It’s been another ‘very busy’ year for Mark Harper, whose highlights included two major reported judgments and a ‘significant win’ in a long-running case acting for a Russian oligarch.
Harper is particularly pleased about the case of S v S, where he acted for the nephew of a well known oligarch. ‘He obtained an order for recognition of a Russian divorce and a costs order against his former wife for £700,000’, he says.
A specialist in international cases – especially those involving offshore trusts – Harper is unafraid to litigate. ‘HFC are known for being tough litigators when necessary, whereas some of our competitors are reluctant to take the risk of going to trial’, he says.
This year he also published the third edition of his book, International Trust and Divorce Litigation. He’s seeing a rise in pre-nups, particularly when it comes to clients’ ‘highly complex cutting-edge international’ nature. He’s advised on a Russian-Israeli-Swiss-English post-nup for the son of a leading Russian oligarch and an Anglo- French-German pre-nup for a central European aristocrat this year alone.
‘Because continental Europe and other civil law countries such as Russia and China have a different system of marriage contracts, coming up with a solution for a pre-nup that works in, say, both London and Geneva is highly complex’, he notes. ‘In many of those countries, it is contrary to public policy to have an agreement which specifies the amount to be paid on divorce’.