After a long-running divorce row, the boss of Laura Ashley has been ordered to pay his ex-wife £64m.
Pauline Chai claims she had contributed to her husband’s success by being a “traditional wife”, and that she and Khoo Kay Peng had made a sharing agreement entitling her to half of the family wealth.
This case further re-emphasises that there should be no discrimination between the home maker and the breadwinner, which was a principle first espoused in the case of White and White, 17 years ago.
Pauline Chai would certainly not have received such a generous award if her husband had been successful in his attempts to have the matter dealt with in Malaysia. The case further highlights the importance of choosing the right jurisdiction in which to commence proceedings, and to do so quickly in what is now commonly known as a jurisdiction race. The importance of sound legal advice as soon as divorce becomes a possibility cannot be over estimated.
“He said Chai wanted the hearing to be held in England because an English judge would give her a more generous award.”