Supreme Court to deliver verdict in big money divorce case

The Supreme Court will next week decide whether oil tycoon Michael Prest can escape handing over assets totalling £17.5m to his ex-wide because the assets are owned by his company, Petrodel.

In 2011 Mr Justice Moylan ordered Mr Prest, founder of Nigerian energy company Petrodel Resources, to hand over £17.5m to his former wife of 15 years.

However, the first instance judge said that as Mr Prest was unlikely to hand over the assets given that he had flouted court orders, he should transfer 14 properties in the UK and abroad that were held by Petrodel Resources and other companies owned by him to his ex-wife as part payment.

The Court of Appeal (CoA) reversed the ruling in October (26 October) and Mrs Prest took her case to the Supreme Court.

Divorce lawyers said the CoA ruling would have a negative impact on wives and effectively create a “cheat’s charter” for wealthy husbands looking to escape their financial obligations to the family.

Farrer & Co partner Jeremy Posnansky QC instructed 1 Hare Court’s Richard Todd QC to lead Stephen Trowell of the same set and Serle Court’s Daniel Lightman at the Supreme Court for Mrs Prest.

They faced Jeffrey Green Russell solicitor Sarah Ingram who instructed Queen Elizabeth Buildings’ Tim Amos QC to lead Erskine Chambers’ Ben Shaw, and QEB’s Oliver Wise and Amy Kisser for Petrodel.

The ruling will be delivered on Wednesday (12 June).