Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mills McCartney Judgment Now Published in Full

As just reported by the British family law blog Pink Tape (Mills McCartney Award Announced - and Judgment published in full « Pink Tape), the McCartney-Mills divorce judgment has now been published in full, after Heather Mills' application for leave to appeal (in order precisely to prevent the entire judgment from being published) was denied. The entire judgment can be found here. See the video below, showing Heather Mills' comments to the media immediately upon leaving court yesterday, and before the full judgment was published after she lost her appeal this morning. Then read the comments from the Pink Tape blog by British barrister Lucy Reed at the end of this post.

Heather here alternates between, on the one hand, trying to convince us she is quite satisfied with the judgment, and on the other hand, criticizing the court system, the "club" of lawyers she faced, and the judge, all of whom were against her but begrudgingly gave her significant assets only because they had to. But she went back and forth, and couldn't consistently hide her displeasure. At one point she even complained that the (presumably inadequate) 35,000 pounds per year for support or maintenance she will get for daughter Beatrice (this 35,000 pounds, or roughly $70,000 a year, does not include the nanny and school fees, which also must be paid by Paul) will mean Beatrice will have to travel "B Class" while her father travels "A Class." Blah, blah, blah...

Heather said she wanted to appeal the publication of the entire judgment and first said something vague about how she was afraid publication of the entire judgment would be done in a way designed to make her look like she had been unsuccessful. But then, after somebody (her sister?) said something in her ear, Heather then explained that she was appealing the publication of the entire judgment for reasons of privacy, on account of her daughter. Oh, but, yes, I'm satisfied with the terms of the judgment itself, and I'm not appealing that, Heather kept stating.

Hmmm...Well, did you think you did well, Heather, or not?

Now that I have quickly read the judgment, I think I know why she didn't want it published, and I don't think it has anything to do with privacy for her daughter. The judge seems to describe Heather herself, and her evidence, as less than credible. Well, if she performed in court the way she spoke to the media here, I can see why the court found as it did.

Heather probably should have forked over the six hundred thousand pounds she says her former law firm wanted from her to represent her at the six-day hearing, rather than go it alone, as she did, and as she unconvincingly urges others to do. Perhaps she would then have been able to convince the court Paul McCartney is worth eight-hundred million pounds, rather than just four hundred million, and perhaps her other evidence would have seemed more believable. Maybe she would have walked away with many millions more, and wouldn't now be complaining about her daughter's having to travel B Class. Who knows? Anyway, this is fascinating stuff.

"UPDATE: lunchtime Tues. Heather Mills McCartney’s application for leave to appeal has been rejected by a 2 judge Court of Appeal. The judgment has been published in full - I have not had time to read it as I have to rush out and deal with more pressing matters (yes such things do exist), but you can find the pdf document here. All I can tell you (and make of this what you will) is that the word ‘unreasonable’ appears 16 times, ‘conduct’ a staggering 108, ‘contribution’ 19 times, ‘exaggerated’ 5 times, and ‘ridiculous’ once. ‘Husband’s case’ appears 8 times, whilst ‘wife’s case’ appears 20 - perhaps an indicator of a certain amount of judicial appeal-proofing going on? ‘evidence’ raises 76 hits, the one which caught my eye being at pa 16 where Heather’s evidence is described as inconsistent, inaccurate, less than candid and Heather as a less than impressive witness. Oops."

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

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