Barrister ordered to pay pounds 25,000 for his son

ONE of Britain's leading QCs was told to increase maintenance payments for his 18-year- old son yesterday after a bitter courtroom battle with his former mistress, writes

Marianne Macdonald.

David Cocks QC, 58, had quibbled over the extent of the rise after his former lover, Felicity Hammerton, 42, demanded pounds 32,000 a year. The barrister instead offered to increase his annual payment of pounds 14,658 by pounds 6,842 - the equivalent of an estimated week's wages for the top silk. But imitating Solomon, the judge split the difference and awarded pounds 25,133.

Stipdendiary magistrate Dudley Thomas, sitting in Marylebone Crown Court on the third day of the hearing, said the figure reflected the mother's hopes and aspirations for her son and the fact that the father was a wealthy man.

He broke down the annual maintenance payment, to be made directly to David as his father had requested, into items such as driving lessons ( pounds 300), haircuts ( pounds 120) and food ( pounds 1,750).

The case was the latest in a series of court battles between the couple who have been estranged throughout their son's life. Mr Cocks had a year-long affair with Miss Hammerton when she joined his London chambers as his pupil aged 22. Three months after she became pregnant he asked her to leave and denied paternity.

Before their son David was born she brought affiliation proceedings to prove Mr Cocks was the father.

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