It was more than a year ago when I first blogged about Agbaje v Agbaje. (See: London is the “divorce capital of the world”? Think again!) This drawn-out case involves a couple who married in 1967, gained British citizenship, separated in 1999 and divorced in Nigeria.
Had the case been heard in England, Mrs Agbaje would have received at least half of the couple’s assets. As it was a Nigerian court left her virtually penniless, with her former husband retaining assets worth £616,000. The case has been in and out of our courts for years now, with Mrs Agbaje seeking a fairer settlement here in England.
Today the Supreme Court ruled in her favour – and I was delighted. So when journalists contacted me for comment, I didn’t exactly mince my words (below). UPDATE: Mrs Agbaje’s peerless Queen’s Counsel, Nigel Dyer QC, tells me that the Supreme Court ruled 5-0 in her favour.
I don’t necessarily share the same opinions about matrimonial jurisprudence as the Head of our International Law department, who was quoted in The Lawyer. We hail from differing backgrounds: mine is rooted in the common law with discretion as its key, whereas German family law is strict and codified. And the difference in our approach actually works well in the office, where we can advise clients from differing perspectives.
Incidentally, I have never been keen on the description of London as the “world’s divorce capital”. Even though Stowe Family Law is opening a new London office, I feel obliged to point out that good settlements aren’t curtailed by the M25!
Nigeria divorce judgment attracts attention
By Jane Croft
Law Courts Correspondent
The Supreme Court reinforced London’s reputation as “divorce capital of the world” after it found in favour of a Nigerian woman who took her case to the UK courts after disputing the divorce settlement she was awarded by a Nigerian court .
Family lawyers said the keenly watched judgment could open the floodgates for wealthy spouses in “big money” divorce cases who are unhappy with divorce awards made by overseas courts to seek a bigger payout in the UK.
London has been dubbed ”divorce capital of the world” because recent changes in the law meant wives are now favoured in big money break-ups.
The Supreme Court ruled that Sikirat Agbaje had not received an adequate financial settlement from her barrister husband when the couple divorced in Lagos in 2003 after 38 years of marriage. Continue reading»