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Dubai ruler loses appeal preventing publication of UK court battle with estranged wife 

Jordanian Princess Haya bint Al-Hussein and her husband, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (R), walk to the parade ring on Ladies Day, the third day of horse racing at Royal Ascot in southern England on 17 June 2010. [REUTERS]
Princess Haya bint Al-Hussein and her husband, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (R) on 17 June 2010. [REUTERS]

The billionaire ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, has today lost a court battle to keep secret publication of his marital feud with his youngest wife, Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussein, who fled to London from the UAE last year with their two children.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the public has the right to know the two judgements in the case involving Princess Haya, half-sister to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who applied for the children to be made wards of court. She also applied for a forced marriage protection order in relation to one of the children and a non-molestation order.

However Al-Maktoum, who is also vice president and prime minister of the UAE, had said that the judgments of Andrew McFarlane, president of London’s High Court Family Division, were wrong in law and should not be publicised.

Princess Haya was present at the hearing, where Lord Justice Underhill declared that it was “the unanimous decision of the court” to dismiss Al-Maktoum’s appeal.

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The princess is reportedly in hiding in a “townhouse in central London”, having fled to Germany before heading to the UK in order to escape her restrictive life in the UAE. Although Al-Maktoum has not officially responded to reports on his marriage issues.

He was not present at the hearing, but was represented by his legal team, headed by Lord Pannick QC, who acted for Gina Miller in the landmark Supreme Court case over the prorogation of Parliament. The legal team of Princess Haya includes Baroness Fiona Shackleton, who represented the Prince of Wales during his divorce from Diana, Princess of Wales, and Sir Paul McCartney in his divorce from Heather Mills.

They have been embroiled in court proceedings since May last year although the hearings have been held in private at London’s High Court. Lord Justice Underhill, made a public statement on Wednesday, saying that wardship proceedings are ongoing but a hearing will take place in the High Court next month where judgements over arrangements over the children’s care and welfare will be decided.

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