24 Oct 2016, 55 mins ago

A landmark Supreme Court decision has major implications for lawyers advising clients with a former spouse whose financial situation has changed greatly since divorce.

In Wyatt v Vince, the court ruled that the ex-wife of energy supplier Ecotricity’s founder could proceed with a claim against her now wealthy former husband, even though it is more than 20 years since they divorced.

The ruling appears to pave the way for anyone without a completed financial order to bring a claim against an ex spouse regardless of how long they have been divorced. However, lawyers are divided on whether it will lead to a flood of historic cases being reopened.

Jo Edwards, chair of Resolution, said ‘The Supreme Court has made it clear that the draconian power to strike out family proceedings simply does not exist, but stresses that the court will consider the merit of such applications on a case-by-case basis.’

Pointing to the potential for a stream of new claims, the number of divorces with no accompanying financial remedy order (financial order) has been steadily growing, reaching 50,000 in 2012 alone.