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Judge slams foreign litigants for 'out-of-control' divorce cases

A judge has spoken out against foreign divorce litigants who he claims are engaging in 'out-of-control' divorce cases which are causing more needy claimants to lose valuable court time, reports LawGazette.co.uk

Mr Justice Holman used his High Court judgment in the case of Chai v Peng [2014] EWHC 750 (FAM), to criticise foreign litigants who he claims are engaged in over-the-top divorce proceedings that cost valuable court time and deny other claimants the time they need for their cases.

In the Chai V Peng case, a couple married for 42 years with five children have initiated divorce proceedings both in England and Malaysia, where the husband primarily lives.

The case remarkably has already seen legal costs totalling almost £2m. The wife in the case has already spent the £1.85m allocated to her for maintenance, and has subsequently reapplied to receive £125,000 per month in maintenance as an ongoing payment, plus £245,000 to cover her final legal costs.

The judge ruled that her claim was excessive and instead awarded her £35,000 per month in maintenance, and £100,000 towards her final legal costs.

The wife in the case currently lives in the couple's £30m home in Hertfordshire.

Ruling on the case the judge pointed out that despite the astronomical fees spent by both parties to the case on lawyers, the amount paid in to the UK court system was a paltry £2,355.

"So far as the situation here is concerned, neither of them are British citizens. Neither of them currently pays any English taxes whatsoever," Mr Justice Holman said.

"Very serious issues ought to arise as to just how much time of an English court these parties should be able to take up on these preliminary skirmishes, whilst squeezing out the many needy litigants who need precious court time to recover their children from abduction or seek their return from care, and other such issues," he added.

The couple's divorce is likely to require an additional ten days of court time in October, at which time it is thought the costs of the case could rise to 'astronomical' levels.