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Woman who gave up legal career awarded €400,000 for ‘relationship-generated disadvantage’

02 Mar 2020 / international Print

Woman who gave up legal career awarded €400,000

A woman who says she sacrificed her legal career in order to bring up a family has been awarded Stg £400,000 by a family court in England.

Giving judgment in private in RC v JC, Mr Justice Moor said that he found sufficient “relationship-generated disadvantage” to justify awarding the wife compensation, on top of a divorce settlement.

The ex-spouses met when he was an associate solicitor and she a trainee, at the same firm.

She subsequently became an in-house lawyer, but the judgment notes that she stood a “very good chance” of becoming a partner at the law firm where they had both worked.

“It is agreed that the husband did not want her to remain at the firm if they were to marry, and she accepted that she could not remain.

Children

“I am satisfied that, by the time the decision was taken to leave, she had formulated her plan, which involved both marriage and, hopefully, children. She viewed herself as the parent who would take primary responsibility for the children. The husband’s career took precedence,” the judgment says.

However, the judge has also clarified that, in many of these cases, “the assets will be such that any loss is already covered by the applicant’s sharing claim. In other cases, the assets/income will be insufficient to justify such a claim in the first place.

"It follows that litigants should think long and hard before launching a claim for relationship-generated disadvantage, and they should not take this judgment as any sort of ‘green light’ to do so, unless the circumstances are truly exceptional.”

Divorce team

The wife was represented by Jane Keir, a partner in the family and divorce team at London firm Kingsley Napley. 

Keir said that, as a talented lawyer, her client sacrificed a potentially lucrative career for her family and to care for the children.

“We are pleased that Mr Justice Moor agreed,” said Keir.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland