Clive Standish, a 70yr-old former chief financial officer at the global investment bank UBS, has won a landmark legal battle against his ex-wife, Anna, 55, who was originally awarded a staggering £45 million award by the High Court as part of their divorce settlement. In response, lawyers for Standish have been successful in convincing three appeal judges to cut this hefty sum in half by approximately £20 million, making this the biggest cut to a divorce settlement in legal history. However, litigation is set to continue between the two with Standish’s ex-wife now intending to take her fight to the Supreme Court.

In the ruling, the appeal court judges stated that the earlier High Court Judge’s application of “the sharing principle”- which states that matrimonial assets should be shared equally between spouses unless there is good reason not to do so – had been “flawed”, resulting in “an unjustified division of the family’s wealth in the wife’s favour”. The ensuing 45% reduction to Mrs Standish’s settlement is now believed to be the largest reduction on record by the Court of Appeal, both in terms of percentage and total value. The appeal judges further supported the husband’s arguments by also rejecting an attempt on the former wife’s behalf to increase the award to a higher sum of £66 million. Lord Justice Moylan, who was flanked by Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Phillips at the time, gave the main ruling, saying that “a fair application of the sharing principle would have resulted in the wife receiving/retaining wealth of approximately £25 million”.

Having tied the knot in December of 2005, Clive and Anna Standish first separated in 2020, after 15 years of marriage. Upon their separation, the pair’s total marital assets were estimated to total just over £132.5 million. At the appeal hearing, Mr Standish’s lawyers argued that he had amassed the vast majority of this wealth prior to his marriage to Anna, given his long-term, highly successful career in finance. It was also revealed that, towards the end of their union, Mr Standish had transferred a significant portion of this wealth to his wife as part of an estate planning arrangement that was intended to maximise their children’s inheritance.

Rags To Riches: Bankrupt Hotel Porter Awarded £1.3 Million Payout From Avon Heiress Ex-wifeAlthough the arrangement was never fully implemented, Anna Standish, who was represented by Baroness Shackleton of Paynes Hicks Beach, still described the recent ruling as “unfair”, creating “an extraordinary precedent” which she felt meant that she had “inferior ownership rights to [her] former husband”. Mrs Standish argued that the £80 million sum, which Mr Standish had transferred to her in 2017, was given as an irrevocable gift and was therefore considered by the High Court to have been ‘matrimonialised’, hence its inclusion when calculating the original settlement. However, Mr Standish’s lawyers were successful in rebutting this statement by reaffirming that the transfer of funds did not change the fact that these assets had been generated by Mr Standish prior to the marriage, therefore rendering them ‘non-matrimonial’.

At Grayfords, we understand that it can be incredibly difficult to reach an agreement on how to part ways with an ex-partner, fiancé, or spouse, particularly when finances are involved. Our expert solicitors have a wealth of experience in dealing with complex financial arrangements and are also highly skilled in related areas of family law – including child arrangements, injunctions, and international family matters. Our work also accounts for the emotional and psychological toll that facing family conflicts can take, and we pride ourselves in being able to provide a holistic approach to client care that is designed to fully support clients as we guide them through legal procedure. If you are considering a divorce or are having difficulty with another family matter, then don’t hesitate to call us today and book your free consultation to find out more about how we can help.

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