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Following Brexit, Britain could cement its place as the world’s divorce capital for the wealthy, according to a lawyer who has represented clients in some of the most high-profile cases of recent years.
Ayesha Vardag, president of law firm Vardags, told The Times: “The divorce industry is worth approximately £1bn in fees and if we were to open it up it could treble or quadruple that. This could be one of our greatest exports.”
In 2010, Vardag hit the headlines when she won a Supreme Court case involving German heiress Katrin Radmacher, which resulted in prenuptial agreements becoming enforceable in England and Wales.
The legal system in England and Wales is appealing to claimants because it tends to start with the principle of sharing assets built up during a marriage, while many other jurisdictions begin with what is held in an individual’s name.
The Times reports that this has led to “forum shopping” in cases where divorce proceedings could be held in England and Wales or elsewhere in Europe with battling spouses competing to be the first to lodge the case in their preferred jurisdiction.
Vardag has called on the post-Brexit government to let anyone have their divorce heard in England and Wales if they wish. She added that the resulting court fees, if they were adjusted on a case-by-case basis, could provide significant income for the exchequer.
“The VAT on one big high court case can pay to keep a court open for the entire year,” she said.