Sir Frederick Barclay considered legal aid application, judge hears

·2-min read

One of Britain’s most famous businessmen said he considered applying for legal aid during the most recent stage of a High Court fight over money with his ex-wife, a judge has heard.

Sir Jonathan Cohen was told that Sir Frederick Barclay, 87, whose business interests have included the Telegraph Media Group and The Ritz hotel, had referred to legal aid while overseeing the latest stage of his dispute with Lady Hiroko Barclay.

Lady Barclay says Sir Frederick has breached Sir Jonathan’s order to hand over sums totalling £100 million following the breakdown of their 34-year marriage.

She says Sir Frederick has not paid, has accused him of being in contempt of court and asked Sir Jonathan to consider handing him a jail sentence.

Lady Hiroko Barclay (left) leaves the High Court (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)
Lady Hiroko Barclay has accused her estranged husband, Sir Frederick Barclay, of being in contempt of court (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Sir Jonathan, who has considered evidence relating to Sir Frederick’s mental capacity, is due to make decisions about Lady Barclay’s application following a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London in July.

Lawyers representing Sir Frederick have indicated that he will mount a defence to Lady Barclay’s application.

On Thursday, Sir Jonathan oversaw the latest in a number of preliminary hearings.

The judge heard that Sir Frederick had referred to a possible legal aid application during a meeting.

He was told that Sir Frederick said he had “considered applying for legal aid”.

Sir Frederick also said, during a meeting, that he was “worried that he is going to jail”, the judge heard.

The judge was told at an earlier hearing that Sir Frederick was being financially supported by nephews.

Sir Frederick and his twin brother, Sir David, were among the UK’s most high-profile businessmen. Sir David died in 2021 aged 86.

Their business interests included the Telegraph Media Group and The Ritz hotel in London.

The family also has links to the Channel Islands and Monaco.

Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay after receiving their knighthoods
Sir Frederick Barclay, right, and his twin brother, Sir David, after receiving their knighthoods in 2000 (Michael Stephens/PA)

Sir Jonathan had criticised Sir Frederick, at an earlier stage of the litigation, when ruling how much Lady Barclay should walk away with.

He said Sir Frederick behaved in a “reprehensible” fashion during the dispute.

The judge said the businessman had sold a luxury yacht and “applied the equity for his own use” in breach of orders.

He said Lady Barclay had wanted £120 million and Sir Frederick made an offer which might have led her to getting nothing.

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