A wealthy property developer's wife is to receive over £1.6m in a settlement worked out after a judge urged the couple to spend no more money on their divorce battle after legal costs reached a "crazy" and "absolutely barmy" £300,000-plus.

Mark Joel, 53, has agreed to pay Georgina Wendy Scobling-Joel, 42, a series of lump sums in a "clean-break" deal worked out at the doors of the court after the judge warned them the costs would "probably double" if they fought on.

High Court family division judge Mr Justice Holman welcomed the settlement reached by the Joels, whose marital home was in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, saying: "I am very, very, very pleased that good sense has broken out.

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"There has been constructive dialogue and no doubt they have been extremely well advised on both sides, enabling them to move forward and put this behind them - and stop further haemorrhaging in legal costs.

"This is a fair and wise outcome".

The cost-conscious judge contrasted the Joel settlement with what he described as the "unseemly" case of Russian beauty queen Ekaterina Parfenova that he had tried last week and was "plastered all over the newspapers".

Despite his best efforts to get the couple to settle, the bitter divorce battle went the full distance before he awarded Ms Parfenova a £3.3m payout against her husband Richard Fields, an American lawyer.

Legal expenses topped £1m and the judge described what had occurred as "unedifying" and like "a boxing match".

The judge said: "Between them they have incurred, inclusive of VAT, £387,500 in costs - that would pay for a very nice flat in Islington or Clapham."

They had chosen to pay lawyers rather than "put money where it matters" and that was "crazy", he said.

Taking the husband's estimate of his assets, the judge added: "That is 12% of his assets going into legal fees. It is absolutely barmy."

Later Ms Scobling-Joel said: "I would like to thank my absolutely amazing professional team - and a professional, first-class judge."