‘Thorn in the Side of Prenuptial Agreements? Thorne v Kennedy

“In Thorne v Kennedy, the High Court unanimously struck down both a prenuptial and a postnuptial agreement (the plurality on the basis of undue influence and unconscionable conduct, and Nettle J and Gordon J on the basis of unconscionable conduct alone). The agreements had been entered into by a impoverished 36-year-old woman from overseas (known by the pseudonym ‘Ms Thorne’) who married a 67-year-old wealthy Australian property developer (known by the pseudonym ‘Mr Kennedy’). Prior to and after the wedding, Ms Thorne agreed that she would have very little claim on Mr Kennedy’s assets (worth between $18 million and $24 million) if her relationship with her husband broke down because he wanted his money to be kept for his three children from his first marriage. Ms Thorne’s English was poor; she had no assets; she was desperate to have a child; her Australian visa was about to expire, and she would not be able to get a new visa without her marriage; …” (more)

[Katy Barnett, Opinions on High, 4 December]

1 Comment to "‘Thorn in the Side of Prenuptial Agreements? Thorne v Kennedy"

  1. 29 October 2018 - 4:21 am | Permalink

    One thing I find very interesting in this case relates to the allegation that the bride, Thorne, signed the prenup against her own interests, as well as against legal advice. This ‘fact’ was pivotal in two of the three reasons the HCA invalidated the prenup, the first undue influence cause and the second cause, unconscionable conduct. However, little is offered to substantiate the allegation. If, as many imply, the legal advice to not sign was good, then it logically follows that she would have benefited by taking it. Considering the HCA admitted “..Mr Kennedy, as Ms Thorne knew, was not prepared to amend the agreement other than in minor respects”, Kennedy would not have signed any other contract, so how would Thorne have benefited by no contract and thus no marriage?

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