Heather Mills faces being sued by her divorce lawyers over £2 million in unpaid bills
19th December 2007
Heather Mills faces a court battle with her divorce lawyers over £2million in unpaid bills.
Mishcon de Reya, the firm that has represented her through most of her split from Sir Paul McCartney, is poised to issue a High Court writ to recover the funds, the Mail has learned.
The debt was run up over an 18-month period following her breakup with the former Beatle.
The law firm, which represented Princess Diana in her divorce from Prince Charles, is understood to have had an arrangement to recover payment for its services from Miss Mills' final divorce settlement.
Yet soon after Mishcon and the former model parted company, the firm became concerned about her ability to pay the fees.
It contacted Miss Mills last week and again this week, warning her to start to clear the debt or face legal proceedings.
Mishcon fears that if Miss Mills is awarded a nominal settlement, it might cover only her other debts - leaving the firm out of pocket.
The estranged couple are set to see each other in court in the spring. But sources claim Miss Mills' recurring hip injury might see the divorce stretched out much further over the year if she is unable to make court dates, which will mean her debts continuing to mount before a settlement is reached.
Sources say Miss Mills being threatened with legal action by Mishcon has put Sir Paul in a stronger position and could see him offer her a smaller settlement in which he will pay off the legal debt.
His lawyers are all too aware that if Miss Mills becomes bankrupt, she will be significantly weakened in the divorce battle.
Miss Mills' legal bill has so far been paid with an overdraft from Coutts bank, but it is understood Coutts is now looking critically at the debt.
A source said: "Heather has been told she has to make steps to clear the debt. She has been told that a writ is as good as on its way.
"Mishcon is acting as any business that is concerned about recovering a bad debt would.
"The firm worked tirelessly in difficult circumstances for Heather and it is now concerned it may not get its money.'
"Mishcon is concerned that Heather could get a nominal settlement of a few million pounds.
"But because she has other debts to clear, there is a worry that Mishcon will be at the back of the queue.
Issuing a writ will at least make sure that it has a much greater chance of recouping the debt swiftly after the settlement.
The source added: "Mishcon has drawn a line under its relationship with Heather.
"The thinking is that by going so public with a raft of accusations in that round of television interviews, Heather ruined her chances of getting a reasonable settlement."
Mishcon is understood to have become concerned about the possible non-payment when Miss Mills stormed off during a radio interview after being challenged about how she parted company with the firm.
In the interview with LBC, Miss Mills was challenged about "who let who go".
She claimed it was her decision, and when the interviewer said it was Mishcon's, she stormed off.
According to a source, this gave Mishcon reason to think Miss Mills might try to dispute the payment.
A spokesman for the firm said it had no comment to make on whether it had issued a writ.
Miss Mills' publicist was unavailable for comment.