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Sir Nicholas Anthony Joseph Ghislain Mostyn[1] (born 13 July 1957 in Lagos, Nigeria), styled The Hon. Mr Justice Mostyn, is a British High Court judge, assigned to the Family Division.[2]

Mr Justice Mostyn
Judge of the High Court of Justice
Family Division
Assumed office
20 April 2010
Appointed byElizabeth II
Preceded byMr Justice Bennett
Personal details
Born (1957-07-13) 13 July 1957 (age 61)
Lagos, Nigeria
Alma materAmpleforth College
University of Bristol
Inns of Court School of Law


Early lifeEdit

The son of a British American Tobacco executive from North Wales, Mostyn was born in Nigeria, and grew up there and in Venezuela and El Salvador. After his parents divorced, he was educated at Ampleforth College alongside Edward Stourton where they won the Observer Mace debating prize.[3] He then studied law at the University of Bristol.[2]


With pupillage at Middle Temple, he was called to the bar in 1980, and initially undertook County Court domestic violence cases. He took silk in 1997. In 2000/1 he was on the losing side of the husband farmer in the White v White case, where the judge ruled that "there should be no bias in favour of the money-earner and against the home-maker and the child-carer."[3]

After this his career took off, and after winning a number of notable cases including representing the wife of footballer Ray Parlour, and winning the 1,000 day marriage case for the wife of a leading City of London fund manager where no children where involved, he earned himself the nickname of "Mr Payout."[3][4] At the height of his earnings, he is said to have received £500 an hour. He was retained by Fiona Shackleton in Paul McCartney's divorce case with Heather Mills.[2] Mostyn would also undertake pro bono cases where he thought there was an important issue of law involved, particularly issues arising from the functions of the Child Support Agency:[3]

Mostyn became an assistant recorder in 1997, and both a recorder and a deputy High Court judge (in the Family Division) in 2000.[2] Mostyn was appointed a full-time High Court judge on 20 April 2010, on the retirement of Mr Justice Bennett.[5] He was knighted on 11 May 2010.[1]

In 2015, Mostyn was removed from the second case that year, after he went against a landmark ruling of the Supreme Court concerning the rights of disabled people (namely that they have the same right to “physical liberty” as non-disabled people).[6][7][8]

Notable casesEdit

  • Karen v. Ray Parlour: won more than £4m in 2004 in a divorce against the settlement former Arsenal F.C. footballer, where it was ruled that Karen's efforts to curb Parlour's addiction to the 'laddish' footballer drinking culture meant she had played an important role in his career. She was awarded a £250,000 lump sum, an annual personal maintenance allowance of £406,500, two tax-free homes, £37,000 maintenance for their three children, and 37.5% of his future earnings.[3]
  • Miller v Miller: City of London fund manager Alan, who was married to Melissa for less than 1000 days, was ordered to pay her £5m of his reported £65m fortune. No children were involved.[3]
  • Sandra v. Sir Martin Sorrell: won the ex-wife of the CEO of advertising group WPP, a 40:60 share of marital in 2005, a sum of £29m after being "marginalised and dehumanised" by her husband during their 32-year marriage. The payout included a £23.4m lump sum, £2m in bank deposits, the family's £3.25m home, and two parking spaces valued at £200,000.[3]
  • Shan v. Harry Lambert: in 2001, won £7.5M for the ex-wife of the newspaper proprietor. Harry Lambert who was represented by Martin Pointer QC. In 2002 after an appeal by Harry, the figure was increased by £2.6m, half Lambert's £20m fortune. Lambert described his ex-wife's contribution to their 23-year marriage as "revolving around children and the microwave," the judge quoted White v White back to him.[3]
  • Zeta v. Francois Graff: won the model, socialite and actress £10m on divorcing diamond heir Francois in 2003. The settlement included a London property and a jewellery collection, from a family worth more than £100m. Mostyn described the settlement as a "crushing victory."[3]
  • Sir Paul McCartney v. Heather Mills: in which Mostyn was retained by McCartney's solicitor Fiona Shackleton,[9] before Mills' solicitor Anthony Julius, leading to them being known during the case by the media as the "legal dream team."[2]
  • Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer v. second wife, Carolyn Freud: Mostyn represented the Earl. After losing the right to have the case heard in a closed court session, the Earl was upset at the final settlement. Mostyn, a keen farmer, named his latest batch of seven pigs after his thoughts on the case's high court judge, Mr Justice James Munby: James, Munby, Self-regarding, Pompous, Publicity, Seeking, Pillock. The Earl later unsuccessfully sued Mostyn.[10][11]
  • Katrin Radmacher v Nicolas Granatino:Mostyn represented Nicolas Granatino against millionairess, Katrin Radmacher. Mrs Radmacher was represented by Richard Todd QC. Mrs Radmacher was successful in effecting a change in the common law so that pre-nups were no longer void for public policy reasons.
  • Re AA: Mostyn presided as judge and authorised an NHS Trust to deliver a deliver a child by emergency caesarian section, as the mother was judged to have lacked capacity to have consented to the operation herself. The mother was an Italian citizen who was visiting the UK; during her visit she suffered a severe psychological episode. The child was later the subject of a care application by Essex County Council.[12][13]
  • RF v Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2017] EWHC 3375 (Admin) (21 December 2017): Mostyn ruled that the DWP had been engaging in practices that were "blatantly discriminatory against those with mental health impairments and which cannot be objectively justified. The wish to save nearly £1 billion a year at the expense of those with mental health impairments is not a reasonable foundation for passing this measure." Ministers had earlier rewritten the law in order to be able to ignore the outcome of a tribunal that resulted in similar conclusions. The DWP decided not to appeal after Justice Mostyn's ruling.[14][15][16]

Mostyn labels himself "Catholic, Welsh and Wagnerian",[3] enjoys smoking, hunting, windsurfing and skiing; and follows ("generally despairingly") Southampton F.C. and the England cricket team.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Knighthood for Nicholas Mostyn". 11 May 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Sir Nicholas Mostyn". The Times. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Barber, Lynn (15 July 2007). "Mostyn Powers". The Observer. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Judge who left wife for widow of gunman barrister Mark Saunders expected to pay 'several million' in divorce settlement". The Mail on Sunday. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Mr Justice Bennett retires from and Nicholas Mostyn joins the High Court bench". Family Law Week. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  6. ^ "[2014] EWCOP 45 Case No: 12488518". Manchester Civil Justice Centre. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  7. ^ "[2015] EWCA Civ 1054 Case No. 12488518". Royal Courts of Justice. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  8. ^ Ian Johnston (22 October 2015). "High Court judge removed from second case this year over his 'passionate view' of the law". The Independent. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  9. ^ Reality bites for the McCartneys –
  10. ^ Maev Kennedy (25 July 2010). "And these little piggies … were named after a high court judge". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  11. ^ Fay Schlesinger (25 July 2010). "The bizarre case of Earl Spencer, his divorce lawyer...and seven little piggies". Daily Mail. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  12. ^ Christopher Booker (30 November 2013). "Operate on this mother so that we can take her baby". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Judgment (released on 4 December 2013)" (PDF). Royal Courts of Justice. 23 August 2012. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  14. ^ Mind staff (21 December 2017). "PIP ruling a 'victory for people with mental health problems', says Mind". Mind. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  15. ^ Dan Bloom (29 January 2018). "Tory government will reconsider 1.6 MILLION people's disability benefits after offering higher payments in huge U-turn". The Mirror. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Judgment Case No: CO/2496/2017". Royal Courts of Justice. 21 December 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2018.