29 October 2021

Judge oversees latest stage of Sir Frederick Barclay divorce dispute

29 October 2021

A judge is overseeing another stage of divorce court litigation featuring businessman Sir Frederick Barclay and his ex-wife.

Sir Jonathan Cohen had ruled in May that Lady Hiroko Barclay should receive lump sums totalling £100 million following the breakdown of a 34-year marriage.

Lady Barclay on Friday returned to court to make an application for enforcement of that award.

The judge, who is based in London, oversaw the latest stage of the litigation at a private online hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.

He placed limits on what could be reported about the case.

But he said the parties could be named and it could be reported that Lady Barclay was making an application for enforcement of the award.

Sir Jonathan criticised Sir Frederick, 87, in his ruling on the pair’s fight over money in May.

He said Sir Frederick had behaved in a “reprehensible” fashion during the dispute.

Lady Hiroko Barclay (left) leaves the High Court (Kirsty O'Connor/PA) (PA Archive)

The judge said Sir Frederick had sold a luxury yacht and “applied the equity for his own use” in breach of orders.

Sir Frederick and Lady Barclay had fought at a private trial in the Family Division of the High Court earlier in the year.

The judge ruled Lady Barclay should get £100 million.

He said she had wanted £120 million and Sir Frederick had made an offer which might have led to getting nothing.

The judge had published a detailed ruling, given to Sir Frederick, Lady Barclay and their lawyers, following the private trial.

Sir Frederick and Lady Barclay had disagreed over whether that ruling should be made public – he said the ruling should stay private, she said it should be published.

Mr Justice Cohen, who had allowed journalists to attend the trial but placed wide limits on what could be reported, said he had decided to publish a shortened version giving some detail.

“The principal criticism that I made of (Sir Frederick) related to his treatment of orders made for the production of documents and answers to questions,” he had said, in the shortened version of the ruling.

“Those orders were made specifically in the context of (him) seeking to argue that loan notes to which he was entitled and which constituted the vast bulk of his wealth were not likely to be honoured, in full or in part, by reason of an alleged absence of liquidity in the underlying family businesses.”

The judge said Sir Frederick “repeatedly” ignored orders to produce documents or answer questions.

He added: “Part of (Sir Frederick’s) available assets included a luxury yacht which was on the market for sale.

Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay after receiving their knighthoods (PA Wire)

“I made orders intended to control the sale and the use of the proceeds.

“He completely ignored those orders, sold the yacht, and applied the equity for his own use.

“I regarded that behaviour as reprehensible.”

Sir Frederick had said, in a statement, after the May ruling: “I am saddened that after 34 years my marriage has come to an end.

“This was not something I wanted.”

He said he hoped Lady Barclay could find happiness and wished her well.

Sir Frederick and Lady Barclay had been estranged but still married when the trial was staged.

The judge earlier this year signalled an end to the Barclays’ marriage at a separate hearing, by issuing a divorce decree.

Lady Barclay had petitioned for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, he was told.

Sir Frederick and his twin brother Sir David were among the UK’s most high-profile businessmen.

Sir David died aged 86 in January.

Their interests included the Telegraph Newspaper Group and The Ritz hotel in London.

The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco.

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