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Ayesha Vardag

Founder & President

Britains top divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag rose to fame for winning the landmark Supreme Court case of Radmacher v Granatino in 2010, changing the law to make prenuptial agreements legally enforceable in England and Wales.

The founder and President of Vardags, Ayesha specialises in high-net-worth divorce, often with an international or celebrity element. Ayesha, described as The Diva of Divorce (TIME Magazine), has a reputation for hard-hitting litigation, commercial savvy, fearlessness, and strategic intellectual vision. This, coupled with a no-nonsense style, and a passion for her cases informed by her own experience of divorce, has won her an ultra-high-net-worth, high-profile client base second to none, made up of clients who expect the very best.

Ayesha Vardag
Ayesha Vardag - Britains top divorce lawyer.
The Huffington Post

Accolades

  • Britains top divorce lawyer was Ayesha Vardags billing by the Law Society, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, Manchester Evening News, Daily Mail, OK! Magazine, Cosmopolitan and HuffPost US.
  • TIME Magazine featured Ayesha as The Diva of Divorce. Other outlets to feature this sobriquet include the Financial Times, BBC News, the Times, the Telegraph, Daily Mail, the Sun, Easy Living, and OK! Magazine. 
  • Ayesha is one of only a handful of family lawyers to receive The Times accolade Lawyer of the Week.
  • The Evening Standard called her one of the star lawyers turning London into the divorce capital of the world.
  • Ayesha received the 2015 Natwest Everywoman Award, for changing the legal landscape, in recognition of the landmark win that ensured that prenuptial agreements could be legally enforced in the UK and her pioneering working practices which, through flexible and generous maternity packages, enable female employees to reach their highest potential in an infamously male-dominated industry.
  • In 2015, Vardags became the only law firm to feature on The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, as the 46th fastest growing company in the United Kingdom.
  • In 2017, Vardags was declared the fastest growing law firm in Europes FT 1000 rankings.
  • In 2019, Ayesha was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Law Award at the GG2 Leadership Awards.

Education

Ayesha read Law at Queens College, Cambridge, and subsequently secured a Duke of Edinburgh award for membership of the Inner Temple. She was a Cambridge Wiener Anspach scholar for a Masters in European Law at the Université Libre Brussels.

Press & publications

Ayesha regularly features in the national and international media as an expert on the leading cases and legal issues of the day, appearing on BBC News, CNN, the Today Programme and Newsnight, as well as the Ways to Change the World podcast hosted by Channel 4s Krishnan Guru-Murthy. She has published articles in The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, Spears Wealth Management and the Business Quarter. Her views have been canvassed by the Law Commission. Ayesha is also a sought-after lecturer, appearing at the Shelley Society at Eton, the White Paper conference, the inaugural session of the Law Societys public debates, on The End of Marriage As We Know It and at the Marriage Foundations inaugural conference.

 

Career

Ayesha, trained as both barrister and solicitor, has had a diverse and illustrious career in law. Ayeshas negotiating skills and litigation savvy, mastered during her training at a top City law firm, make her a formidable force. A supremely versatile lawyer, Ayesha marries razor-sharp expertise on complex financial matters with the empathy and common sense afforded by her own experience of divorce. Ayesha worked on expert research projects at the International Court of Justice in The Hague and at the UN (IAEA) Legal Division in Vienna and helped draft the nuclear energy Safety Convention. She qualified and worked initially as a finance solicitor at the global City law firm Linklaters (London, Moscow) and then at the New York law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges in London. Ayesha is dual-qualified as a solicitor and barrister of the Inner Temple. She did pupillage at the leading professional negligence set, 4 New Square. Her training in matrimonial law was as a mini-pupil to Nicholas Mostyn (then QC), then as one of two assistants to Raymond Tooth at Sears Tooth, who hired her away from the Bar after working with her on her own divorce. Ayesha led the family law course at the 5* law school at Queen Mary, University of London. She set up her own specialist divorce and family law firm, Ayesha Vardag Solicitors, in 2005, from the spare room in her Islington home. The firm incorporated and became Vardags in 2010, by which point it had become the go-to firm for some of the weightiest divorce cases in the country. Ayesha has acted for and against heirs and heiresses, tycoons, international footballers and polo players, celebrities and royalty.

She has been noted as acting in almost all of the biggest cases running through the family courts, for clients including:

  • Li Quan in the international tiger charity case;
  • The Marchioness of Northampton in her high-profile settlement;
  • Yasmin Prest in the High Court case which ran into the Supreme Court corporate veil victory of Petrodel v Prest;
  • Michelle Young, obtaining the suspended committal of Scott Young for non-disclosure;
  • Meshkah Tawfik, the wife of a Qatari prince and
  • The former Miss Malaysia, in Chai v Peng, winning jurisdiction in the High Court and Court of Appeal after a battle that spanned two hemispheres.

Her firm now has more than one hundred members and five offices around the country. After establishing itself as the biggest family law presence in what is described as the magic circle, Vardags expanded to include private client, civil litigation and criminal defence departments and can now offer a bespoke solution for all her clients legal needs.

Languages

Ayesha is a native English-speaker, is fluent in French and Italian, has conversational Spanish, and rusty Russian, Urdu and Portuguese.

Personal

Ayesha is a Shehzadi of the Pashtun Lodhi dynasty which ruled India before the Mughals. She grew up in an Anglo-Scottish home in Oxford with her English mother who worked at New College, while being romanced with stories of her father: barrister, politician, alumnus of Magdalen College, and the youngest ever senator of Pakistan. Amnesty International campaigned for her father when he was repeatedly imprisoned and mistreated for making pro-democracy speeches under martial law. He faced down three assassination orders under a previous regime. Ayeshas grandfather was exiled by the British for pro-independence politics and her grandmother grew up in the old royal style, carried everywhere in a palanquin until her marriage, then became an exiled princess in a palace in the deserts of Saudi Arabia until her husband was recalled to become Mayor of Karachi. Ayesha – (pronounced I-sha) - was named by her mother after the legendary heroine of the 19th century novels She and The Return of She, written by anthropologist and explorer Rider Haggard, dubbed She-who-must-be-obeyed and immortalised by Hammer films with Ursula Andress and Christopher Lee. Ayesha enjoys opera, travel, movies and dramas, and has six combined children, six dogs, six cats and twenty horses. She is a committed amateur horsewoman, eventing and showjumping, and has a small private competition yard in West Sussex competing as Vardags Equestrian. She lives in Dubai with regular time in England and has a holiday home in Southern Italy.

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Ayesha Vardag
Ayesha Vardag - Britains top divorce lawyer.
The Huffington Post

Ayesha Vardag - Britains top divorce lawyer.

The Huffington Post

A handful of firms dominate the so-called glamour end of the market ... Vardags

The Times

Ayesha Vardag - diva of divorce for the worlds super rich

BBC

Ayesha Vardag - the Queen of divorce

Daily Mail
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