McCartney-Mills judgment may be made public

Details of what is expected to be the biggest divorce settlement in history may be made public, Mr Justice Bennett has warned Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.

Until now all details surrounding the divorce case have been kept strictly confidential, with Bennett J, the presiding judge, issuing warnings to both sides to keep quiet or face contempt of court charges.

Public interest in the case has been so intense that the Judicial Communications Office has issued a statement on behalf of Bennett J. The divorce settlement will be handed down in private on 17th March, it said.

The statement added that Bennett J “will then decide, having heard submissions from the parties, whether or not to make the judgment public in whole or in part”.

It continued: “It is not unknown in high profile cases, or where the judges think the case has legal significance, for some or all of the settlement to be made public.”

Precise financial details of the settlement are expected to be kept out of the public eye.

It is understood that Mills could receive as much as £80m – almost double the £48m awarded to Beverly Charman when she divorced from her tycoon husband John Charman in May 2007.

Fiona Shackleton of Payne Hicks Beach is representing McCartney while Mills is representing herself after falling out with her lawyers at Mishcon de Reya.