Meeting for dinner and discussing divorce

In a recent case, the court had to decide whether a wife should be allowed to refer to things the husband had said when they met for dinner to discuss their divorce.  The husband claimed the dinner was a ‘without prejudice’ meeting, which would mean that what was said was ‘privileged’ and could not be repeated or referred to in court proceedings.  The wife said the dinner was just a meeting to discuss getting divorced and she was free to quote what her husband had said.

The judge agreed with the wife.  For the dinner to have amounted to a ‘without prejudice’ meeting, there would first have had to be a dispute.  In the opinion of the judge that stage had not yet been reached when the dinner took place.  Even if there had been a dispute, the purpose of the meeting would have had to be to attempt to reach a settlement.  The judge took the view that the husband had been trying not to settle matters by agreement but rather to impose on his wife his view of what the financial arrangements ought to be.

The wife was allowed to quote what her husband had said at the dinner.