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Court documents served via Whatsapp ‘are valid’ concludes judge

By 12 July 2019News

A wealthy divorcee has won the right to have a financial dispute with her former partner heard in English courts after serving him with papers via popular messaging app Whatsapp.

Mr Justice Lavendar ruled that the unusual delivery method was legally valid and the case should therefore proceed in English courts.

Mandy Gray is involved in a financial dispute with former partner Hamish Hurley.

The Judge declared:

Ms Gray issued the claim form [documents initiating a financial claim] in the present action and obtained an order for alternative service [permission to use an unorthodox method of delivering the documents], pursuant to which she served the claim form on Mr Hurley by WhatsApp message. I conclude that Ms Gray was entitled to serve the claim form on Mr Hurley out of the jurisdiction.

He also noted that England had been Mr Hurley’s last known ‘domicile’.

Ms Gray is the former wife of successful investment banker Randy Work. They separated in 2013 and she received a huge £90 million financial settlement in their subsequent divorce, an award unsuccessfully contested by Mr Work.

Meanwhile, she began a new relationship with Mr Hurley, who had been her fitness coach. The couple travelled around the world enjoying the fruits of her wealth, and were together for six years. She ended the relationship in January, after rejecting his proposal of marriage. They are now disputing ownership of around £20 million in assets, which include a fleet of luxury cars.

Mr Hurley, who is currently in his native New Zealand, claims part ownership of the assets, but Gray disputes this, saying she had provided the funds for all the purchases and had never intended for him to acquire any ownership.

This is a complex case and one which involves a careful analysis of their respective contributions and intentions. If you need advice following the end of a cohabiting relationship, please feel free to contact Jeremy, Tricia, Sue, Gail, Simon or Adam on 01223 443333.