No second bite at the cherry

Sometimes a final hearing doesn’t go as the client wanted. And sometimes the client will ask whether an extra little bit of information might have made a difference then wants to try to put that piece of information before the court. Can that be done?

In the case of AR v ML 2019 EWFC 56 the husband argued that wife needed £350,000 for a house and the wife argued that she needed £525,000 but didn’t produce any housing particulars in support. The judge thought £410,000 was appropriate but after the judge’s announcement wife sought an adjournment for her to put housing particulars into court. The judge agreed the adjournment. The husband appealed

The High court concluded that in the absence of fraud finality in litigation is highly desirable. Parties have an obligation of due diligence to make sure that necessary information is in front of the court first time out. It is not appropriate to find out what court says and then to try to change what you don’t like. Not liking an order is not a ground of appeal.

The High Court felt that the judge’s decision to adjourn was plainly wrong and overturned it.

So – if a point is to be litigated all of the available evidence for the court to consider must be presented at the first hearing. There is no second bite at the cherry.

Ian Stirzaker

Ian is the Senior Partner and Head of Family Law at SME Solicitors. Please contact him or Joanna Gardner for specialist help and advice in all aspects of family law at   or


Added: 09 Jun 2020 15:03

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