Judge’s son takes on divorce lawyer over hefty estate

by Samantha Woodhill21 Oct 2015
The son of former supreme court judge Sir Robert Chambers has taken legal action against his father’s second wife, a leading divorce lawyer, over his $2.5m portion of his father’s estate.

David Chambers sought payment of his ‘enforceable entitlement’ to a quarter of the couple’s property capped at $2.5m, in a letter to Lady Deborah Chambers QC earlier this year but was refused, the High Court heard.

Chambers’ lawyer told the court that the entitlement would be part of Lady Deborah’s estate up until her death unless paid out prior.  He told the NZ Herald that his client would be seeking orders that he is paid the $2.5m or that the bonds be secured until her death in Government bonds (being one possible scenario).

But according to Lady Deborah’s legal representation, she and Sir Robert agreed that the fortune be used by whoever outlived the other and that the entitlement needed to be paid out to the four children only at her discretion. 

He also told the court that the value of the estate at the time of Sir Robert’s death was about $12m and that there would be no need to secure it for fears it might dissipate by the time Lady Deborah dies.

According to the NZ Herald, Lady Deborah’s lawyer told the court that Sir Robert and Lady Deborah had brought relatively equal assets to their relationship when they got together 12 years ago, but that her earning capacity had been substantially higher than his at one point in time.

Justice Sir Robert Chambers died in his sleep two years ago at the age of 59.  He was knighted posthumously because it had been approved by the Queen before his death.


  • by Cheryl Simes 21/10/2015 11:17:10 a.m.

    How sad. How petty. The love of money really is the root of all evil, as St Paul wrote. This is NOT a good example for family relationships, priorities, or dispute resolution. Nobody actually NEEDS that much money, although it's nice to have. What are the real unmet needs here? Respect? Belonging? Acceptance? Empathy? Love?