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Nigerian Divorce Ruling Overturned

Supreme Court Overturns Nigerian divorce ruling



The Supreme Court has awarded a lump sum to a wife embroiled in divorce proceedings after overturning a decision by a Nigerian court.

Five Justices ruled the wife would have suffered "real hardship" under the settlement reached in Nigeria.

The decision reinforced London's growing reputation as the world's capital of divorce payouts.

The couple involved, Olusola and Sikirat Agbaje, were married for 38 years and had five children together. They met each other in England in the 1960s.

They secured UK citizenship in 1972 but lived in Nigeria for the majority of their marriage.

They separated in 1999 when Mrs Agbaje came to live in New Barnet, north London, where her children had been cared for by a nanny.

Mr Agbaje issued divorce proceedings in the Nigerian court which awarded his former wife a life interest in a property in Lagos and a lump sum equivalent to about £21,000.

She went to the High Court in London where a judge awarded her a lump sum of £275,000 - about 39% of the former couple's assets.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Peter Morris from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “The decision is yet another example of the favourable treatment available to some spouses under English law when compared to other jurisdictions. This emphasises just how crucial it can be for a client to make the right decision at the beginning when there is choice of jurisdiction, and to take advice as soon as possible from a firm of solicitors with experience of international cases.”