The Court of Appeal has ruled against insurance magnate John Charman and confirmed that the UK’s largest-ever divorce settlement should stand. In September 2006, the Family Division of the High Court ordered that Mr Charman’s former wife Beverly should receive a lump sum of £40m and retain existing assets of £8m already in her own name. To accomplish this, it ordered that a family trust fund of £70m set up by the couple should be divided, not retained for the benefit of their children.
The family wealth is estimated to exceed £130m and the couple had been married for 28 years before their divorce. Virtually all of their money had been made during that time. Mr Charman had offered his wife a settlement of £20m, unforgettably stating that it was ‘more than anyone could spend in a lifetime’.
The fact that the family's fortune was built up during their marriage was important in the ruling.
Mr Charman has been denied leave to appeal to the Lords, though it is though that he will do so by way of petition. At present he is also faced with a bill for legal costs estimated at £5m.