Is my partner hiding something? Fraudulent activity within Family proceedings
Our Client Relationship Director for Family Law recently attended a very informative webinar held by District Judge Peter Devlin and Helen Brander of Pump Court Chambers upon the manipulation of digital documents within Court proceedings. This is certainly a pertinent issue at this time of increased electronic traffic. However, concerns as to information and documents being manipulated or disguised for one party to gain an advantage within Financial Remedy proceedings upon a Divorce, or more generally within any proceedings, have always existed. The recent concerns revolve around electronic documents being more easily manipulated using readily available electronic tools. Although, the manipulation of paper documents, which perhaps was a more difficult process in the past, have taken place. It is of great importance to be aware of and identify the markers of such issues, whether the information is electronic or in paper format.
These issues may be of particular significance when dividing a family’s finances and making arrangements for the future. Therefore, expert consideration and investigation is required of all documents and information within any proceedings, certainly when there is a suspicion of documents or information being manipulated or withheld. The careful investigation of such matters may lead to the strengthening of arguments to seek the true position of a party, whether by disclosure of information directly from the source, expert investigation of fraudulent documents or IT experts investigating electronic information and metadata. This process must form the foundation of the approach of a client’s legal representative to ensure any irregularities can be picked up upon in order to ensure that the best possible result is achieved for a client.
A careful understanding of the case law, statute and methods of document and information manipulation, and more recently an understanding of IT, must be drawn upon when looking at a matter and considering whether there is more than Is being disclosed. This will be relevant at the outset of a matter, throughout a matter and even after a matter has concluded, should there be enough evidence for a Final Order to be set aside and the matter reconsidered.
We are able to assist in all aspects of a matter that may exhibit the above concerns.