Caldwell & Robinson - Family & Private Client > Articles by: Margaret Moore

Posts By: Margaret Moore


Dariona Conlon joins Caldwell & Robinson as Senior Solicitor

Dariona Conlon joins Caldwell & Robinson as Senior Solicitor

Caldwell & Robinson Solicitors are delighted to announce the appointment of senior Irish Healthcare specialist solicitor Dariona Conlon to the firm.

Having qualified with A&L Goodbody, Dariona spent 10 years in private practice before taking up Irish quasi-judicial positions as Board Member of The Residential Institutions Redress Board, Chairperson of Mental Health Tribunals, Legal Member of the Board of The Saolta University Health Care Group and Board Member of The Clinical Research Board, as well as being a Panel Member of a Private Redress Scheme for institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.

She will work with Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution, Emmett Maginn, to grow further the firm’s all-Ireland Healthcare, Medical Negligence and Regulatory legal service offering.

Pictured: Karen O’Leary (Senior Partner), Emmett Maginn (Partner & Head of Dispute Resolution), Dariona Conlon and Philip Gilliland(Managing Partner)


The Non-Disclosure of Assets in Separation Proceedings

The Non-Disclosure of Assets

The case of Cummings v Fawn highlights the importance of declaring the entirety of assets for both lawyers and clients in separation proceedings, especially for high wealth value clients. Failure to do so can result in serious consequences for the non-disclosing party.

The test for fraud in matrimonial proceedings was set out by Lady Hale in Sharland v Sharland. In that case, Mr Sharland, who was a major shareholder in a company, reached a settlement with his ex-spouse where she would receive 30% of the net value of his shares. However, Mrs Sharland then became aware that the company was going to be publicly listed on the stock exchange for the first time, despite Mr Sharland attesting that the company had no plans of going public. This would have dramatically increased the value of the shares compared to the valuation provided in the High Court proceedings. Utilising the maxim of Lord Briggs – “fraud unravels all” – Lady Hale ruled in favour of the appellant wife, setting aside the previous consent order on the basis that Mr Sharland’s failure to disclose the true value of his shares amounted to fraud. It is vitally important for parties in separation proceedings to be vigilant relating to the assets of their former spouse, and to make the courts aware of any potential non-disclosure of assets as soon as possible.

In the Republic of Ireland, the opinion of the courts on the non-disclosure of matrimonial assets is well documented – the case of M v S demonstrates that the non-disclosure of assets is equally non-negotiable. In that case, Justice Barrett heavily criticised the respondent for –

“…failing completely to disclose the full truth of his financial position to the applicant and her advisors, failing completely to provide clear and reliable testimony in the witness box, instead giving answers that only confused and obfuscated and never clarified, such a person will find that his evidence is treated as unreliable.”

In addition, Justice Barrett highlighted that the respondent’s failure to disclose his assets could amount to contempt of court – another serious risk that should be made clear to any party who is reluctant to disclose all their assets.

Some high wealth value clients might believe their matrimonial assets outside the jurisdiction are beyond the reach of the divorce courts, and therefore they don’t have to declare them – this is deeply incorrect, as demonstrated in the UK case of B v B. In that case, the appellant failed to disclose the removal of funds to another jurisdiction, namely Italy, in his matrimonial proceedings. Connell J ruled that he would take the conduct of the non-disclosing party into consideration when delivering a ruling on financial settlements and subsequently dismissed the appeal.

For clients in Northern Ireland, with assets and property in the Republic of Ireland (and vice-versa), this can add to the complexity of their cases. At Caldwell & Robinson, our dual-qualified lawyers are well-versed in the division of matrimonial assets in both jurisdictions.

The notion that “fraud unravels all” is an important lesson for lawyers to remember. Not only does the non-disclosure of assets impact upon the outcome of cases for clients, but it can also have repercussions on the reputation of legal professionals. If a client is unwilling to disclose all relevant assets during their separation proceedings, then there are solid grounds for refusing to continue to act on their behalf.


Being a Paralegal at Caldwell & Robinson

Níamh Harkin talks about what life is like as a Paralegal at Caldwell & Robinson.

I’m a Paralegal here at Caldwell & Robinson, based in our Family Department in our Derry Office, working under Senior Partner, Karen O’Leary.

My main role is to help the Family solicitors day-to-day. Some of my jobs include compiling court bundles for hearings, liaising with clients and other professionals, and lending a hand in our very busy office!

For me, working in the Family Department doesn’t just require legal skills — it requires compassion, understanding and empathy, as a lot of the clients that come to us are facing challenging situations, and its our firm’s job to help them navigate their complex legal matters. Playing a part in helping our clients to reach a resolution is incredibly fulfilling.

At the minute, I am studying Law at the Ulster University while working here at Caldwell & Robinson. The firm have really supported me so far throughout my studies, and the experience that I’m gaining here is invaluable. My work here compliments my studies and has confirmed to me that I am definitely in the right profession.

I would stay to anyone studying law or who has recently graduated, that the experience of being a Paralegal gives you a great insight into the legal profession and I feel like my experience as a Paralegal is only benefiting me.

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Legal Women UK’s first in-person event in Northern Ireland

The Law Society of Northern Ireland was buzzing with inspiration and empowerment as Legal Women UK hosted an enlightening event.

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Sponsored by Eileen Donaghey and Caldwell & Robinson Solicitors, the evening focused on discussing the challenges that women face in the legal sphere, and highlighted the Law Society’s crucial current research project on female leavers within the solicitor profession.

Nuala McMahon opened the conversation by speaking of the Society’s commitment to continue to carry out research regarding the female legal experience. The panel speakers, Julie HuddlestonEmma McCloskey and Jade O’Kane, then engaged the audience with their personal experiences, shedding light on the obstacles women encounter in the legal field. Chaired by Coral Hill, the discussion sparked meaningful conversations and a renewed commitment to driving change.


The event, a sold-out affair, brought together a group of legal professionals and aspiring individuals, all passionate about gender equality. The question and answer session that followed proved that attendees were united in their shared vision for a more inclusive legal sector.