19 November 2012
Family Law Solicitor Caroline Harvey on the Davies Divorce
Lord Justice Thorpe in a published article stated, recently ‘big payments should be consigned to history!’ This was said when presiding over a case in which multi millionaire hotel boss Andrew Davies was battling in the C. A. to reduce a previous award of £2.75 million to his wife, Debra. The Judge went on to say ‘ Where wives feel it is reasonable to ask for millions to maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to, such requests should be consigned to history, adding, we only talk about ‘needs’ when there isn’t a lot to go round’.Mr Davies owned and ran his business ‘The Cardiff Hotel’ in Bayswater, London. It had been gifted to him and his siblings by his parents. He had bought out their interest some time ago. Mrs Davies had, during the 5 year marriage (and it was acknowledged by the Court when the previous order had been made) significantly contributed to the success of the business. The actual relationship began in 1997. There were also two youngChildren.
She had been awarded over £2 million for her interest and share in the hotel which had been valued at over £6M. Mr Davies was unhappy atMrs Davies receiving a third of the hotel value (£2.2M) plus the value of the equity in the former matrimonial home (550k). He said his wife was a mere employee who had been the second best receptionist they had had at the hotel!! He went on to say she should not get a share of the hotel’s value merely because she was a paid employee ‘who simply did her duties’.Their Lordships Thorpe, Rimer and Elias sat in the Court of Appeal to hear Mr Davies’ application. Mrs Davies’ legal team built her case very much on the fact that the couple had worked ceaselessly for years to transform a dowdy and unwelcoming hotel with no sense of customer service into a successful and lucrative business, she had singlehandedly marketed the hotel, built a website and transformed the advertising. She and Mr Davies had occupied a 9 x 8 foot room at the hotel as their living quarters before they could move into their home. Throughout the case, it was the husband’s position that the wife was a ‘paid employee’, - and he had a ‘great love’ of the hotel and a strong sense of entitlement to it. Dealing with those views Lord Justice Thorpe stated that as she had received remuneration the husband clearly felt his wife had ‘simply done her duty’, no more. The parties’ positions are therefore, a long way apart.Their Lordships reserved their decision on Mr Davies’ appeal, to be delivered at a later date.
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