Ayesha Vardag > Vardags > London, England > Lawyer Profile
10 OLD BAILEY
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Divorce and family
Ayesha Vardag, Founder and President of Vardags and ‘Britain’s top divorce lawyer’, is known for her ground-breaking family law practice. As the go-to divorce lawyer for ultra-high net worth clients with the most challenging cases, her work often involves complex financial matters, international jurisdictions and other sensitivities surrounding high profile individuals, including managing the press. With an impressive track record of major victories in the English courts, Ayesha is well established as a leader in the field of family law. She is one of the few lawyers called upon to advise heads of state, both on English and international law, and has been involved in many of the cases that have formed the landscape of divorce law in our times.
‘Britain’s top divorce lawyer’ (The Law Society, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The New York Huffington Post and The Independent), ‘One of the star lawyers turning London into the divorce capital of the world’ (The Evening Standard), ‘the Queen of Divorce’ (Daily Mail) and ‘the Diva of Divorce’ (TIME Magazine, Easy Living Magazine) are all epithets used for Ayesha Vardag, Founder and President of Vardags.
Ayesha is dual-qualified (pupillage at 4 New Square), City-trained (Linklaters, London & Moscow), armed with law degrees from Cambridge and Université Libre Brussels and previously worked on treaties at the Legal Division UN International Atomic Energy Agency. She moved into family law after being hired away from the Bar by her own divorce lawyer. Ayesha first established her own family law firm in 2005 with the mission to bring City quality to family law. The firm incorporated into Vardags in 2010, and enjoyed a stratospheric rise to become a leading national, high-end firm with the international clientele that it has today.
Recognising Ayesha’s dominance in family law, in 2016 she was named ‘Woman of the Year’ in the NatWest Everywoman Awards for ‘changing the legal landscape’. Ayesha is also one of the very few family lawyers to have received the accolade of The Times’ ‘Lawyer of the Week’.
Ayesha has been at the helm of many of the leading cases of our day, securing big wins at the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court. In 2010 Ayesha changed English law when she won the landmark Supreme Court case of Radmacher v Granatino which made prenuptial agreements legally enforceable in the UK.
Ayesha has been noted as acting in almost all of the biggest cases running through the family courts including: Acting for a head of state on issues of diplomatic and sovereign immunity in a divorce and international children matter; acting for Sareh Al-Baker in Al-Baker v Al-Baker, securing the largest lump sum ever (£63m) against a spouse after a foreign divorce; acting for the wife in Young v Young where Ayesha helped secure the largest award ever against a declared bankrupt; acting for Yasmin Prest in the ‘corporate veil’ case of Prest v Petrodel to provide the beneficial interest arguments that won in the Supreme Court; acting successfully in a ground-breaking transatlantic nullity case; obtaining what is believed to be a record interim child maintenance award against a royal family member; acting in England’s first concluded family law arbitration involving a head of state; for Li Quan in the international tiger charity case; for the Marchioness of Northampton in her famous divorce settlement; for the wife of a Qatari Sheikh; and for the former Miss Malaysia Pauline Chai in her victory against her Laura Ashley tycoon husband in Chai v Peng, which saw Ms Chai awarded a 64m settlement, one of the highest ever court awards of its kind. Ayesha recently acted for the husband in the high-profile case of FRB v DCA, an immensely complex and high-profile divorce case involving the scions of two allegedly billionaire families.
In July 2018, Ayesha represented a client in the landmark posthumous conception proceedings of Y v A Healthcare NHS Trust & The HFEA & Z (by his litigation friend, The Official Solicitor), obtaining the first ever order from the Court of Protection to secure the extraction, storage and use of a man’s sperm after he had suffered a catastrophic brain injury. As a result, the man’s wife, with whom he had been pursuing fertility treatment, had the possibility of continuing to pursue the family they had planned.
Ayesha’s views have been canvassed by the Law Commission and, as a lecturer, she has appeared at the Marriage Foundation’s inaugural conference, the White Paper conference, the Cambridge Law Society and Winchester and Eton Colleges. Ayesha is regularly sought by the media for expert commentary, with appearances on BBC News, BBC Question Time, CNN, the Today Programme and Newsnight to name but a few. Her opinion often features in the national papers, including The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent, and also the legal press.
Ayesha speaks French and Italian fluently, basic Spanish, rusty Portuguese, Russian, and Urdu, and beginner’s Arabic.
Ayesha read Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and subsequently secured a Duke of Edinburgh award for membership of the Inner Temple. She was a Cambridge Wiener Anspach scholar for a Masters in European Law at the Université Libre Brussels.
Ayesha is a member of the Oxford and Cambridge Club, the Capital Club Dubai, and the Inner Temple. Her interests include opera, adventure travel, equestrian eventing, show jumping and breeding, and spending time in Hampshire, Southern Italy, and Dubai with her six cats, six dogs, twenty-two horses, and six combined children.
Lawyer Rankings(Leading individuals)
Vardags‘ reputation is one of big money and hard fights. What that conceals is the diligence and care that the team takes with every single one of its cases.’ The firm has extensive coverage throughout the country through its various offices and specialises in complex, challenging, high profile and international litigation for its predominantly wealthy client base. The ‘very bright‘ Ayesha Vardag is well known. The ‘very impressive‘ Georgina Hamblin heads the team that is among the ‘crème de la crème and provides a Rolls Royce service. The client care and attention to detail is second to none’. The ‘first-rate children lawyer’ Katherine Res Pritchard has been described as the ‘doyenne of the future’. Simon McKirgan is skilled at handling high-net-worth divorces and separation that often involve complex jurisdictional issues as well as other issues such as private children proceedings. The team provides ‘very much a high-end personal service‘.