Thorne v Kennedy – Has the High Court hung financial agreements out to dry?

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There has been a strong reaction, almost panic-stricken, in the media and by lawyers to the first examination of financial agreements by the High Court. Is this reaction justified?

Has the High Court hung financial agreements out to dry, or are they still a viable option?

In Thorne v Kennedy [2017] HCA 49; (2017) FLC 93-807 the High Court set aside two financial agreements, casting considerable doubt on the viability of financial agreements which are a bad bargain for one of the parties. Unanimously, the High Court set aside the two agreements for unconscionable conduct. The plurality also set them aside for undue influence, finding it unnecessary to decide whether there was duress. Helpfully, the High Court explained the distinctions between the three concepts, as the concepts are often confused and used interchangeably. The question is, in clarifying the law, did the High Court set such a high bar that it will be impossible for a financial agreement to withstand an application to set it aside?

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Categories: Co-habitation Agreement, Financial Agreements, Post-Nuptial Agreement, Pre-Nuptial Agreement
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