An overhaul of the law on how to split a divorcing couple’s assets was urged by senior judges yesterday as they ruled that a woman can keep her £48 million award – the biggest ordered by British courts in legal history.
Three appeal judges headed by Sir Mark Potter, the most senior family judge, also signalled support for legally binding prenuptial contracts now that London is said to be “the divorce capital of the world for aspiring wives”.
Their calls for reform came as they threw out a challenge to the £48 million award by John Charman, nicknamed the “King of the London insurance market”, in a ruling that confirms that the “equality principle” should govern the splitting of a couple’s assets.
Mr Charman, 54, had challenged the sum awarded by a High Court judge, saying his wife Beverley’s awarded share of his £131 million fortune – 36 per cent – was “grotesque and unfair”. He said yesterday that he would appeal to the House of Lords.
He added that his massive contribution to the family fortune – built up from almost nothing – meant that he should receive a larger slice of the total assets, which were assessed at £131 million. He had offered his wife £20 million, “an enormous sum”, he said after the ruling yesterday.