AYESHA VARDAG

VARDAGS

Category
Company Size
UK
Phone number
020 7477 2165
Email address
details@vardags.com

Founded by Vardag as a sole practitioner in 2005, Vardags has grown into one of the country’s biggest divorce players. It is known for its confident, forceful approach and counts industrial magnates, sports stars, celebrities and members of international royal families as its clients.

‘[She] is remarkable in having come from virtually nowhere to the top ranks in barely ten years,’ a well-respected barrister told us. However soon it may not just be those within the law singing her praises: ‘We have decided we’re going to provide a full service to UHNW individuals including their corporate assets.’

It’s reflective of steady but organic growth: Vardags has recently opened an office in Manchester as well as Dubai where Vardag herself is now based championing the English legal system to her Middle Eastern and Asian clients: ‘We’re very much providing our London based service and our expertise in jurisdiction battles for those who are entitled to, and who want, to have their cases heard in England.’

She says she a huge advocate for the English legal system: ‘You can feel confident that however rich one of the parties is he or she is not going to be able to pay someone off and keep getting the results they want. That’s incredibly important.’ She also praises the ability of English courts to allow you to dig deep into an opponent’s assets: ‘There’s a real searching capacity to investigate finances, be that complex corporate structures, or complex trust structures – to look at the reality of what’s happening, not be fobbed off by the technical appearances. That’s something we can be incredibly proud off.’

More specifically the ability to utilise that endorsement for investigation is something she can be proud off. Prest v Petrodel being one of the cases in which she uncovered assets far beyond what was being disclosed by the opposing party: ‘If you’re good you can get to the bottom of what’s going on.’

Another key case is the ‘very intense’ Chai v Peng ‘Miss Malaysia’ case where Vardag is hoping for ‘a very good prospect of a record-breaking payout’ from the husband’s immense fortune as well as hoping to break legal convention and overturn a law requiring her client to divorce in Malaysia because a wife couldn’t have an independent domicile. ‘We’re up against these sorts of ideas and we feel we’re really fighting an immensely just position on that – we’re fighting a point about the independence of women and the capacity of a wife to choose her own domicile.’

However, getting the right result for her client can mean taking them away from the English courts: ‘If you’re the one who has got the money, who doesn’t want that probed, who wants to minimise their payout as much as possible then in many instances you don’t want to be in English jurisdiction and in those circumstances our job is to find other jurisdictions to which the couple is entitled and get our client in to those.’

It’s a pragmatic approach that recognises the reality of high money divorce. She’s not being trite when she compares such UHNW dealings between two people to a global corporate merger: ‘When people talk about divorce, what they really mean is the financial aspect – it’s up to a 50 per cent tax on your wealth, it’s probably the biggest financial transaction anyone will ever go through.’

And perhaps because of that she’s adamant that professionalism doesn’t preclude empathy: ‘While you want to get a good result for your client, because that’s why they’ve hired you, a good result does not involve trashing their relationships and the feelings and happiness of their children.’

Ayesha Vardag Q & A

Ayesha Vardag