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Matrimonial Causes (Northern Ireland) Order 1978

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Avoidance of transactions intended to prevent or reduce financial reliefN.I.

39.—(1) For the purposes of this Article “financial relief” means relief under any of the provisions of Articles 24, 25, 26,[F1 26A,] 29, 33 (except paragraph (6)) and 37, and any reference in this Article to defeating a person's claim for financial relief is a reference to preventing financial relief from being granted to that person, or to that person for the benefit of a child of the family, or reducing the amount of any financial relief which might be so granted, or frustrating or impeding the enforcement of any order which might be or has been made at his instance under any of those provisions.

(2) Where proceedings for financial relief are brought by one person against another, the court may, on the application of the first-mentioned person—

(a)if it is satisfied that the other party to the proceedings is, with the intention of defeating the claim for financial relief, about to make any disposition or to transfer out of the jurisdiction or otherwise deal with any property, make such order as it thinks fit for restraining the other party from so doing or otherwise for protecting the claim;

(b)if it is satisfied that the other party has, with that intention, made a reviewable disposition and that if the disposition were set aside financial relief or different financial relief would be granted to the applicant, make an order setting aside the disposition;

(c)if it is satisfied, in a case where an order has been obtained under any of the provisions mentioned in paragraph (1) by the applicant against the other party, that the other party has, with that intention, made a reviewable disposition, make an order setting aside the disposition;

and an application for the purposes of sub-paragraph ( b) shall be made in the proceedings for the financial relief in question.

(3) An order made by the court under paragraph (2)( a), to the extent that it restrains the other party to the proceedings for financial relief from making a disposition of any land in Northern Ireland which is specified in the order,—

(a)shall create on the land a statutory charge within the meaning of section 87 of the Land Registration Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 [1970 c.18] (matters registrable in the Statutory Charges Register); and

(b)subject to section 88 of that Act (statutory charge to be void against purchaser in certain circumstances), shall render liable to be set aside by the court, at the instance of the applicant for financial relief, any disposition of the land in contravention of the order.

(4) Neither paragraph (3)( b) nor section 88(1) of the said Act of 1970 shall prejudice any power of the court to set aside a disposition under paragraph (2)( b) or ( c).

(5) Without prejudice to any provision of section 91 of the said Act of 1970 (cancellation and modification of statutory charges), the registration of a statutory charge such as is mentioned in paragraph (3)( a) [F2 shall be effective until—

(a)the expiration of the period of one year from the date of its registration or of the last renewal of its registration, unless the registration is renewed or further renewed before the expiration of that period; or

(b)the court orders that it is to cease to have effect;

and when the registration ceases to have effect the Registrar of Titles may cancel it.]

(6) An application for the renewal, under paragraph (5)( a), of the registration of a charge may be made in the same manner as the application for the original registration.

(7) Where the court makes an order under paragraph (2)( b) or ( c) or (3)( b) setting aside a disposition it shall give such consequential directions as it thinks fit for giving effect to the order (including directions requiring the making of any payments or the disposal of any property).

(8) Any disposition made by the other party to the proceedings for financial relief in question (whether before or after the commencement of those proceedings) is a reviewable disposition for the purposes of paragraph (2)( b) and ( c) unless it was made for valuable consideration (other than marriage) to a person who, at the time of the disposition, acted in relation to it in good faith and without notice of any intention on the part of the other party to defeat the applicant's claim for financial relief.

(9) Where an application is made under this Article with respect to a disposition which took place less than three years before the date of the application or with respect to a disposition or other dealing with property which is about to take place and the court is satisfied—

(a)in a case falling within paragraph (2)( a) or ( b), that the disposition or other dealing would (apart from this Article) have the consequence, or

(b)in a case falling within paragraph (2)( c), that the disposition has had the consequence,

of defeating the applicant's claim for financial relief, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is shown, that the person who disposed of or is about to dispose of or deal with the property did so or, as the case may be, is about to do so, with the intention of defeating the applicant's claim for financial relief.

(10) In this Article “disposition” does not include any provision contained in a will or codicil but, with that exception, includes any conveyance, assurance or gift of property of any description, whether made by an instrument or otherwise.

(11) This Article does not apply to a disposition made more than three years before the commencement of this Article.

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