Who? Beth Wilkins (pictured), family law partner at JMW Solicitors.
Why is she in the news? Acted for Charles Sharland, chairman of technology company AppSense, in the multi-million-pound Sharland divorce case.
Alison Sharland brought the case, claiming her original divorce settlement was unfair. The settlement awarded her a £10.4m share of the couple’s liquid assets in exchange for a lower 30% share in the AppSense business. She appealed following rumours in the media of a higher-than-expected valuation of the company.
Earlier this month the Court of Appeal dismissed Alison Sharland’s appeal to reopen the settlement by a majority of 2:1. Three judges found that Charles Sharland had been ‘dishonest’, ‘fraudulent’, and had perjured himself.
However, they made the decision on the basis that the original settlement would not have been significantly different had the valuation information been available at the time.
Alison Sharland has been ordered to pay Charles Sharland’s costs. She has said she plans to seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Thoughts on the case: ‘It’s so sad this has been going on so long. The knock-on effect on the family is inestimable and it grieves me.’
Why become a lawyer: ‘As a child I was argumentative and called the “the lawyer” at home. But I love the area of law I practise because I am a people person. I meet and get inside the heads and souls of such a cross-section of people.’
Career high: ‘A young lady who came in to see me who said her husband would give her £1m in the divorce settlement. But when I advised her to take it to court she got £15m.’
Career low: ‘One Christmas Eve I got a phone call from someone who told me to come and look at a billboard. When I got there it was a huge poster of myself, which read “to the lovely Beth: wish my wife and kids a Merry Christmas”.’