Chai v Peng

The case of former beauty queen Pauline Chai and her businessman husband, Khoo Kay Peng, is one of the largest and most complex to come before the English courts. The couple were married for 43 years, as the Malaysian businessman built up a multi-million pound empire, which includes high street name Laura Ashley.

Their divorce began in 2013, when the wife, represented by Vardags, issued a petition for divorce in London. The husband disputed that she had the necessary link to England to do so, and so issued his own petition in Malaysia. For nearly two years, the parties fought over the correct jurisdiction for the case to be heard. Mr Justice Bodey, of the English High Court, ultimately ruled that England was the correct forum, a ruling later approved by the Court of Appeal.

In April 2017, Pauline Chai was awarded a £64 million divorce settlement, one of the largest ever recorded.


  • Reported judgments

Chai v Peng EWHC 3518 (Fam) Chai v Peng EWHC 3519 (Fam) Chai v Peng EWHC 1519 (Fam) Chai v Peng EWHC 750 (Fam)

  • Press coverage

Final judgment

The £64m divorce that shows English courts recognise each spouse's role in a marriage (The Times)

Laura Ashley boss, 78, is ordered to give his wife, 70, £64million in their divorce settlement as their long running high court battle finally finishes (Daily Mail)

'Homemaker' ex-wife of Laura Ashley boss wins a third of his £200m fortune after bitter divorce battle (Telegraph)


Decree Absolute

Laura Ashley boss and wife mired in financial dispute end marriage (Guardian)


Financial proceedings

Judge orders Laura Ashley tycoon to stop wasting time and settle his £440million divorce battle with former Miss Malaysia wife (Daily Mail)

Laura Ashley boss ordered to make his wife an offer in 'titanic' £440m divorce battle (Telegraph)

Court orders Laura Ashley boss to settle 'titanic' divorce case (Guardian)


Decree Nisi

Tycoon's wife gets decree nisi in London court (The Straits Times)

Laura Ashley boss' marriage to former beauty queen Pauline Chai ends amid £440m divorce battle (Independent)

Former Miss Malaysia wins battle to have Laura Ashley boss ex-husband's £440million fortune divided in UK courts where she will get a better deal (Daily Mail)



Financial proceedings

Laura Ashley boss told to ‘stop carping about cashflow’ and pay wife £500,000 (The Times)

Laura Ashley chairman accused of being 'feckless husband' in latest divorce battle salvo (Telegraph)

Judge urges couple to avoid costly divorce row (Independent)

Judge attacks absent Laura Ashley tycoon (The Times)



Jurisdiction dispute

Former Miss Malaysia asks London court to settle £500 million divorce (Telegraph)

Eye-popping settlements burnish London’s rep as world’s divorce capital (Washington Post)

Keen to leave your rich husband? Come to London, divorce capital of the world (Guardian)




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