Richardson v Richardson  EWCA Civ 79 (08 February 2011)
Lord Justice Munby
The death of the wife
17. There is no need to spend much time on the law. The principles are set out in the passage in the speech of Lord Brandon of Oakbrook in the eponymous case, Barder v Calouori  AC 20, page 43, which is so well-known that it hardly requires quotation.
18. It is well recognised that the unexpected death of one of the spouses can be a Barder event. Barder itself was such a case (wife killed children and committed suicide five weeks after the ancillary relief order). There have been others in which the claim has succeeded: Smith v Smith (Smith and Others Intervening)  Fam 69 (wife committed suicide within six months); Barber v Barber  1 FLR 476 (wife died of liver disease within three months); Reid v Reid  EWHC 2878 (Fam),  1 FLR 736 (diabetic wife with high blood pressure died within two months). But it is not enough to show that one of the parties died unexpectedly very shortly after the hearing. What has to be shown, to quote Lord Brandon, is that the death “invalidate[s] the basis, or fundamental assumption, upon which the order was made”.