It should be noted that although the matrimonial home itself was also owned by one of the companies, it was established in the Court of Appeal that this was held on trust for Mrs Prest and did not form part of the appeal to the Supreme Court. *You can also browse our support articles here >. In the weeks preceding the Supreme Court’s decision in Petrodel Resources Ltd v Prest, 1 the case was the subject of much attention and commentary, both in the media and legal circles. The Supreme Court in Prest v Petrodel was also concerned with achieving justice for the claimant, and in the VTB case Lord Neuberger said: ‘it may be right for the law to permit the veil to be pierced in certain circumstances in order to defeat injustice’. The ability of the court to order the transfer of the properties to the wife granted that they legally belong not to Mr. Prest but to his companies. The appeal concerns the position of a number of companies belonging to the Petrodel Group which were wholly owned and controlled by Michael Prest, the husband. Introduction On 12 June 2013 the UK Supreme Court delivered judgment in Prest v Petrodel, a divorce case, and decided that properties purchased in the name of companies owned and controlled by the husband were held on trust for him and thus formed part of his assets. The court was asked as to the power of the court to order the transfer of assets owned entirely in the company’s names. A person is under an existing legal obligation or liability or subject to an existing legal restriction which he deliberately evades or whose enforcement he deliberately frustrates by interposing a company under his control”. Introduction. The leading judgment was given by Lord Sumption, who observed that the law relating to the circumstances in which it would be permissible for the courts to pierce the corporate veil was characterised by “inadequate reasoning”.10 Despite this confusion in the law, Lord Sumption asserted that the position established in Adams v Cape Industries11, is that the doctrine of veil piercing required some dishonesty on the part of the company member and was not simply a device that could be employed to ensure justice in a particular case.12 His lordship went on to observe that this principle had been affirmed Trustor AB v Smallbone (No 2)13 in which it was also established that the dishonesty must involve company law being used as a sham or façade to disguise the true ownership of property. PRESS SUMMARY Prest (Appellant) v Petrodel Resources Limited & Others (Respondents) [2013] UKSC 34 . Prest v Petrodel (Supreme Court) A welcome clarifying authority on the principle of piercing the corporate veil Prest v Petrodel Resources Limited & Others [2013] UKSC 34 It is a fundamental principle of corporate law that a company and its members have separate legal personalities (Salomon v … Registered Data Controller No: Z1821391. the court did in this case. The divorcing couple, Mr and Mrs Prest, were wealthy. The Supreme Court's ruling in the landmark divorce case, Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] UKSC 34, confirmed that placing assets into corporate structures for wealth protection reasons might not now protect that wealth against divorce claimants. Lord Neuberger, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption. Many of the assets (primarily properties in London) were held by overseas companies controlled by the husband. Wife claimed that the properties held by the companies belonged beneficially to the husband. In 2011, Moylan J gave judgment in the case of Prest. Student I'D: 694321The judgment of the Supreme Court in the case Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd 5 represents a consistent reluctance against disregarding the corporate veil. Case Summary The Supreme Court has recently given judgment in the case Prest (Appellant) v Petrodel Resources Limited and others (Respondents), following an appeal from the Court of Appeal. The relatively short and significant judgment in the Supreme Court case of Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd has gathered vociferous interest from academics and practitioners. When the companies were incorporated there was no implication of impropriety. As the legal title of the properties was owned by the companies, the wife argued that the court should lift the veil since the husband was entitled to the properties because he owns shares in the companies. The Supreme Court has just handed down its judgment in the landmark case of Prest v. Petrodel. 16th Jul 2019 Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd 2013. The “well-recognised With these two judgments the Supreme Court have In view of all that had … They owned a substantial matrimonial home in the UK and a second home in Nevis.5 Mrs Prest contended that her husband’s wealth vastly exceeded this and argued that properties held by several companies of which Mr Prest “wholly owned and controlled” were in reality owned by him. Since Salomon v Salomon, it has been well established in UK law that a company has a separate personality to that of its members, and that such members cannot be liable for the debts of a company beyond their … John Wilson QC of 1 Hare Court analyses the Supreme Court’s judgment in the landmark case of Prest v Petrodel and considers its implications for family lawyers. The Supreme Court has recently given judgment in the case Prest (Appellant) v Petrodel Resources Limited and others (Respondents), following an appeal from the Court of Appeal. Firstly, although the case does make it clear that veil piercing will only be appropriate where there has been evasion of liabilities and where no other remedy of law will provide an appropriate remedy, as shown above, the judgment gives no indication of precisely the circumstances in which the veil may still be pierced and thus the decision should be seen only as contributing further to the uncertainties surrounding this area of law. New Judgment: Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd & Ors [2013] UKSC 34. John Wilson QC , 1 Hare Court In the 24 hours since the Supreme Court published its landmark decision in Prest v Prestodel Resources Ltd & Others ("Prest") there has been a tsunami of commentary upon its consequences. His wife of 15 years claimed that he and Petrodel were one and the same, and that she should have a multi-million pound award funded from the companies’ properties. It is that the interposition of a company or perhaps several companies so as to conceal the identity of the real actors will not deter the courts from identifying them, assuming that their identity is legally relevant. Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd 45- '6:; ') Salomon v A Salomon & Co Ltd 4 8>96 ( 55 T rustor AB v Smallbone 45-- 6 5 )'? BACKGROUND TO THE APPEAL In Prest v Petrodel Resources Limited the Supreme Court considered the basis on which the corporate veil might be pierced (see post).The comments were strictly speaking obiter and were made in the context of a case concerning transfer of properties following a divorce. Wife claimed that the properties held by the companies belonged beneficially to the husband. Prest v Petrodel case In a ruling handed down yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld the decision made by the original High Court trial judge in the case of Prest ordering Mr Michael Prest, a wealthy oil tycoon and founder of Petrodel Resources, to transfer properties legally owned and held in However, he argued that he wasn’t at all entitled to the properties. The Supreme Court's ruling in the landmark divorce case, Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] UKSC 34, confirmed that placing assets into corporate structures for wealth protection reasons might not now protect that wealth against divorce claimants. This case summary discusses the UK Supreme Court case of Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] UKSC 34; [2013] 2 AC 415; [2013] 3 WLR 1 in which the majority held that the corporate veil should only be pierced where all other remedies were not available. This paper examines the Supreme Court’s most recent endeavour to elucidate the doctrine of piercing the Prest v Petrodel – a new court approach to corporate structures Background Prest v Petrodel was a “big money” divorce case, concerning assets worth in excess of £17.5million. The case was originally heard in the family court6 as an application for ancillary relief by the wife in a case of divorcing spouses, where it was held by Moylan LJ that although there was no general principle by which the corporate veil could be pierced, this was possible under section 24(1)(a) of the Matrimonial Causes Act.7 Three of the companies of which Mr Prest was the majority shareholder appealed to the Court of Appeal, in which the majority criticised not only Moylan LJ’s dicta but the general practice of the family courts to use the MCA to pierce the corporate veil and asserted that in the absence of abuse of the Salomon principle, the law did not permit this.8 Patten LJ asserted that this practice “amounts almost to a separate system of legal rules unaffected by the relevant principles of English property and company law”9 and must cease. He failed to comply with the court orders requiring for full and frank disclosure of his financial position, and the companies also failed to file a defence or at least to comply with orders for disclosure. The issue for the Supreme Court was how to ensure that, particularly in cases of divorcing spouses and in single-man companies, company law could not be used as a tool to conceal assets or avoid liability in relation to those assets, whilst maintaining the integrity of the Salomon principle. However, this author finds such a view difficult to accept. 5 Mrs Prest contended that her husband’s wealth vastly exceeded this and argued that properties held by several companies of which Mr Prest “wholly owned and controlled” were in reality owned by him. Claim by Mrs. Prest for ancillary relief under section 23 and 24 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in divorce proceedings against Mr. Prest. Mr. Prest was the sole owner of numerous offshore companies. The three companies, each in the substantial ownership of the husband, challenged the orders made against them saying there was no jurisdiction to order their property to be conveyed to the.. Reference this The most crucial part in the case was whether the husband was entitled to the properties? One of Mr Prest’s failings was to provide funding without properly documented loans or capital subscription. Section 24(1)(a) of the MCA 1973 states that: “the court may make…an order that a party to the marriage shall transfer to the other party…property to which the first-mentioned party is entitled, either in possession or reversion”. Do you have a 2:1 degree or higher? Piercing The Corporate Veil: Prest Vs Petrodel Resources The Supreme Court has handed down a landmark judgement in favour of Mrs Prest in high profile matrimonial dispute. JUSTICES: Lord Neuberger (President), Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption . The value of the judgement was not in question, as the courts had already ruled the husband – a Nigerian oil tycoon – would have to pay his wife £17.5m, largely due to his conduct during the case, and he was not arguing over this. The case is of great significance. They owned a substantial matrimonial home in the UK and a second home in Nevis. Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd emphasises the importance of properly and transparently running companies. This case summary discusses the UK Supreme Court case of Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] UKSC 34; [2013] 2 AC 415; [2013] 3 WLR 1 in which the majority held that the corporate veil should only be pierced where all other remedies were not available. John Wilson QC of 1 Hare Court analyses the Supreme Court’s judgment in the landmark case of Prest v Petrodel and considers its implications for family lawyers. Neutral citation number [2013] UKSC 34. Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] UKSC 34. ... Prest33 was a matrimonial case in which the Supreme Court did not pierce the corporate veil since the company was established prior to the matrimonial dispute.34 Lord Sumption identified two separate principles regarding The case concerned a very high value divorce. Free resources to assist you with your legal studies! The corporate veil is a metaphorical phrase, established in the landmark case of Salomon v Salomon & Co Ltd 6 . Justices. Lord Sumption asserted however that the terms sham or façade should be replaced with ‘evasion’ and ‘concealment’.14 Where there has been concealment of liability, he argued, there will be no need to pierce the corporate veil because, as Lord Neuberger agreed, all that would be required would be to look behind the veil to establish the true actors.15 Lord Sumption asserted that this was the position adopted by Lord Neuberger in VTB16, although he argued that due to the fact that the court in that case had not needed to pierce the veil, it could not be used as authority in Prest.17 The judgement in Prest therefore clarified that piercing the corporate veil would only be possible when company law had been used to evade liability, although this alone would not be enough, and that even where such impropriety had arisen, it would usually be possible to apply another area of law in order to grant a remedy,18 in this case the application of trust principles to ensure Mrs Prest was entitled to a beneficial interest in the properties. Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others: SC 12 Jun 2013 In the course of ancillary relief proceedings in a divorce, questions arose regarding company assets owned by the husband. This author would submit that cynicism aside, it remains the unfortunate position that although Prest has limited the doctrine by confirming that it is only to be used as a remedy of last resort, a future decision will be required to confirm exactly when the doctrine may be applied. Mrs Prest appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. Mr. Prest was the sole owner of numerous offshore companies. Here Mr. Prest was seriously wealthy and owned several numbers of companies which to whom his real properties were transferred to the companies. Disclaimer: This work was produced by one of our expert legal writers, as a learning aid to help law students with their studies. Michael Prest, founder of Petrodel Resources, had claimed that Petrodel’s assets did not belong to him and that he was £48m in debt. Case ID. In Prest v Petrodel UKSC 34 the English Supreme Court undertook a review of the principles of English law which determine in what circumstances, if any, a court may set aside the separate legal personality of a company from its members and attribute to … Appeal from – Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others v Prest and Others CA 26-Oct-2012 The parties had disputed ancillary relief on their divorce. 2 Introduction In a landmark judgment delivered on 12 June 2013 in the case of Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others1, the United Kingdom Supreme Court (UKSC) reviewed the law relating to piercing the corporate veil. The judgment of the Supreme Court in Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd [2013] UKSC 34 was eagerly anticipated by family and corporate lawyers alike. Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd concerned the financial settlement following the divorce of a Nigerian oil trader, Michael Prest, and his wife Yasmin. 2 VTB Capital v Nutritek International Corporation and Others 2013 UKSC 5 per Lloyd LJ at 47, 3 P Breakey, ‘Is Piercing the Veil Contrary to High Authority: A Footnote to the Never Ending Story’ (2013) Comp Law 34(11) 352-355, 355, 4 L Linklater, ‘Piercingthe Corporate Veil’: The Never Ending Story?” (2006) 27 Company Lawyer 65, title, 6 Prest v Prest, Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others 2011 EWHC 2956 (Fam), 8 Petrodel Resources Ltd & Others v Prest & Others 2012 EWCA Civ 1395 per Rimer LJ at 136, 11 Adams v Cape Industries Plc 1990 Ch 433, 13 Trustor AB v Smallbone (No 2) 2001 1 WLR 1177, 20 E Roxburgh, ‘Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd: Cold Comfort for Mrs Prest in Scotland’ (2013) SLT 32 223-225, 225, 21 JHY Chan, ‘Should ‘Reverse Piercing’ of the Corporate Veil be Introduced in English Law’ (2014) Comp Law 35(6) 163-171, 163, 22 P Bailey, ‘2013: That Was The Year That Was in Company Law’ Co. L.N. Registered office: Venture House, Cross Street, Arnold, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG5 7PJ. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of LawTeacher.net. One of the companies was the legal owner of five residential properties in the UK and another was the legal owner of two more. The Supreme Court unanimously overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision. 2014, 347, 1-4,2, 23 S Peppy, ‘Cheat’s Charter Endorsed – Existing Family Division Practice Must Now Cease’ (2012) Family Affairs 56 Winter, 10. Mr Prest wholly owned and controlled (directly or indirectly, through intermediate entities) a number of non-UK resident companies which, between them, owned seven residential properties in the UK. Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd & Others [2013] UKSC 34 Introduction. Since Salomon v Salomon,1 it has been well established in UK law that a company has a separate personality to that of its members, and that such members cannot be liable for the debts of a company beyond their initial financial contribution to it. Some commentators have asserted that the decision in Prest is to be “welcomed”20 as although it does confirm that the Salomon principle remains a cornerstone of UK company law,21 it also recognises that there will be circumstances in which the veil can be pierced in order to grant a remedy. Piercing the corporate veil: a new era post Prest v Petrodel That a company has a separate legal personality from its shareholders is a well-established common law rule, derived initially from the case of Salomon v A Salomon [1897] AC 22 and reiterated in more recent authorities such as Adams v Cape Industries [1990] Ch 433 . There is perhaps some room to Lord Sumption distinguished the concealment and evasion principle: “The concealment principle is legally banal and does not involve piercing the corporate veil at all. To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below: Our academic writing and marking services can help you! The judgment of the UK Supreme Court in the case of Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others [2013] UKSC 34 is undoubtedly significant in relation to the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil. Looking for a flexible role? However, there have been circumstances in which the courts have been prepared to “pierce the veil”2 of corporate personality to find the members of the company liable for company actions in certain circumstances. Prest v Petrodel – a new court approach to corporate structures Background Prest v Petrodel was a “big money” divorce case, concerning assets worth in excess of £17.5million. The relatively short judgment in the United Kingdom Supreme Court case of Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd1(herein, Prest) has garnered vociferous interest from academics and practitioners. Introduction On 12 June 2013 the UK Supreme Court delivered judgment in Prest v Petrodel, a divorce case, and decided that properties purchased in the name of companies owned and controlled by the husband were held on trust for him and thus formed part of his assets. There is perhaps some room to Prest was of particular interest because of the legal cross-over between family law and corporate It was of key interest as it was a legal cross over between family law and company law. The companies were 5 Lord Sumption at para 27 of Prest v Petrodel Resources Limited [2013] UKSC 34 UKSC 2013/0004. Appeal by a number of companies concerning the court’s jurisdiction in financial remedy proceedings to order one party to transfer or cause to be transferred to the other, properties owned by the companies. This is a case with regard to family law. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd UKSC 34, 2 AC 415 is a leading UK company law decision of the UK Supreme Court concerning the nature of the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil, resulting trusts and equitable proprietary remedies in the context of English family law. The law in this area has been rife with conflicting principles and many commentators felt that the Supreme Court decision in Prest v Petrodel provided a unique opportunity3 to resolve the “never ending story”4 of when the corporate veil can be pierced. On appeal from: [2012] EWCA Civ 1395 . Company Registration No: 4964706. Is piercing the corporate veil possible under the special power given under s.24 MCA 1973? In some instances the properties had been Indeed, one rather cynical commentator has argued that Lord Sumption “almost seemed relieved”22 that the veil could not be pierced in Prest because it meant he did not need to determine the “definitive”23 circumstances in which the veil may be pierced in the future. Veil-piercing jurisprudence serves as a graphic illustration of the perplexities bedevilling juridical understandings of the modern company. 45-- 6 7 I 99 4556 It is that the court may disregard the corporate veil if there is a legal right against the person in control of it which exists independently of the company’s involvement, and a company is interposed so that the separate legal personality of the company will defeat the right or frustrate its enforcement”. 4 Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd and others [2013] UKSC 34. This is a case with regard to family law. 12 Jun 2013. 12 Wednesday Jun 2013 The Prest v Petrodel decision followed another Supreme Court judgment where the issue was considered at length, VTB Capital plc v Nutritek International Corp and others [2013] UKSC 5, although the VTB case was decided on another ground so carries less legal weight. Another was to take funds from the companies whenever he wished, without right or company authority. Prest v Petrodel (Supreme Court) A welcome clarifying authority on the principle of piercing the corporate veil Prest v Petrodel Resources Limited & Others [2013] UKSC 34 It is a fundamental principle of corporate law that a company and its members have separate legal personalities (Salomon v … He followed Adams v Cape Industries in rejecting the submission as applied to case (iii). The relatively short and significant judgment in the Supreme Court case of Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd has gathered vociferous interest from academics and practitioners.It was of key interest as it was a legal cross over between family law and company law. Prest (Appellant) v Petrodel Resources Limited and others (Respondents) Judgment date. VAT Registration No: 842417633. In doing so, the Supreme Court has ordered divorced husband, Michael Prest, to transfer to his former wife, Yasmin Prest, properties held by companies owned and controlled by him, as part of a £17.5m divorce award. The Supreme Court in Prest v Petrodel was also concerned with achieving justice for the claimant, and in the VTB case Lord Neuberger said: ‘it may be right for the law to permit the veil to be pierced in certain circumstances in order to defeat injustice’. On the facts of the case the court did not consider that the grounds were made out to pierce the corporate veil and ignore the separate legal personalities of the Petrodel group of companies. The Supreme Court rejected lifting the veil but instead found a resulting trust. Prest therefore established that although it is possible that the corporate veil may be pierced in some circumstances, it is not clear what these circumstances are beyond the fact that the remedy is only a last resort19 and as such it seems that the decision failed to take advantage of the opportunity to clarify the law. Petrodel Resources Ltd & Ors v Prest & Ors [2012] EWCA Civ 1395. Take a look at some weird laws from around the world! In these cases the court is not disregarding the “facade”, but only looking behind it to discover the facts which the corporate structure is concealing.”, “The evasion principle is different. 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