Vardags — when you need to win

Vardags' client, Pauline Chai secures one of the highest ever court awards in 'titanic' divorce case

By Thea Dunne -

Vardags' client, Pauline Chai secures one of the highest ever court awards in 'titanic' divorce case

Vardags is proud to have represented  former beauty queen Pauline Chai who was yesterday awarded a £64 million divorce settlement in the high court before Mr Justice Bodey.

The settlement, one of the largest of its kind, will be comprised of cash and property assets that the couple built up during their 42 year marriage.

The news dominated the front page of today’s issue of The Times, with Ayesha Vardag, our Founder and President, who has led the case for nearly four years, quoted in The TelegraphDaily Mail and International Business Times:

“This litigation has been long and arduous. It is a journey which has now ended in the affirmation of the principle of fair sharing.

'It emphasises that there is no place in England for discrimination between home maker and bread winner. I am so proud of the whole team including our client who worked so hard on this case.”

After hearing the judgment Ms Chai publicly thanked her "superb” legal team including “everyone at Vardags, Richard Todd QC and Nicholas Yates”.

The positive outcome for Ms Chai, who married Khoo Kay Peng in 1970 and has five children with him, has been seen as a victory for home-makers, confirming that the courts will not discriminate between men and women, or between the home-maker and the breadwinner.

Ms Chai explained to the Court that their marriage of 42 years was a partnership to which they both made significant contributions:

“I looked at marriage in the traditional way. He is the breadwinner and I stayed at home and looked after the children. It was a daunting task.”

Their ‘titanic’ divorce case spanned hemispheres and gave way to one of the most high profile jurisdiction battles in family law. Dr Khoo had argued that Malaysia was the appropriate jurisdiction for the Malaysian nationals while Ms Chai contended that proceedings should take place in England, given that they had made Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire their home, long before separating.

After a 10-day jurisdiction and forum conveniens hearing in the English High Court in October 2014, Mr Justice Bodey found in favour of Ms Chai on all counts. His judgment had it that Ms Chai succeeded in establishing habitual residence here for twelve months prior to the issue of her petition in May 2014.

With the jurisdiction finally established, the English divorce proceedings continued and Decree Absolute was pronounced in January 2017. The final hearing this week settling the finances has finally concluded years of complex and hard-fought litigation.

The judgment from the final hearing is due to be published in the near future.

If you would like to know more about the issues covered in this article, Vardags offers a free consultation to qualifying individuals.

For high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals or their companies, our confidential enquiry line is staffed 24 hours. Call 020 7404 9390 today.

Thea Dunne

Thea joined Vardags in September 2016. She read English at Trinity College, Cambridge and now writes as a legal journalist as well as manages Vardags' publicity…