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The Yardstick of Equality: Assessing Contributions in Australia and England.

14 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2006  

Patrick Parkinson

The University of Sydney Law School


Following the decision of the House of Lords in White v White [2001] 1 AC 596, the Court of Appeal in England looked to the Australian case law on special contributions to develop principles for assessing the respective contributions of the parties in big money cases. At much the same time, the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia invoked the reasoning in White v White as a justification for suggesting that the doctrine of special contributions should be reconsidered. To evaluate these developments, it is necessary to understand the similarities and differences between English and Australian law on property division, and the history of assessing contributions in Australia. The article concludes by evaluating the arguments for and against the notion of special contributions.

Keywords: Family, Property Division, Divorce, Contributions

JEL Classification: K39

Suggested Citation

Parkinson, Patrick, The Yardstick of Equality: Assessing Contributions in Australia and England.. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 163-175, 2005; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 06/28. Available at SSRN:

Patrick Parkinson (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

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