QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
(sitting as a Judge of the High Court)
| Cathryn CRAVEN [widow and dependant of Jayson CRAVEN (deceased), on behalf of herself and his dependants]
|- and -
Charles Curtis (instructed by Horwich Farrelly) for the Defendant
Hearing dates: 24 and 25 April 2018
Crown Copyright ©
His Honour Judge Freedman:
i) in failing to use a 'Puffin' pedestrian crossing, which was located 87.25 metres to the south-east of the accident location, and therefore crossing the A45 where it was unsafe to do so; and
ii) in failing to observe the approach of the defendant's vehicle and crossing into its path.
History of the Marriage
Breakdown of Marriage
The Legal Test
The Claimant's Case
"At the time of his death they were in a 'cooling-off period' between Decree Nisi pronouncement and Decree Absolute during which period they would have needed to take legal advice about the financial implications of going through with the divorce. Neither had received that advice. The claimant instructed a solicitor, Mr Holland, to process the divorce. Whilst Mr Holland gave her some initial advice pertaining to the financial aspect of the divorce process, and she was advised that in due course she and the Deceased would need to complete a Form E statement providing full and frank disclosure of finances, at no point before the Deceased's death had she received any advice about the likely complications of her spousal maintenance claim. As part of these proceedings, she has now received such advice through reading the expert report of Ms Syme. Now that the claimant has apprised herself of the sort of advice that she would have received, the divorce would have been devastating to her financial interests and she would have opted to save the marriage and reconcile with the Deceased, which was his wish before he died."
"The substance of that advice (that is the opinion of Miss Suzanne Syme of Counsel) had a sobering effect on the claimant about the financial implications of her having followed through with the divorce. In essence she is likely to have retained the family home at 353 Green Lane free of any mortgage, on condition of her giving up her own equitable interests in two rental properties they owned jointly (71 Dudley Street and 74 Kenpas Highway), subject to mortgages. In addition, she could have expected an order that the Deceased pay her maintenance limited to c. £750-£1000 pm until Louis' 18th birthday in October 2020, whereupon all maintenance would likely have stopped. She would at that stage have been aged 52. She would have no private pension and would have been dependent solely on what she could earn herself."
"The claimant is quite satisfied that once furnished with this Advice she would have done everything in her power to reconcile with the Deceased and to terminate the divorce proceedings. The cooling-off period between the Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute stages in divorce proceedings is specifically designed to provide angry couples with time to reflect on the financial reality of their decision before they become irretrievably committed to acting on them."
"…I can honestly say that had I received this advice back in 2014, whilst in the process of a matrimonial claim, I would have thought long and hard about whether to proceed with divorce and ultimately would have changed my mind. As I have said, at the time, things were very raw. But I know, now that I have spoken to people, that Jason still loved me and I am sure that he would have wanted us to make the marriage work. After receiving financial advice before the Decree Absolute, I believe that I would have done everything in my power to look to reconcile with Jason and save the marriage: I think we would have owed it to ourselves and to our family. I feel confident that Jason would have wanted this too, having since spoken with both friends and family."
The Defendant's Case