The Court of Appeal has applied Russian law to dismiss an appeal by a wealthy Russian businessman who sought a half-share of the family’s £40m London home.

The dispute concerned the beneficial ownership of a family home bought by Vladimir and Olga Slutsker using an offshore trust in the Cayman Islands for the benefit of both parties and their children.

When the marriage ended, Olga Slutsker exercised her right as the settlor of the trust to exclude her husband as a beneficiary.

Vladimir Slutsker challenged this, asserting that half the beneficial interest was held on trust for him, relying on both Russian and English law.

His wife argued that Russian law should be applied throughout and that it did not entitle him to a beneficial ownership. The court ruled in her favour using Russian law.

James Carroll, co-chair of the Law Society’s family law committee, said: ‘While the UK family courts have an overriding principal of discretion, this does not mean that they are oblivious to the laws of other countries.

‘Indeed, there is an inclination to pay heed to agreements that parties have made direct generally, and more so when they have done so in the context of the law of a further jurisdiction.’