As it’s reported that the chairman of Laura Ashley and his estranged wife Pauline Chai have spent a total of £5m in lawyers’ bills during their divorce settlement dispute – Zoe Bloom, a family consultant solicitor at Keystone Law takes a look at what a victory for Mrs. Chai could mean.
Khoo Kay Peng who currently owns 44% of Laura Ashley PLC, and former Miss Malaysia Pauline were married for over 40 years and have five children together. But the pair, who are both Malaysian natives, have been involved in litigation for more than two years in a highly-publicised case.
Whilst Khoo lives in Kuala Lumpur, Chai resides in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Much of the case centres around the fact that the couple cannot agree on whether decisions about who should receive what in the final settlement ought to be made in English or Malaysian courts.
Timothy Scott QC, the barrister representing Khoo at the hearing in London, told the court that Chai have, so far, run up bills totalling about £3.5m and Khoo bills totalling about £1.5m – in what has been described as one of Britain’s richest ever divorce case.
Several high court judges analysed the case before it reached the court of appeal whilst three appeal court judges, who examined the evidence and legal argument at a hearing in London on Tuesday 20th October, said they would give their views at a later date.
If we were in any doubt, this case proves that London remains the divorce capital of the world. Mrs Chai has spent £3.5 million in trying to ensure her case is heard in an English court, under English law.
And, as eye-watering as that amount might sound, it will be money well-spent if she succeeds and demonstrates the importance of choice of jurisdiction.
Zoe is a family lawyer with Keystone Law who specialises in advising mid to high net worth individuals on the financial implications of divorce and separation. She has particular experience in renegotiating financial settlements and challenging previous consent orders, separation agreements and pre or ante nuptial agreements.
As a trained and active collaborative lawyer, Zoe is well-placed to guide clients on the best choice of route to a successful conclusion of their matter, whether this is litigation or settlement.
Zoe is a member of Resolution and has been quoted in the national press in respect of pre-nuptial agreements.
Zoe has a background in private client and tax affairs.