Dispute between ‘privileged’ former couple resolved

Judge congratulates pair for resolving differences after nine-year battle

Ali Barker leaving the Four Courts on Thursday after she settled a High Court action against her former partner and business partner, Owen Owens. Photograph: Collins Courts

Ali Barker leaving the Four Courts on Thursday after she settled a High Court action against her former partner and business partner, Owen Owens. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A High Court action by a south Dublin businesswoman against her former partner seeking a share in a property business that she claimed they built up together has been settled.

Ali Barker had sued businessman Owen Owens, with an address at Rochfort, The Burnaby, Greystones, Co Wicklow, and a company founded by him, Dunbury Holdings, of which she had been a director.

Mr Owens disputed Ms Barker’s claims in respect of what he said was his business, and in a counterclaim he sought orders requiring her to leave the house where she currently lives.

On Thursday the High Court was informed by Martin Hayden SC, appearing with Gary McCarthy SC for Ms Barker, of Hillcourt Park, Glenageary, Co Dublin, that the parties had resolved their differences and the proceedings could be struck out.

No details of the settlement agreement were given.

Mr Justice John Jordan congratulated the parties, and their lawyers, for arriving at a settlement. He told them it was better to resolve their differences themselves than await the judgment of the court, which could have been “a very different outcome” than what had been agreed.

He appreciated the parties had found themselves in “exceptionally difficult circumstances”, describing it as “a cauldron of emotion” and expressed his hope that they could move on with their lives.

‘Privileged’ lifestyle

Ms Barker sought various declarations including that the company constitutes a quasi-partnership between her and Mr Owens and they are each entitled to 50 per cent of the equity in the partnership.

She also claimed the company and Mr Owens’s business activities were a partnership between the two and that she was a cohabitant within the meaning of the 2010 Civil Partnership Act entitled to seek reliefs under that Act.

She also sought damages.

The couple split in 2010, after 17 years together in which they had a daughter and lived in what she said was a privileged lifestyle, with a substantial home in Wicklow, a €1.6 million holiday home in Mougins in France, a personal staff contingent, luxury vehicles, a 47ft yacht, horses, luxury travel and significant spending power, she had said.