Frances Hughes is interviewed in the Law Society Gazette following her success in the Christina Estrada case.
Why is she in the news? Acted for former supermodel Christina Estrada, who was awarded a £53m cash lump sum after a High Court battle with her billionaire ex-husband, Saudi businessman Sheikh Walid Juffali. Dr Juffali had already obtained a talaq (divorce) in Saudi Arabia. Estrada obtained leave under part III of the 1984 Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act to apply for financial relief in England, because she could not bring a case in Saudi Arabia. With her own assets this provided Estrada with a total settlement of £75m plus jewellery, cars, chattels and so on, which (by £50m) is the highest needs award ever made in the Family Division.
‘I was only instructed on 14 December. Dr Juffali’s ambassadorial status and ill health seemed pretty insuperable problems, but with assistance from the Foreign Office, the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court the issue of Juffali’s ambassadorial status was resolved in a record 12 weeks. By then we had obtained an emergency hearing date for financial remedy proceedings. Mrs Estrada was forced to run ‘needs’ only because of the lack of time to run a sharing case.’
Read the full interview in the Law Society Gazette here.