By and -

Key decisions

  • Neales [2022] FedCFamC1A 41
  • The Marshal of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia & Trach [2022] FedCFamC1F 22
  • Ferman & Lapham [2022] FedCFamC2F 415
  • Earle [2022] FedCFamC1F 16


Leave granted to adduce evidence from an adversarial expert – Court erred by considering $11 million difference between valuations in isolation

In Neales [2022] FedCFamC1A 41 (28 March 2022) the Full Court (Aldridge, Tree and Schonell JJ) considered a husband’s application for leave to adduce evidence from an adversarial expert.

The single expert appointed by the parties’, Mr B, had valued the real properties at between $33.835 million and $34.190 million. The husband instructed another expert, Mr D, who valued the properties at $22.465 million.

The Full Court said (from [25]):

‘The primary judge concluded that contrary to the submissions of the husband, there was not a substantial body of contrary opinion, but rather an alternate opinion.

[27] … The primary judge observed that to permit another expert just because of a divergence in value, even if substantial, was inconsistent with the purpose of the [Rules] …

[41] The husband argued … that the following matters, which taken collectively, satisfied as another special reason:

(1) that [each expert] … adopted alternative methodologies …;

(2) that matters were known to Mr D that were not known to the single expert.

(3) that … [if] the significant difference in value of over $11 million … arises as a result of a difference in methodology and information, it warrants consideration as another special reason; and

(4)… [I]t is the husband who will be left with the consequences of the findings as to value …

[42] … We are satisfied that the primary judge did not consider these matters in aggregate … but rather confined his consideration to the issue of differences in value. In doing so, the primary judge fell into error.’

The Full Court granted leave for the husband to rely on his adversarial expert and costs certificates were ordered.

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