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13 March 2015 0 Comments
Posted in Family, Opinion

Supreme Court’s landmark divorce ruling

Author headshot image Posted by , Partner

A woman who was divorced more than 20 years ago has won the right to seek payments from her ex-husband, following a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court.

Judges this week agreed to grant Kathleen Wyatt permission to make a belated claim against Dale Vince, a multi-millionaire businessman.

Mr Vince, who founded green energy firm Ecotricity, had tried to argue that it was too late for his ex-wife to pursue the case – the couple’s marriage formally came to an end in 1992.

Despite this, the Supreme Court agreed unanimously that Ms Wyatt’s case should be heard by a Family Court.

Lord Wilson said that the claim was “legally responsible,” although he conceded that the £1.9million payout she was hoping for was too large a sum.

“It is obvious, even at this stage, that an award approaching that size is out of the question,” he said. “Her claim may even be dismissed.

“But there is, in our opinion, a real prospect that she will secure a comparatively modest award, perhaps of a size which would enable her to purchase a somewhat more comfortable, mortgage-free home.”

Mr Vince, said to be worth more than £100million, branded the decision “mad” and feared it would set a dangerous precedent.

“This could signal open season for people who had brief relationships a quarter of a century ago,” he said.

“Our relationship ended 32 years ago which is an incredible passing of time. We had a settlement 20 years ago but I cannot prove that because it was so long ago that not even the courts keep records.

“I think it is very wrong just to cash in what is in effect a very old lottery ticket on her part.”

Ms Wyatt first launched legal action in 2011 and said she was looking forward to concluding the litigation.

To find out more about the family services we provide, please contact Patrick Hart from our Family Law team today.

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