will stand up in court, if needed, in the future.”

“This ruling means that England and Wales has now finally caught up with the rest of Europe’s major nations in terms of family law. Pre nuptial agreements were already legally binding on the continent in a number of countries and it is good to see that the Supreme Court has now made the decision to bring England and Wales in line.”