Divorce & Matrimonial Finance

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The Family Finance team at Becket Chambers specialises in all aspects of matrimonial and family finance, from cases concerning modest assets through to high value cases. Members have considerable experience in dealing with injunctive relief, businesses, trusts, third party interests and cases involving an international dimension.

Our members regularly deal with applications for financial provision for children and other relief following the breakdown of a relationship.

Our expertise:

  • Fair division of the assets following separation
  • Financial orders for children
  • Transfer of tenancies
  • Cases involving companies, partnerships or trusts
  • Inherited or pre-acquired wealth
  • Family property rights on insolvency
  • Cases involving assets acquired from third parties, whether by gift or loan

We also have expertise in related financial applications such as:

  • Schedule I of the Children Act 1989
  • Providing advice on calculations under the Child Support Act 1991
  • Applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Applications under the Married Women’s Property Act 1882

The team has experience and expertise in appearing in courts at all levels within the Family Court.

We also undertake and act for clients in cohabitee disputes. Several members of the team are also qualified mediators.

Case Studies

Representing a Respondent on a Remote MPS Hearing

Represented the Respondent at an urgent remote Maintenance Pending Suite (“MPS”) hearing at which the Court needed to consider the facts and issues in the context of Covid-19. Court awarded the Applicant the amount that the Respondent had agreed to pay as an interim award.

Divorce & Matrimonial Finance Articles

Waiving Privilege: Legal Professional Privilege and AG v VD [2020] EWHC 1847 (Fam).

To feel able to speak freely with your lawyer is a fundamental principle which is integral to the proper working of any justice system. A sine qua non. At common law, this principle takes the form of legal professional privilege. Legal professional privilege affords the client the legal right to withhold lawyer and client communications, Continue reading

Permission to Appeal & Barder in Lockdown Plus Children Arbitration is the Answer

Two short but troubling issues in troubled times: Can the FR Appeal Court hold a one-sided oral permission hearing without formal notice to the Respondent? Does the pandemic/lockdown amount to a Barder event? Plus Arbitration simply is the answer, especially for children. Permission to Appeal Hearing I have recently had to consider whether it is Continue reading

Muslim Non-Marriages

Hall v Jagger; Akhter v Khan: void, voidable and non- marriages. In 1999, Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger separated and in a move heralding a long and acrimonious legal battle, Jagger sensationally released a public statement saying that he would be contesting Jerry Hall’s petition for divorce on the grounds that he and Jerry Hall Continue reading

The President of the Family Division’s New Guidance on Reporting in the Family Courts (3rd October 2019)

Faced with the competing claims of transparency and privacy, free speech and family life, family law will always incline towards the latter. Its first instincts are protective, guarding the intimacies and lives of its own subject families and, particularly, its children.[1] First and foremost, family proceedings are and remain private matters. This fundamental principle holds Continue reading

ALI V BARBOSA[2019] EWHC 2776 (Fam)– Void or Voidable. Maintaining the discretion of the family court and the importance of the circumstances of the case

In October 2019, Mrs Justice Lieven DBE considered an application by a husband that the wife’s divorce proceedings, and the decree absolute, should be set aside for breaches in relation to service of the proceedings. The case gives an insight into when the courts may consider proceedings for divorce void or voidable and is a Continue reading

Some Further Thoughts on Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Further to my previous article on pre-nuptial agreements, I have recently had cause to consider the overlap between the various possible vitiating factors, particularly undue influence and legal advice. Following on from Lord Phillip’s consideration in Radmacher of the vitiating or weight reducing factors of duress, fraud, misrepresentation, undue pressure and unworthy conduct such as Continue reading

Pre-Nuptial Agreements – The Cracks in Radmacher – Are the Courts nibbling away at Pre-Nuptials from both ends?

The very recent decision of Mostyn J in Ipekci v McConnell [2019] EWFC 19 illustrates the fragility of Pre-Nuptial Agreements (“PNAs” hereafter) from one end (vitiation) and the same case and other recent decisions do so from the other end (the extent to which they bind the court even if valid). These two ends of Continue reading

Becket Family Mediation – the process – a brief overview of the steps

First, make contact with the mediation clerks, who will provide you with some information and send you a referral form to complete. Complete your referral form and return it to the mediation clerks, who will then set up an initial session for you to attend with the mediator (on your own). Attend an intake/MIAM session Continue reading

Sharing or only Needs?

Despite the judgement of Baron J Radmacher v Granatino [2010] UKSC 42 at para 84 that It is the court that determines the result after applying the Act. The court grants the award and formulates the order with the parties’ agreement being but one factor in the process and, perhaps, in the right cases, it Continue reading

Non-Matrimonial Assets

When is something that appears to be a matrimonial asset not in fact a matrimonial asset and how does a non-matrimonial asset become a matrimonial asset and, what difference does it make? The very recent High Court case of IX v IY [2018] EWHC 3053 (fam) concerns this issue and, whilst my colleague Dean Thistle Continue reading

Open All Hours? Flexible Operating Hours for Family and Civil Courts

On the 16th November 2018 the Flexible Operating Hours (“FOH”) Pilots: Prospectus for Civil and Family Court Pilots was published. HM Courts and Tribunals Service (“HMCTS”) announced that early and late sittings will now be trialled over six months in civil and family courts in Manchester Civil Justice Centre and Brentford County Court, commencing in Continue reading

Financial Remedy: Pension Overview, Off-Setting and Duxbury Re-Visited

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the Court’s approach to pensions in financial remedy proceedings generally and revisit specific issues such as pension off-setting and Duxbury calculations raised in my previous article published in July 2016 under the title, “Financial Remedy: Pension Values and Offsetting – Quo Vadimus”. PENSION OVERVIEW Continue reading

Upward variation of periodical payments after the recipient’s financial recklessness – an answer at last!

In February 2017 I wrote an article on the case of Mills v. Mills [2017] EWCA Civ 129 (http://becket-chambers.co.uk/2017/02/28/upward-variation-periodical-payments-recipients-financial-recklessness-political-hot-potato/) which considered whether capital needs could, in effect, be revisited in a future application to vary periodical payments. The case has now been reconsidered by the Supreme Court; here I provide a reminder of the original Continue reading

A roundup of the President’s lecture on a unified, re-vamped family court

It is a familiar problem. A divorce is being endured. It is, by definition, fractious and, most importantly, still fractious in respect of the children. Or, put in lawyer’s tongue, there are ongoing matrimonial finance proceedings, in which the children are the first consideration (section 25 (1) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973) but the “child arrangements” Continue reading

Take “Hart,” Judges Will Use Their Powers Including Imprisonment To Punish Contempt In Relation To Non Production Of Documents.

Have you ever felt frustrated by the Courts’ reluctance to use its powers to enforce disclosure?   In the latest round in the long running bout of Hart v Hart, HHJ Wildblood QC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge has sentenced the Husband (H) to 14 months imprisonment for contempt for failing to produce documents Continue reading

The 18th View from the President’s Chambers “The on-going process of reform – Financial Remedies Courts”

Last month, Sir James Munby published his 18th View from the President’s Chambers. “The on-going process of reform – Financial Remedies Courts” expands upon the 17th View (“divorce and money – where are we and where are we going?” [2017] Fam Law 607) and the “President’s Circular: Financial Remedies Courts” [2018] Fam Law 91. The Continue reading

The Collaborative Process

Following separation, the traditional process of resolution of issues through correspondence or the court process works for many. But, whether to avoid the long delays caused by court listings, the cost of complying with directions or simply the adversarial nature of disputes, an increasing number are now seeking a more amicable resolution. The collaborative process Continue reading

The accelerated procedure in applications to vary financial provision orders: just how flexible is it?

It is easy to get so used to the ‘standard’ procedure for financial provision claims that little attention is given to the accelerated procedure when a variation application comes around. It often happens that the parties – and the court – fall into the usual routine of extensive disclosure, questionnaires and, inevitably, cost. But a Continue reading

Can a Schedule 1 Children Act Application be Barred by Reason of the Issue Having Been Covered in the Earlier Financial Remedy Final Order?

I recently had a hybrid Child Arrangements Order, Specific Issue Order (Schools) and Schedule 1 Children Act case where the Husband/Father argued that because the Financial Remedy final order had referred to the issue of school fees in the preamble, recording that the Wife would endeavour to pay half and that the parties would review Continue reading

“The elephant trap of premature remarriage”: the dangers of ignoring section 28(3) of the MCA 1973

Many of us will have experience of section 28 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (‘MCA 1973’). Regular reference is made to section 28(1A) which allows the court to prohibit any application under section 31 to extend the term of a periodical payments order. We all regularly use section 28(1), which provides that the remarriage Continue reading

Duties towards litigants-in-person: a timely reminder

Peter Jackson J has used a recent case to remind practitioners of the need to adapt normal working practices when dealing with a litigant-in-person. The case, reported as Re B (Litigant in Person: Timely Service of Documents) [2016] EWHC 2365 (Fam), involved the alleged abduction of a child.  The father was represented, the mother was Continue reading

Matrimonial Finance: The Self-Destructive Tendencies of the Goyal Couple

Throughout a marriage, more often than not, the parties see themselves as a team, contributing either financially or otherwise for their common good. On divorce, self-interest habitually becomes the priority. However, more frequently than one would hope, the intention of a party can be to make their former spouse suffer, indeed in some instances that Continue reading

Myth-busting the collaborative process

In my view there are many reasons why we lawyers should be getting serious about the collaborative process. The first is the over-stretched, over-burdened and under-resourced Court Service, which means that clients have to wait longer than ever for the resolution of their case.  The second is the ever-more-limited resources of clients, and the difficulty Continue reading

Upward variation of periodical payments after the recipient’s financial recklessness. A political hot potato

The case that has caught the attention of the sensationalist press recently is that of Graham and Maria Mills. Divorced in 2002, Mrs Mills was at that time awarded a lump sum of £230,000 and periodical payments of £1,100 p.c.m.. Some 15 years later, the Court of Appeal was considering her application to vary the Continue reading

Arbitration: Are Divorcing Couples Loathe To Arbitrate About Financial Matters Because It Lacks Certainty?

The recent decision in DB v DLJ (more below) led me to consider whether the relatively low take-up of arbitration as a means to resolving Family Financial issues between divorcing couples is as the result of a concern as to whether arbitration decisions have sufficient certainty to provide the divorcing parties with enough confidence in Continue reading

3 things collaborative law training taught me

A few weeks ago I attended the Resolution training on collaborative law.  For those not acquainted with the concept, collaborative practice looks for a client-led solution to family disputes, with both sides being represented and agreeing their own arrangements at a series of four-way meetings.  The lawyers and parties sign a commitment to work collaboratively, Continue reading

Interveners (or Third Parties) & Setting Aside Dispositions – Cautionary Tales

An amended version of a paper originally presented at the Becket Chambers’ Family Finance Seminar at Eastbourne, Dartford & Canterbury on the 8th, 9th & 11th February 2016. Bringing third parties into financial remedy proceedings is an extremely risky and potentially costly business.  The two tales are cautionary in very different ways; the first being Continue reading

Blog: Is It Always Necessary To Obtain Final Financial Orders Even In “No Money” Cases? Or “What If I Ever Win The National Lottery (Or Build Up A Multi Million Pound Eco-Company)?”

The Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Wyatt v Vince [2015] UKSC14 is of vital importance to divorcing, and divorced, couples underlining the need always to obtain final settlement orders with respect to the financial claims which arise from a marriage.    It is a real problem for many people with the unavailability of legal Continue reading

Blog: Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll – when is conduct so bad that it would be “inequitable to disregard”?

The recent case of MAP v. MFP [2015] EWHC 627 gives guidance on this very question.  In financial remedy proceedings section 25(2)(g) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 allows for conduct to be taken into account when “it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard”. A line of case-law, most notably Continue reading

Divorce & Matrimonial Finance Testimonials

“The client appreciates all you have done for her and was extremely impressed with how you presented her case and managed the hearing etc”

Ms S from Solicitors Instructing Edward Kenny – September 20

“Miss Coates was professional, yet approachable. She had a sharp ability to home in on the important issues in what was a sea of information. She explained matters to me in a sensitive, but clear way and I am just so pleased at the relief her clarity on the case has brought to me.”

Ms V Instructing Holly Coates through the DPA Scheme – April 20

“I was very happy with the work Christopher did for us and the effort he put in, it was a long day. The client was also happy with the representation and I look forward to working with Chris again in the future.”

Ms T from Solicitors Instructing Christopher Wall – February 2020

“The client sent me an email thanking us for everything and saying that you were ‘wonderful’.  I echo that sentiment. This was a  difficult case and had gone on for a very long time. I am very happy that it settled so favourably.”

Ms B from Solicitors Instructing Jane Carter – February 2020

“Both my client and myself were happy with the service provided by Dean Thistle and Beckett chambers. Dean was well prepared , he approached  the case with kindness and fairness.”

 

 

 

Ms R from Solicitors Instructing Dean Thistle – December 19

“I was more than happy with Jane thank you! She was clearly professional, client was very happy and I was more than happy with the note and after care I received, couldn’t get a better review from me right now to be completely honest.”

 

Mr L from Solicitors Instructing Jane Carter – December 19

“I was very happy with Dean in the matter, he got to grips with the issues quickly and was helpful and pleasant to work with.”

Ms N from Solicitors Instructing Dean Thistle – December 19

“Ed has been very helpful on this matter and there is nothing more I could have asked for, service wise, from either the clerks or Ed.”

Ms S from Solicitors instructing Edward Kenny – December 19

“Mr Newton I’m not sure the following words really do justice to my appreciation of your hardwork over the last 18 months.Thank you so much for your guidance,encouragement and support in my case, I am immensely delighted with the outcome.”

Ms J Instructing Philip Newton through Solicitors – November 19

“I would also like to thank Mr Wall so, if you could pass my gratitude on to him then that would be wonderful.  He was very fair and gave me a real feeling of confidence.  I will definitely be recommending the both of you to any acquaintances needing help in this field!

As you may know, the case was settled and the court order all signed.  There will be a little more paperwork to do with transfer of the property etc and I would like to hope that I can still use your services for this?”

 

Mr S Instructing Christopher Wall through Solicitors – December 19

“I was very impressed with Jane. I found her to be very approachable and I was very satisfied with the outcome of the Hearing.

You may wish to pass onto Jane that the client thought she was “excellent” and was equally impressed.”

Mr K from Solicitors Instructing Jane Carter – November 19

“I spoke with the client last night and he was singing your praises. He said you were excellent. I too am delighted with the result and would like to thank you for your guidance and support throughout this matter as it has been invaluable.”

Ms B from Solicitors Instructing Jane Carter – November 19

“This is perfect! Thank you for being able to settle this case so well too, I knew you could do it.”

Ms N from Solicitors Instructing Jane Carter – November 19

“Thank you for dealing with this Hearing at such short notice and getting to grips with it easily. Mrs M has instructed me that she is very pleased with your representation.”

Miss D-M from Solicitors instructing Christopher Wall – June 19

“After sitting will Miss Ashley for 2 minutes I was totally back in control, she was absolutely wonderful, such a wonderfully calming person and so without a doubt gave me the confidence to stand strong with my offer. So I thank you for introducing her into my life…..”

Miss C instructing Gayle Ashley through Solicitors – June 19

“I am very happy with Sophie Gray. She is hardworking and gets good results. The clients like her and she is excellent with them. She shows empathy and is robust when necessary. She goes the extra mile and is always willing to spend time talking cases through with me. She is my first choice counsel at your chambers.”

Miss B from solicitors instructing Sophie Gray – May 19

“Could you please pass on my sincere thanks to Philip for his advice ,support and time this morning. His hard work and expertise is much appreciated”

Miss J instructing Philip Newton through solicitors – May 19

“The client has asked that I convey on his behalf his sincere thanks in respect of Sam’s handling of the case”

Ms S from Solicitors Instructing Samuel Davis – May 19

“I have been very pleased with the service both from yourself and the clerks generally, and from Ms McIntosh, you have all been extremely helpful and approachable. I know my client is also very grateful to Ms McIntosh for her work.”

Miss G from solicitors instructing Melanie McIntosh – April 19

“My client was very pleased with John at the last hearing and his note of the hearing was certainly very clear and helpful”

Miss J from solicitors instructing John Nee – April 19

“The clients were both extremely happy with his advice and assistance at court and I found him very helpful, professional and efficient with follow up.”

Miss M from Solicitors instructing Christopher Wall – March 19

“Many thanks for all your help.   Mr W has emailed me indicating that he was very pleased with the outcome.”

 

Ms N from Solicitors Instructing Edward Kenny – March 19

“…Just been speaking to client on this matter. She told me that you were amazing today and she is really grateful. She would heartily recommend you…”

Miss B from solicitors instructing Sophie Gray – Aug 18

 

“Please pass on to Mr Kenny that he was amazing and so very good. He has changed my life – having done an excellent job – and life is now so much better. Thank you.”

Ms B Instructing Edward Kenny through Solicitors – March 18

“With regards to Mr Kenny, please pass my thanks on to him; in my opinion he handles himself well in front of the Judge.

I believe that the average person in the street believes that Solicitors/Barristers are the only winners and that they don’t really care about their Clients as it is just a job for them. Well i now know different, i know that you are both kind, caring, understanding and had my best interests at  heart and i THANK YOU for that.”

Mr B Instructing Edward Kenny through Solicitors – March 18

“The client advised that he was pleased overall with agreement reached at Court yesterday and asked that I convey to you his thanks.  He advised that he felt you were both utterly honest and sincere and had his best interests at heart.  He said his faith in lawyers had been restored.”

 

Ms S from Solicitors Instructing Edward Kenny – March 18

‘John has been a huge help to me, I feel entirely supported and he gives me the strength to fight on. John is totally brilliant- the most charming man I’ve met, and when there’s a fight coming it’s like a switch flicks in his head, he certainly puts me at ease and could not imagine dealing with my case without him fighting my corner. You can so see he was a boxer before he was a lawyer!’

Mr B Instructing John Nee through Solicitors – November 17

“I was recently represented by Mr Kenny at the FDR for my divorce proceedings, and would like to pass on my heartfelt thanks for the excellent work he carried out on my behalf.

His quick grasp of facts, his knowledge, calmness and reassurance, along with appropriate use of case law brought a swift end to what had been a long and painful process, and had the potential to drag on for even longer.

He was able to succinctly assess all the options and suggest the ones he felt were the most suitable. His negotiation skills and ability to read the situation have undoubtedly resulted in an excellent outcome on my behalf.”

Mr R Instructing Edward Kenny through Solicitors – October 2017

“…I have been very impressed with the professionalism shown by John Nee whilst he represented me.  Not only knowledgeable, John has an approachable, interested and caring manner with clients during what can be a traumatic time in their lives.  Throughout the process I felt in safe, caring hands.  Should the need arise I would have no hesitation in seeking his advice.  Highly recommended…”

Mr instructing John Nee through Solicitors – March 17

“I would be grateful if you could pass on my sincere thanks to Christopher Wall and this endorsement of him.  Christopher has been a diligent, precise and insightful professional in execution of his brief to me.  I found him to be a proactive challenger of my account of events, analytical and quick to validate or query in order to establish the facts and then incisive in his determination of how they should be marshalled and presented.

Consequently I felt clear on the potential strengths and weaknesses of my case as I stood for the cross examination.  I actually have a regard for the approach and aggression the opposing barrister took with me however Christopher’s  professionalism and thoroughness was such that I was well prepared for what followed, and the strength and effectiveness of the barrister’s tactics were undermined.

This was further evidenced with his consummate summary to the judge, during which he not only presented the case clearly and logically but also carefully reminded the judge of the legalities around the case whilst calmly countering points made only minutes before.

I have no hesitation in endorsing Christopher and have no hesitation in recommending him for future clients.”

Mr B instructing Christopher Wall through solicitors – January 17

We are extremely pleased with the result of the FDR and the fact that this matter is concluded to the clients satisfaction. The result is certainly a good one.

Ms S from a firm of Solicitors instructing Dean Thistle – June 16

“…I would like to express how very impressed I was by Mr Edward Kenny…I found him to be both thoughtful and very calm and collected in his speech…The day I was dreading was made a whole lot more manageable by the skill and professionalism demonstrated by Mr Kenny…In fact I was blown away by his sterling performance…”

Mrs C instructing Edward Kenny through Solicitors – May 2016

“…Could I just add at this point that I am very grateful for all your help and assistance over the year and would recommend the services of Becket Chambers to anyone who may need to use such services in the future…”

Miss W instructing Melanie McIntosh through the DPA scheme – May 16

“Just wanted to say thank you for yesterday…at least it is all over….I can start to move forward with my life”

Mrs S N instructing Louisa Adamson through Solicitors – April 16

Thank you, that was another good result. It’s evident that it comes down to the amount of preparation you clearly do.

The client is very happy.

Ms P from Solicitors instructing Holly Coates – April 16

“John was just brilliant, calm, knowledgeable, and clearly adopted a ‘no-nonsense’ approach with the opponent which resulted in an outcome I was happy with.  I felt John had a genuine sense of wanting to achieve the best outcome for me which inspired me with confidence that somebody was looking after my interests.”

Mr H instructing John Nee through the DPA scheme – April 16

“Mr Nee was fantastic yesterday, all you said he was and he absolutely floored the otherside”

Ms G instructing John Nee through Solicitors – February 16

“The client asked me to pass on that on leaving court she was smiling in such a way she hadn’t done so for such a long time. She now sees a future for herself”.

Ms R Instructing John Nee through Solicitors – January 16

“The client confirmed that she felt you conducted yourself with great skill and logic at court, and after matters concluded she felt a great burden lifted from her shoulders.”

Ms T instructing John Nee through Solicitors – January 16

“Thank you very much for this, and also thank you for your great work in this case, I am very happy with the final result.”

Ms C instructing Philip Newton through solicitors – January 16

“I would like to express my gratitude of thanks to Mr Edginton, his professionalism was outstanding and he explained everything to me thoroughly and knew the facts surrounding my case very quickly.

I would highly recommend Mr Edginton to anyone who needs legal representation.”

Ms E instructing Ronald Edginton through the DPA scheme – January 16

“Mr G came into the office today to say how wonderful Ed Kenny was at the above hearing.”

Ms P from a firm of Solicitors instructing Edward Kenny – December 15

“….John Nee did a fine job for us, on a case that the judge called “the most
difficult she had heard”. He was helpful and professional and consulted me
fully on strategy which was good of him….”

Mr L instructing John Nee through Instructing Solicitors – August 15

 

“….you deliver a fantastic service to me, you are always on time, you report back to me with detailed AN, if not the same day, within the next 24 hours….you are always available to offer advice where needed and will help guide me in the right direction if required….you are very fair and sympathetic, but at the same time will often give very stern constructive advice when a client needs it the most….”

Miss K from a firm of solicitors instructing John Nee – July 15

“….My wife and I were impressed with John Nee – professional, sharp, focused and considerate – thank you very much for selecting him to represent….”

Mr L instructing John Nee through instructing Solicitors – May 15

“….I am really impressed by how professional the contact has been on the telephone, by the bravery shown by Mr Edginton taking on such a case….he grasped all the information, he made me feel less scared….I am so grateful for your help….Thank you Mr Smith and Mr Edginton….”

Mrs N instructing Ron Edginton through the DPA scheme – February 15

“….i feel they have an exact idea of the case as my Barrister has represented me for 5 years and we have a good understanding between us….i think the service overall has been wonderful through from the Clerks to my Barrister….”

Mrs B instructing Sandria Murkin through the DPA scheme & Instructing Solicitors – 2009 – 2014

“….Thank you so much for all your hard work yesterday….I thought you were fab! ……With what may be a total deposit of £100k this is life changing…. Thank you so much. I think that [my ex husband] was right about one thing- you are the best….”

Mrs K-H instructing Christopher Wall through the DPA scheme – September 14

“….Thank you to Clive Styles for his help today and the clerks for arranging things so quickly for me, great service and using Direct Access very affordable….”

Mrs S instructing Clive Styles through the DPA scheme – April 14

“….my spirits and confidence rose as i realised i was in good hands….it was the best outcome for which i could possibly have dared wish….and for that i can only express my heartfelt gratitude….”

Mr B insructing Philip Newton through Instructing Solicitors – February 14

“….my Barrister was superb. Couldn’t have been any better….you have a top team….felt completely on my own until i found Chambers….Mr Thistle is outstanding and helped me every step of the way….i feel i couldn’t have had any better outcome if i had paid a vast amount more….”

Mrs B instructing Dean Thistle through the DPA scheme – February 2014