Ryan Giggs to argue his ‘genius’ in court proceedings
Ryan Giggs is set to contend in the High Court during divorce proceedings that he should be entitled to more than half of his £40m on account of his “special contribution” to the marital funds. The Judge will need to be satisfied that this contribution goes beyond what would usually be expected of a spouse and possesses an element of ‘genius’, in accordance with the precedent set by a husband who introduced black bin liners to the UK.
Giggs’ legal team will argue that his contribution to his 10 year marriage to Stacey Cooke went far beyond that of a normal ‘breadwinner’. They will contend that this contribution should therefore supersede the rule that the money-earner and homemaker should be entitled to an equal division.
This is an ambiguous area of the law, and the courts have to date been reluctant to define what may amount to a ‘special contributions’, and only a handful of cases have been successful on this basis, where large sums are involved. If successful, Giggs will be in the minority that have been able to convince the court that the “yardstick of equality” should not be adhered to, which would dictate that Cooke is entitled to half the matrimonial assets.
In 2001, the Court of Appeal ruled that Michael Cowan could retain 62% of the £12m fortune he had accumulated from his bin liner business, as “his contribution, in terms of entrepreneurial flair, inventiveness and hard work, was truly exceptional”. Though many have sought to rely on this principle since the ruling, few have been successful in convincing the courts of an exceptional contribution.