SAINT VINCENT and THE GRENADINES
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5 OF 2003
YVONNE ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
KENNETH SYLVESTER WILLIAMS
His Lordship, the Hon Sir Dennis Byron Chief Justice
His Lordship, the Hon. Justice Adrian Saunders Justice of Appeal
His Lordship, the Hon. Mr. Michael Gordon, QC Justice of Appeal [Ag.]
Mr. Perry Joseph for the appellant
Mr. K. Bacchus Browne for the Respondent
2003: December, 26
 BYRON, CJ:. Parties got married on 15th December 1974. There are no children of the
family. They built a matrimonial home in which they cohabited until 3rd July 1984. Since
then the husband has been in occupation of the property. The title to the land is in the
name of the wife. A decree absolute of divorce was issued by the court on 21st August
 The Judge found that there are two other parcels of land registered in the name of the
wife. These were acquired in 1989 and 1994 respectively, in each case many years after
the effective breakdown of the marriage. He concluded that there is no basis for the
husband’s claim to be entitled to any share in either of these properties and declared to be
the exclusive property of the wife. There has been no appeal against this finding.
 The other major dispute at the trial concerned a van that had been purchased. The judge
found that both parties had access to the income from it when it was in their hands and as
it is no longer available for distribution he would make no orders with reference to it. There
has been no appeal against this finding either.
 The only issue in this appeal relates to the matrimonial home. The learned trial Judge had
ordered that the wife must execute a deed of conveyance to the husband and he must pay
her 1/3 of the value of the property. She has appealed against that decision and contended
that she was entitled to the entirety or at least 2/3 of the property.
 The difficulty that existed in this case was that the accounting was unspecific and there
was considerable dispute as to facts.
 The husband alleged that he had worked as a seaman and sent her money totaling US
$51,800.00 and that she used that money to build the matrimonial home and make other
investments for which she did not account to him. His affidavit included unsupported
details which did not make mathematical sense. He said that she built the house cheaply
for $34,000.00. She purchased other properties valued at $113,000.00. She lived
luxuriously with two maids, took many holidays abroad, purchased expensive clothes all
from his savings which he had sent to her.
 The wife alleged that the money her husband sent her came with specific instructions for
disbursement to his mother and father; the opening of a joint bank account in both their
names with a standing order for monthly payments to his mother; the payment of school
fees for the husband’s two brothers. She said that the construction of the matrimonial
house was partly financed by loans she took from Barclays Bank, her own savings and
money from the joint account. The wife alleged that the matrimonial home was built on
land that she owned prior to the marriage.
 The entire case was based on affidavits without supporting documentation. It was clear
that it was not possible to make findings of fact as to the respective contributions of the
parties to the house. No findings were made as to the purchase of the land and its value,
nor as to the exact cost of the construction and to the source of the funds except in very
general terms. No attempt was made to determine the value of the husband’s exclusive
occupation of the matrimonial home and whether this was a matrimonial asset for which he
should account. The learned trial judge eventually concluded:-
“both parties have contributed to the acquisition and/or construction of the
matrimonial home, and that the respondent contribute the major share of the
resources towards that purpose. I therefore order that the respondent, who has
admittedly lived in the said house for many years to the exclusion of the petitioner,
must have the property…”
 Both counsel adopted the position that where there was a lack of specificity in the
accounting, the principle equity is equality should inform a 50/50 division of the property.
Counsel for the husband submitted that such a division would have been appropriate if all
the property was being divided. However, the unchallenged findings of the judge indicated
that the other properties acquired by the wife were done so long after the marriage had
broken down and the husband would not have contributed financially. In addition, in the
affidavits the husband indicated that he was a boat owner. This too was not included as
part of the matrimonial property.
 We have concluded that the jurisprudence applied by this court required that the property
be split equally because it was undisputed that both had made substantially contributions
but neither were able to prove the extent of the said contributions. In the circumstances we
vary the order of the learned trial judge to the extent that the husband pay the wife half of
the value of the property. In the event that the payment is not made within six months the
property must be sold and the proceeds divided equally between the husband and the
 This was a case where the wife had difficulty obtaining representation. She received
consideration from the husband with regard to compliance with time standards and from
the Bar Association who provided pro bono assistance at the request of the court. We
express our appreciation to all counsel involved.
 The general rule is that costs follow the event. In the circumstances we would make a
reduced order in the sum of $2,500.00.
Sir Dennis Byron
I concur Adrian Saunders
Justice of Appeal
I concur Michael Gordon
Justice of Appeal [Ag.]