Peer loses appeal to have money fight with estranged wife settled in Scotland

The High Court in London where the case was heard
The High Court in London where the case was heard
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An aristocrat has lost the latest round of an Anglo-Scottish legal battle with his estranged wife.

Charles Villiers and Emma Villiers, who are both in their 50s and lived together in Dumbarton before separating, disagree on whether their arguments over money should be staged in an English or Scottish court.

Mr Villiers said their marriage was being dissolved in Scotland and argued any fight over money should be staged in Scotland.

His wife, who now lives in London, disagreed.

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

Mrs Justice Parker had ordered Mr Villiers to pay Mrs Villiers £2,500 a month maintenance, pending a resolution of their money fight.

She had rejected Mr Villiers’ “jurisdictional challenges” and said any money fight should take place in England.

Three Court of Appeal judges in England yesterday 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”.

Lady Justice King, Lord Justice David Richards and Lord Justice Moylan had analysed argument at a Court of Appeal hearing in London in March.

Barrister Michael Horton, who led Mr Villiers’ legal team, had told appeal judges the couple had spent almost all their married life in Scotland after tying the knot in 1994.

He said Mr Villiers stayed in the family home Milton House in Dumbarton after the couple separated in 2012.

Mrs Villiers “came south to England”, first living near Oxford then in London. She 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.

Timothy Scott QC, who represented Mrs Villiers, said the appeal should be dismissed.

He told appeal judges: “These cases are always about looking for litigation advantage on both sides.”

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

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

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

Mr Villiers had been made bankrupt in November 2013.