The ruler of Dubai has been ordered to pay his ex-wife and their two children up to £554m in what is believed to be the biggest divorce settlement awarded by an English court.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum must pay a lump sum of £251.5m to Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan within three months and also make periodic payments of £5.6m a year for the benefit of each of their two children, secured by a £290m bank guarantee.

The settlement, which was revealed in a High Court judgment published today, also makes provision for Sheikh Mohammed to pay around £11m a year for Princess Haya and their children’s security costs and a £3m education fund for the children.

The total award is thought to be the largest-ever divorce settlement in the UK, beating the previous record of around £450m awarded to Tatiana Akhmedov in 2016 following her divorce from Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov.


Total legal bill for litigation between Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya is thought to be at least £150m

Source: Shutterstock

In private hearings before Mr Justice Moor earlier this year, it emerged that Princess Haya has spent more than £70m on legal fees across nearly three years of litigation, with Sheikh Mohammed’s costs thought to be significantly more – taking the total legal bill to at least £150m.

Harriet Errington, partner at private wealth firm Boodle Hatfield, said the settlement ‘would not have been possible in many jurisdictions’, with London ‘known internationally as the preferred venue for high-value divorces’.

Sarah Ingram, partner at national firm Winckworth Sherwood, said the case ‘demonstrates why London remains such an attractive jurisdiction for international divorces, particularly for the financially weaker party seeking their equal share’.

In a previous stage of the case, the High Court found that Sheikh Mohammed’s ‘servants or agents’ used spyware to hack the mobile phones of Princess Haya and her solicitors Baroness Shackleton and Nicholas Manners, from London firm Payne Hicks Beach, as well as her personal assistant and security staff.

One of her solicitors Ben Parry-Smith revealed last month that her legal team feared what he described as an ‘international shitshow’ as they prepared to make the ‘really serious’ allegations.

The High Court also previously found that Sheikh Mohammed had ‘ordered and orchestrated’ the abduction and forced return of his daughters Shamsa and Latifa to Dubai in 2000 and 2018 respectively.