This case concerned the application by CB, the husband to set aside two consent orders made in 2010 and 2013, relying on facts which did not satisfy the traditional grounds for setting aside a final order. The former order provided for equal division of assets, including the profits of properties still in development. The latter provided that CB would pay two lump sums of £410,000 and £250,000.

CB argued both orders should be varied due to the financial effect of one of the development properties selling for much less than anticipated in 2016, and the fact that the other property was repossessed and under offer. He additionally asserted that a lump sum payment of £3.5m should be made to him by his former wife.

Mostyn J considered the “traditional grounds” on which financial orders could be varied under s.31 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the common law [17-20]. While Mostyn J reaffirmed the existence of a general ‘set aside’ power in s.31F(6) of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, as stated in Sharland v Sharland [2015] UKSC 60, Gohil v Gohil  [2015] UKSC 61 and Norman v Norman [2017] EWCA Civ 120.  He did not agree that this provision represented a “brave new world” [55] for setting aside financial orders on grounds outside the traditional grounds. The court had no wide-reaching powers to set aside an order where there had been materially altered circumstances as in this instance.

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