06 Jul Partner Alex Carruthers comments in the Financial Times on how Supreme Court’s Villiers judgment could fuel the exploitation of divorce tourism
An aristocratic relative of the Duchess of Cornwall has lost a long-running battle to stop the English courts from ruling on a money row with his estranged wife.
Charles Alastair Hyde Villiers, 57, filed for divorce in Scotland and argued his spouse, Emma Mary Jane Villiers, could not use courts in England to fight for a share of his family fortune. He accused her of “trying it on” in divorce tourism, as they had lived in an 18th-century Scottish country manor for almost all of their marriage.
High Court judges sided with Mrs Villiers, and the Supreme Court this morning rejected a bid by Mr Villiers to keep the row out of the English courts. Delivering the judgment, Lord Sales found it was possible to have proceedings both north and south of the border, saying: “A judgment in the wife’s maintenance claim would not be irreconcilable with a divorce decree in Scotland.”
Alex Carruthers commented: “Although close geographically, Scotland and England are worlds apart in their treatment of parties on divorce. This case opens up the possibility of exploiting that gap even more in the future.”