Property Tycoon Settles Divorce Dispute

A property tycoon who claimed his estranged wife was not entitled to a share of his fortune because their marriage certificate was fake has settled a High Court dispute.

Asif Aziz said last month that he and his estranged wife Tagilde Aziz were both born abroad and obtained a “fake” marriage certificate so a child they had adopted could get a passport.

Mrs Aziz, however, disputed his claim and said they were married for 15 years and claimed she is entitled to a “fair share” of the marital finances she put at £1.1 billion.

Mrs Aziz, who is in her 50s, maintained that a Muslim ceremony of marriage had taken place in Malawi in 2002.

Lawyers for both sides have now told Mr Justice Moor, at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, that an agreement had been reached.

Details of the terms of the settlement were not given.


Couples could be committing accidental bigamy

A senior High Court judge has suggested that couples could be committing accidental bigamy after he cancelled 21 divorces organised by a disgraced former barrister.

Sir James Munby, the president of the High Court’s family division, said Khalik Bhatoo used false addresses on the divorce petitions and had forged signatures and filled out forms on at least nine of them.

According to Sir James Munby, the couples were technically still married, even if they had subsequently remarried and had children with a new spouse.

This also means that any later marriages would automatically be null and void.

The cases, which dated from 2006 to 2015, were at various stages of completion, with some only at the petition stage, while others had been finalised. 20 were marriages, while one was a civil partnership.

The case was brought by the Queen’s Proctor who is able to intervene in cases of divorce or probate where dishonesty is suspected.

Sir James said, “Underlying proceedings were tainted by deception in relation to the address of either the petitioner or the respondent, and the decrees, where decrees have been granted, were obtained by deception.”

Mr Bhatoo was called to the bar in 1999 and was disbarred in 2006 after being convicted of falsely claiming housing benefit and council tax.

He was further found guilty of three offences of professional misconduct in May 2005.



Couples will be allowed to apply for a divorce online

Couples will be able to apply for divorce online as part of a £1 billion reform of the justice system.

The scheme is being tested at three sites in the UK and is due to be extended to other centres in the coming months, the Ministry of Justice said.

It is part of a £1bn reform of the justice system and would allow couples to carry out the process online for the first time.

A spokeswoman for HM Courts and Tribunals Service said: “We have a world-leading legal system and are investing over £1bn to reform and enhance our courts to deliver swifter justice.

“We have launched the first divorce application services online at three sites and will be extending the testing over the coming months. These measures will simplify the process for divorce applicants and help progress applications quickly.”

The digital system has been piloted at East Midlands Divorce Centre in Nottingham for the past ten months, the Telegraph has reported.

Under the current system anyone seeking a divorce must fill out paper forms and send them to a court for consideration.

The reasons for the marriage ending have to be set out and agreed before a decree nisi is granted. A decree absolute can be issued six weeks afterwards, which legally ends the marriage.



Court of Appeal allowed a husband’s appeal against an order made by a Family Division judge

The Court of Appeal allowed a husband’s appeal against an order made by a Family Division judge that he should pay his wife a lump sum even though a Russian court had previously made a consent order following Russian divorce proceedings in which they both had legal representation.

Following an evaluation of all the relevant factors, the Court of Appeal concluded that it had not been appropriate for the Family Division to have made an order under the provisions of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 (MFPA 1984) relating to financial relief after an overseas divorce, and therefore its lump sum order would be set aside.

The couple had been divorced in Russia in 2009. A financial consent order was made in the Russian proceedings settling the wife’s worldwide claims. As a combined consequence of the implementation of the Russian order, operation of law and an agreement between the parties, the wife was granted $10m, the use of a house in Kensington during the children’s education, and child maintenance.

The wife, however, applied in the English court for financial relief under MFPA 1984, Pt III in 2014, arguing that she had not been provided with sufficient financial provision under the Russian order and sought a further £9.8m.

The husband appealed and argued that no relief should have been ordered in favour of the wife under MFPA 1984, Pt III.

The Court of Appeal, having evaluated all the relevant factors, reached the conclusion that it had not been appropriate to make an order under MFPA 1984, Pt III. The wife was also ordered to pay the husband’s costs of and incidental to the appeal, to be assessed if not agreed.


Princess of Luxembourg’s divorce taken to UK court

Princess Tessy of Luxembourg is splitting from her husband Prince Louis following an 11 year marriage.

Princess Tessy is now facing accusations of being a ‘gold digger’ after she launched divorce proceedings in the London courts.

Princess Tessie, 31, arrived for an initial hearing last week at the Royal Courts of Justice, in a bid to obtain a fair settlement in her divorce.

A High Court judge imposed interim reporting restrictions, preventing the media disclosing any of the financial details discussed in court.

The Princess’ counsel, Deborah Bangay QC, told the court: “My client has no wish to litigate and she made a very reasonable and sensible proposal. Unfortunately that proposal was rejected and my client had no option but to pursue this in litigation.”

Following the hearing Ms Bangay said: “She is not a gold digger. Far from it. She is simply seeking a fair and proper settlement.”

District Judge Richard Robinson granted a decree nisi at a family court in London in February after Princess Tessy spoke of the Prince’s “unreasonable behaviour.”

The Princess’ name has since been removed from the official website of the Luxembourg Royal Family and she lost her diplomatic status.

She will also lose the title of Royal Highness and will cease to be called Princess once the divorce becomes final.


Entrepreneur facing one of Britain’s biggest divorce settlements claims poverty

An entrepreneur said to be worth more than £200million is ‘pleading poverty,’ according to his estranged wife’s divorce lawyers.   The High Court heard that Andy Ruhan’s fortune was so large ‘it’s impossible to quantify.’   The 55-year-old who once owned 37 Thistle Hotels and sat on the board of the Lotus Formula One team, […]

Divorce lawyers argues for no-fault divorce

A leading divorce lawyer is campaigning for no-fault divorce and has taken her campaign directy to Conservative Party members.
Ayesha Vardag, founder of London firm Vardags, pleaded her case to delegates at the party conference to lobby their MPs and bring out a change in the law.
Vardag, as reported by the Law Gazette, she was motivated to launch the Campaign for Family Law Reform after seeing progress in parliament stall while clients continue to be corralled into accusations they did not want to make.
She said,
“Couples need to go through the process of stating, on the record, something critical about the other individual unless they are able to wait for two years of separation.
“The process of finding fault is antiquated and sets a conflictual path for the divorce from the outset. Most importantly, finding fault doesn’t help save marriages.”
Richard Bacon MP led the No-Fault Divorce Bill through to its first reading in the commons in 2015. He said he is ready to revive legislation and ask MPs to decide whether they want change.
Bacon said, “There should be a less traumatic and less costly way of dissolving marriages that have suffered irretrievable breakdown.”

Businessman says ex-wife not entitled to share of £1.1bn fortune

A wealthy businessman claims his former “wife” is not entitled to a share in a £1.1 billion fortune as he alledges they were never legally married.
Asif Aziz said he and his estranged wife Tagilde Aziz were both born abroad and obtained a “fake” marriage certificate so a child they had adopted could get a passport.
Mr Aziz now wants a High Court judge to rescind a divorce pronouncement.
Mrs Aziz, however, disputes his claim and says they were married for 15 years and claims she is entitled to a “fair share” of the marital finances.

Mrs Aziz maintains that Muslim ceremony of marriage had taken place in Malawi in 2002.

Mr Aziz refutes this claim and said that a fake marriage “certificate of convenience” had been issued.
Evidence is being analysed by Mr Justice Moor at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Richard Harrison QC, for Mr Aziz, told the judge in a written case outline,
“Mr Aziz’s evidence is clear.
“The parties went on holiday to Malawi in September 2002.
“They were at that time planning to relocate to England.
“They needed a passport.”
“Arrangements were made.”
Deborah Bangay QC, for Mrs Aziz, said,
“Mrs Aziz is entitled to – and does – rely on the presumption of marriage and the facts that the parties presented to the world for the totality of the period between 2002 and their separation.
“It is for Mr Aziz credibly to explain … why he presented to the world for a period of two decades that he and Mrs Aziz were married.”
She said an “unopposed” decree nisi had been pronounced by a judge in England in November 2016 and added, “The court need look no further than Mr Aziz’s obvious determination to an achieve overwhelming victory over Mrs Aziz at any cost.”
Mrs Aziz had “sought actively” to progress claims for a “fair share out of total resources of £1.1 billion”, Mr Justice Moor was told.
Her lawyers said Mr Aziz had also argued that he had “no capital” and was a “man of straw”.
The hearing continues.