A judge has raised concern after hearing how a retired Swedish racing driver and his estranged wife ran up lawyers’ bills of around £2 million fighting over the division of a fortune in the region of £10 million following a marriage breakdown.
Mr Justice Francis said Kenny Brack, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1999, and Anita Brack have spent about 20% of their net worth on litigation.
He said the litigation had “overshadowed” the lives of their two children and suggested they would have been “wiser” spending the money on each other.
The judge has given detail of the scale of the Bracks’ legal costs after considering the latest round of litigation which began in 2015.
He published a ruling on Friday after overseeing a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court last year.
Mr Justice Francis said he had first delivered a ruling on the case in late 2016.
Ms Brack, who also comes from Sweden, had asked him to review findings he made then.
Mr Justice Francis dismissed her application.
The judge heard that Mr Brack’s legal costs were in the region of £1.3 million and Ms Brack’s around £800,000.
He said he had concluded in 2016 that they had assets of £10.8 million – and thought the value of those assets had decreased.
The judge said the Bracks’ legal costs bill would total just over £2.1 million.
“This means that the parties have now spent at least 20% of their net worth litigating against each other,” he said.
“It would, I respectfully suggest, have been wiser to spend that money on each other and not on their excellent, but expensive, legal teams.”
Mr Justice Francis had originally considered the case at a private hearing in London
Detail of the dispute emerged at a public Court of Appeal hearing, in London, in 2018, when Ms Brack asked appeal judges to overturn decisions made by Mr Justice Francis in 2016.
She said she was entitled to half of the £10.8 million fortune, and complained that a ruling by Mr Justice Francis had unfairly left her with £500,000, and Mr Brack more than £10 million.
Appeal judges said Mr Justice Francis should reconsider the case.
Judges have heard that the Bracks, who are in their 50s, started living together in 1994, married in 2000 and split more than five years ago.
They had lived in Maidenhead, Berkshire, when married.
The couple signed a prenuptial agreement during a romantic weekend at a luxury hotel near Niagara Falls, Canada, shortly before marrying.
Ms Brack said that Niagara agreement, plus two similar agreements, were unfair to her.
She asked Mr Justice Francis to reconsider decisions he had made relating to the fairness of those agreements – and said she had new evidence.
He had dismissed her application.