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Case details

Webb (Appellant) v Webb (Respondent) (Cook Islands)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0013

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of the Cook Islands

Case summary


Did the Court of Appeal of the Cook Islands err in determining the Respondent’s appeal in relation to her application for division of matrimonial property under the Matrimonial Property Act 1991-92?


The Appellant and the Respondent married in 2005 in New Zealand and had one child, a daughter, in 2006. In 2011, the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department opened an investigation into the Appellant’s affairs, resulting in significant tax debts. In 2013, the parties moved to the Cook Islands, where most of their assets were located. The assets were held by family trusts controlled by the Appellant. On 7 April 2016, the parties separated. The Respondent and their daughter stayed in the Cook Islands, while the Appellant returned to New Zealand.

The Respondent brought an application for division of matrimonial property in the High Court of the Cook Islands under the Matrimonial Property Act 1991-92. She challenged the validity of the family trusts and contended that the assets settled under them were matrimonial property. The Appellant maintained that the trusts were valid and that, even if the relevant assets had been matrimonial property, their value was far exceeded by his deductible debts.



Paul Nigel Webb


Rosemary Julia Webb



Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lady Black, Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin

Hearing start date

20 Jan 2020

Hearing finish date

21 Jan 2020

Watch hearing
20 Jan 2020 Morning session Afternoon session
21 Jan 2020 Morning session

Judgment details

Judgment date

03 Aug 2020

Neutral citation

[2020] UKPC 22