Sunday 18 March 2018

Multi-millionaire loses legal bid to keep secret his cash fight with ex-wife

Scales (stock)
Scales (stock)

Brian Farmer

A multi-millionaire businessman has failed in a bid to have news of a family court cash fight with his ex-wife kept secret.

Giles Mackay wanted hearings of his dispute with Caroline Mackay to be staged in private and wanted journalists to be prevented from revealing the names of him and his ex-wife.

But a High Court judge known for wanting "as much openness as possible" in family court litigation has ruled against Mr Mackay.

Mr Justice Holman staged a preliminary hearing of the case in public and ruled that the names of Mr and Mrs Mackay could be reported.

He said it was right that names of children and detail of confidential financial information should not be made public.

But he said names of parties and some detail of the dispute could and should be revealed.

His ruling comes at a time when senior family judges are in disagreement over how much the public should be told about family court money fights between separated couples.

Mr Justice Holman, who usually analyses cash fights between separated couples at public hearings, says there is a ''pressing need'' for more openness.

He outlined his views in a ruling on a case in June - after sitting in open court to analyse evidence and allowing reporters to name adults involved.

Other family court judges normally sit in private to analyse cash disputes between separated couples.

And last week another judge - who, like Mr Justice Holman, sits in the Family Division of the High Court - said he did not agree with Mr Justice Holman's "practice of ordering ... that every ancillary relief case listed before him should be heard in open court".

Mr Justice Mostyn said, in a ruling on a separate case, that such disputes were ''quintessentially private business''.

Mr Justice Holman analysed evidence in the Mackay case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court on Friday - any trial is not expected to take place until next year.

The judge told Mr and Mrs Mackay - who are thought to have lived in London: "It is known (amongst barristers) that I am a judge who favours as much openness as possible in all court proceedings."

He said an agreement had been reached last year on how much Mr Mackay should pay to Mrs Mackay following the breakdown of their marriage.

The judge said Mr Mackay had been valued as having assets worth more than £20 million.

But he said Mrs Mackay was now complaining that her ex-husband had not revealed all his wealth. And she wanted to judge to analyse her claim and rule that she should get more money.

Lawyers for Mrs Mackay said Mr Mackay was "very worried about publicity".

The judge was told that Mr and Mrs Mackay had already run up more than £1.7 million in lawyers' bills.

:: Mr Justice Holman agreed to hand the case to another judge after discovering that he and Mr Mackay had a mutual sailing friend.

Mr Mackay said he was a keen yachtsman - like Mr Justice Holman.

He said he knew people who were members of a sailing club to which the judge belonged.

Mr Justice Holman said he was friendly with one of those people and said that might cause him some embarrassment.

He said another judge would oversee the case in future.

Mrs Mackay had said there was no need for the case to be handed to another judge.

Barrister Nigel Dyer QC, who represented Mrs Mackay, said Mr Mackay was "very worried about publicity".

And Mr Dyer said Mr Mackie wanted another judge to hear the case because he knew Mr Justice Holman had a practice of sitting in public.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News