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Aristocrat takes divorce battle with estranged wife to Supreme Court

Charles Villiers and Emma Villiers disagree on whether a money fight should be staged in England or Scotland.

The legal battle is taking place in the Supreme Court (Yui Mok/PA)
The legal battle is taking place in the Supreme Court (Yui Mok/PA)

By Brian Farmer, PA

An aristocrat and his estranged wife are preparing to take an Anglo-Scottish legal battle to the Supreme Court.

Charles Villiers and Emma Villiers, who lived together near Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, before separating, disagree on whether their arguments over money should be staged in an English or Scottish court.

Mr Villiers, 56, says because divorce proceedings are taking place in Scotland, any fight over money should also be staged in Scotland.

His wife, who now lives in England, disagrees.

A judge based in the Family Division of the High Court in London initially considered the case.

Mrs Justice Parker, who began analysing the case in 2015, said any fight over the division of assets should take place in England.

In 2018, three Court of Appeal judges in London upheld that decision and dismissed an appeal by Mr Villiers.

They said divorce proceedings in Scotland and a money fight in England were not “related actions”.

Mr Villiers has now asked Supreme Court justices to consider the case.

A hearing is due to start at the Supreme Court in London on Monday.

Barrister Michael Horton, who represented Mr Villiers, told appeal judges that the couple had spent almost all their married life in Scotland after getting married in 1994.

Mr Villiers stayed in the family home, Milton House, near Dumbarton, after the couple separated in 2012.

Mrs Villiers “came south to England”, first living near Oxford, then in London, and made a cash claim in the High Court in London.

Mr Horton had said if Mrs Justice Parker’s decision was allowed to stand, London could become the “maintenance capital” of the UK.

Mr and Mrs Villiers are listed on the website www.thepeerage.com. The website provides a “genealogical survey” of the peerage in Britain.

Lawyers representing Mr Villiers say he is a relative of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Mr Horton had told appeal judges about financial difficulties following the breakdown of the couple’s marriage.

He said Barclays had begun possession proceedings and Milton House had been repossessed in early 2015.

Mr Villiers had been made bankrupt in November 2013 – then discharged from bankruptcy in November 2014, he said.

PA

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