Roocroft reminds solicitors dealing with contentious probate claims that disclosure must be full and accurate or court orders may be set aside…Roocroft v Ball  EWCA Civ 1009 concerned a couple, Helen Roocroft and Carol Ainscow, who separated in September 2009. In the proceedings for dissolution of their civil partnership they entered into a consent order to settle financial remedy proceedings. The consent order included maintenance for two years, then Roocroft would have no further claims against Ainscow or her estate. Ainscow died intestate in 2013.
Roocroft became concerned about the disclosed level of assets at the time of the consent order in 2010 and applied to set it aside based on material non-disclosure by Ainscow of her true financial position.
In a recent case Roocroft v Ball (2016) the Court of Appeal overturned a decision made in Chester Court in 2014. A decision made prior to the Judgments in Vince v Wyatt and Sharland and Gohil. Cases which were then pivotal in decision made by the Court of Appeal.The case has attracted a lot of press. An article in the Solicitors Journal as cited below states the case is to now be “remitted to the Family Division for further consideration…the court will be asked (sic) to make directions for a fact-finding hearing to consider the deceased non disclosure in light of the decisions in Wyatt, Sharland and Gohil. It is important and now somewhat overlooked the fact that the judgment from the Court of Appeal has no finding of fact. The Court of Appeal found no ‘non disclosure’. To date the Court has found no evidence which was withheld or undisclosed by the deceased Defendant.The Judgment from the Court of Appeal is important in that it reaffirms the findings in Wyatt, Sharland and Gohil. The case of Roocroft v Ball (2016) does not sit on all fours with these cases and it is now a matter for the High Court to determine whether there was any non disclosure.