Ayesha Vardag

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ayesha Vardag
Ayesha Mary Barbara Vardag

March 1968
ResidenceLondon, UK
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (B.A.)
Université libre de Bruxelles (LL.M.)
EmployerVardags Ltd
Spouse(s)Stephen Bence

Ayesha Mary Barbara Vardag (born March 1968)[1] is an English solicitor specialising in family law. She has gained notoriety for representing in divorce proceedings high net worth individuals, such as members of the Royal Family,[2] heiresses,[3] international footballers, artists, professionals, entrepreneurs and celebrities.[4] Her first case of note came with her Supreme Court victory in the 2010 case Radmacher v Granatino, which shifted the attitude of the law on prenuptial agreements, making courts less reluctant to vary their stipulations in England and Wales.[5]

Early life[edit]

Ayesha Mary Barbara Vardag was born in London, daughter of an English mother and Pakistani father Asaf Vardag, who is a direct descendent of the Lodhi royal family that ruled India in the 16th century. Vardag’s grandfather was active in the Indian National Congress and as its candidate was twice elected mayor of Karachi in undivided India.[6]

Vardag grew up in Oxfordshire and read Law at Queens' College, Cambridge, with a Duke of Edinburgh award for membership of the Inner Temple, and took a Masters as a Cambridge Wiener Anspach scholar in European Law at the Université libre de Bruxelles, where she worked extensively on expert research projects at the International Court of Justice in The Hague and at the UN (IAEA) Legal Division in Vienna.[7][8]

Legal career[edit]

Vardag qualified as a solicitor in 1996 and was initially trained as a finance solicitor at Linklaters, where she became the leading specialist in nuclear energy law aged 26.

Ayesha Vardag's Offices in Bell Yard, December 2009

Prior to becoming a family lawyer, she worked for the New York law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges.[9]

Vardag’s training in matrimonial law was as a mini-pupil to Nicholas Mostyn and as one of two assistants to Raymond Tooth, senior partner at Sears Tooth and co-founder of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, an invitation-only organisation which now consists of over 500 of the world's leading family lawyers.[10] Vardag founded Ayesha Vardag solicitors in 2005, which incorporated as Vardags in May 2010.[11]

Her first case of note was that of Radmacher v Granatino, which strengthened the law on prenuptial agreements in England and Wales.[12] Vardag founded Ayesha Vardag LLP in 2005, which incorporated as Vardags Ltd in May 2010.[13]


In September 2011 the Daily Mail reported that Raymond Tooth, accused Vardag of trying to "pinch" celebrity clients from him which resulted in an agreed settlement [14]

Notable cases[edit]

In 2010 Vardag made history in a landmark Supreme Court case that changed the law on prenuptial agreements. Acting for German heiress Katrin Radmacher, she won a ruling that the prenup she drew up to protect her £100 million fortune from her French-born husband was legally binding.[15]

In 2017 Vardag helped former Malaysian beauty queen Pauline Chai secure a settlement of £64 million, one of the largest in history.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Vardag is married to Stephen Bence, a financial consultant and a former astrophysicist who is director of strategy at Vardags Ltd. She has three sons and a daughter, and the family lives in North London.[17]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "The Diva of Divorce and her dream honeymoon... where guests pay". thetimes.co.uk. 15 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Ayesha Vardag - "Top divorce lawyer" - Vardags". vardags.com. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  3. ^ bbc.co.uk (15 November 2016). "Pre-nuptial victory for heiress". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  4. ^ Interview with ‘The Diva of Divorce’ Ayesha Vardag
  5. ^ MailOnline (15 November 2016). "Relationships: The divorce diva's guide to a happy marriage". Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Latest peerages announced". Gov.UK. November 19, 2010.
  7. ^ "Ayesha Vardag – Divorce diva". The Vintage Magazine. London. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  8. ^ "The break-up business". bqlife. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  9. ^ "The ex factor: meet London's A-list female divorce lawyers". ESMagazine. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Leading family lawyer loses high-profile client". Solicitors Journal. 15 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Interview with Ayesha Vardag, Divorce Lawyer". NowBrayByDesign. 15 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Ayesha Vardag is a divorce lawyer who is variously described as the "divorce lawyer to billionaires" (The Times). She is also known as the "Diva of Divorce"". Law Fuel. 15 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Interview with Ayesha Vardag, Divorce Lawyer". NowBrayByDesign. 15 December 2016.
  14. ^ 'Jaws' bites the 'Diva' as two of Britain's most high-profile divorce lawyers battle over celebrity clients – MailOnline'
  15. ^ "The Oxford student in pre-nup battle with heiress". Evening Standard. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  16. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/06/homemaker-ex-wife-laura-ashley-boss-wins-third-200m-income-payout/
  17. ^ "Top divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag". Daily Mail. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.