Divorcing couple criticised for ‘crazy’ legal bills

family law

An estranged couple has been criticised for the “crazy” amount of money they have spent on legal bills during their divorce.

In a dispute over assets valued at £10 million, the couple have already spent a combined total of £1.5 million on legal fees alone. At the High Court, Mr Justice Holman expressed dismay that they had spent 15 per cent of their fortune and encouraged them to negotiate. If the battle was over £100 million, such costs could be viewed as appropriate, he added.

The Judge explained that over the course of his career he had seen “litigation that loses all sense of costs proportionality but I have rarely come across it on this scale”.

He admitted that he could not stop the couple continuing this expensive dispute if litigation was a “hobby” of theirs but suggested that doing so could result in no money being left to divide when it was over.

If this occurred, neither of the parties would benefit, and their award “won’t be Maseratis… will it? It will be a beaten up old Ford if you’re lucky”.

Mr Justice Holman added:

“Ultimately people can just litigate to the end and bankrupt themselves.”

These comments came during a public hearing in which the Judge considered pre-trial issues. The couple made their fortune from a luxury towel and bathrobe supplier they run which is based in High Wycombe. This company provides such products for high-end hotels and spas.

Back in January, Mrs Justice Roberts made similar comments about a divorce dispute she heard between a Premier League football player and his former wife. She said the costs in that case were “excessive and wholly disproportionate to the issues”.

Photo by Daniel Dionne via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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3 comments

Alan Finlayson - May 10, 2017 at 1:32pm

A case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce then. These kind of people deserve to litigate themselves into bankruptcy.

Brian - May 10, 2017 at 4:09pm

I really couldn’t give a hoot about people with wealth trying to redefine ‘need’. The wealthy divorce ancillary relief cases do nothing for average joe bloggs in the street representing himself as a LiP learn anything about how to correctly interpret the law. You never hear ordinary MCA 1973 s25 cases…because if you did, no one would hire a solicitor!

Andrew - May 11, 2017 at 8:34am

Bring back Calderbank and bring in costs budgeting.

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