The ratio of Aziz v Lim,  EWHC 915, is – as much as anything else – that it’s hard to find good help these days. Mariam Aziz is the ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest men in the world. As a result of her divorce settlement, Ms Aziz became ‘an extremely wealthy woman in her own right’ and among the trinkets she received on parting ways with His Majesty were a diamond bracelet worth US$5.545 million, a 12.71-carat pear-shaped blue diamond (US$12.7 million) and a 27.1-carat square yellow diamond (a mere $1 million). Aziz claimed that Fatimah Lim, her badminton coach, bodyguard and personal assistant, had purloined the jewels, selling the bracelet and contriving with a jeweller to replace the two large diamonds with replicas.
Lindblom J found Ms Lim’s explanations (there were several, and they conflicted) completely unbelievable. The story that the diamonds were sold to pay off gambling debts in Lim’s name but actually those of Aziz (who was allegedly hard up) was simply not credible; ditto Lim’s retraction of an earlier confession to the Royal Brunei Police that she had stolen the jewels, which she claimed had been forced from her under duress.
The case doesn’t tell us anything about the tort of conversion we didn’t already know, but it does shine some light on the lives of the 1% of the 1%.
[Link available here].