February 28, 2020, Reuters
London’s Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that two judgments in the legal battle between Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and his former wife over the wardship of their two children should be made public.
Mohammed had said that the judgments of Andrew McFarlane, president of London’s High Court Family Division, in the case involving Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah, were wrong in law and should not be publicized.
The three Court of Appeal judges agreed that McFarlane’s rulings should not be made public in the meantime, saying Mohammed could apply for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
“The unanimous decision of the court is that these appeals should be dismissed,” said Justice Nicholas Underhill, vice-president of the Court of Appeal.
“This means, subject to one important proviso, that both judgments, and the judgment on the question of publication, can be published.”
The contest in the British court began last May and there have been a number of private hearings at London’s High Court before McFarlane which have been subject to strict reporting restrictions.
Mohammed, 70, had appealed against publication of two judgments by McFarlane on “fact-finding” and “assurances and waivers”, after he decided last month that these should be made public.
Princess Haya, 45-year-old daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, and the court-appointed guardian of the children both supported publication, the court heard.
On Wednesday, Underhill said the judgments “raise matters of public interest beyond the particular issue in the wardship proceedings”.
“The first concerned certain disputed factual issues; the second concerned issues arising out of the special position of the father as the sovereign and head of government of a foreign state,” he added.
The two parties said in a statement in July that the case did not concern divorce or finances but was limited to their children’s welfare.
The sheikh has a