Clintons, Withers, line up for £2.4bn Ecclestone divorce

Clintons’ star family lawyer Liz Vernon is to go up against Withers partner Mark Harper in the Ecclestone divorce, set to produce the largest divorce settlement in UK legal history.

Clintons, Withers, line up for £2.4bn Ecclestone divorceClintons’ star family lawyer Liz Vernon (pictured) is to go up against Withers partner Mark Harper in the Ecclestone divorce, set to produce the largest divorce settlement in UK legal history.

Slavica Ecclestone, the wife of Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone, has instructed Vernon to act for her in the divorce.

Eccelstone, the man responsible for turning Formula One into an international sport super brand and who is believed to have a fortune of £2.4bn, has instructed Harper.

A divorce lawyer close to the case said: “This is another big money case and a case in which the husband has brought a huge amount of wealth to the marriage. Stellar contributions will apply.”

In the Charman divorce, which set the current benchmark for the largest divorce settlement at £48m, the Court of Appeal said that in cases where one spouse has made a disproportionate financial contribution to the relationship, the spouse who has contributed less should receive between a third and 45 per cent of the assets.

The ruling means that Mrs Ecclestone could take up to £1.08bn from the marriage.

Harper was instrumental in the Charman divorce, in which he acted for John Charman.

He also acted in the landmark Crossley case earlier this year for Peter Crossley, which would have determined the validity of prenuptial agreements had Susan Crossley not dropped her claim last minute (The Lawyer, 14 February ).

Vernon established her credentials when she represented Karen Parlour in her divorce from Arsenal and England footballer Ray Parlour (The Lawyer, 12 July 2004 ).

The groundbreaking Court of Appeal judgment gave Karen Parlour a third of her husband’s future earnings for four years. Vernon also played a key role in Prince Charles’ divorce from Princess Diana.

It comes as Guy Ritchie’s divorce lawyer, Helen Ward of Manches, and Madonna’s lawyer, Fiona Shackleton of Payne Hicks Beach, finalised details of their divorce.

It is understood Ritchie will walk away from the marriage without a cash payout from Madonna after saying he did not want any of the singer’s money. He will, however, receive the couple’s 1,200 Wiltshire estate.

Sources close to Ritchie said his principal aim was to secure a childcare agreement for the couple’s two son’s. As such Ward instructed childcare specialist, Stephen Cobb QC, of Atlantic Chambers to represent Ritchie.