09 Feb 2016
Hughes Fowler Carruthers secures notable victory
In a landmark judgment delivered by Mr Justice Hayden on 8 February 2016, Christina Estrada successfully opposed an application by her ex-husband, Saudi billionaire Dr Walid Al-Juffali, to strike out her claims for financial relief following their divorce in 2014. Dr Juffali asserted he had diplomatic immunity by virtue of his appointment as Permanent Representative of St Lucia to the International Maritime Organisation.
Hughes Fowler Carruthers took on Ms Estrada’s case from her previous solicitors in December 2015, and were instrumental in securing a request by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Government of St Lucia to waive Dr Juffali’s diplomatic immunity.
Mr Justice Hayden held that Dr Juffali’s assertion of diplomatic immunity was “spurious”, and that Dr Juffali had sought and obtained a diplomatic appointment with the sole intention of defeating Ms Estrada’s claims consequent on the breakdown of their marriage. The Judge also found that Dr Juffali is a permanent resident of the UK, which means that he would in any event not be entitled to full diplomatic immunity from claims brought by Ms Estrada.
Frances Hughes said: “Mr Justice Hayden has found that Dr Juffali sought diplomatic immunity with the sole intention of defeating my client’s claims. The issue of the abuse of diplomatic immunity is one with profound international importance, and my client is grateful to the Judge for his clear findings in her case. Nevertheless, all my client seeks is an appropriate and fair financial settlement for herself and the parties’ daughter.”
Ms Estrada is represented by partners Frances Hughes and Renato Labi, and associate Bryan Jones. The Judgment can be found here.
Read the full article in the Financial Times here.
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