A SCOTS actor has seen his £1.7 million "divorce" settlement from his gay City high-flier partner slashed after a ruling at the Court of Appeal.

Don Gallagher, who has appeared in Taggart, Casualty and Birds of a Feather, was told his pay-off following the end of his civil partnership with equity analyst Peter Lawrence should be cut by more than £200,000.

Mr Lawrence had complained that a High Court judge had given Mr Gallagher, who was born in Selkirk in the Borders, too big a share of joint assets of more than £4m.

Three judges in the Court of Appeal allowed his challenge after a hearing in London.

It is thought to be the first time the Court of Appeal has adjudicated following the break up of a civil partnership.

The appeal was launched after Mrs Justice Parker had decided, following a hearing in the family division of the High Court in June 2011, that Mr Gallagher should get nearly £1.7m.

But appeal judges, who heard legal argument at a hearing in London earlier this month and handed down judgment yesterday, disagreed. They said the award to Mr Gallagher should be reduced by more than £200,000.

The court heard that two properties were involved in the dispute and Mrs Justice Parker said the two men should get one property each.

She said Mr Lawrence should get the flat in Clink Wharf, London, and Mr Gallagher Pine Cottage in Amberley, which was worth £900,000.

As the London flat was worth "more than twice" the West Sussex cottage, and to "reflect the disparity" in the properties' values, Mrs Justice Parker also awarded Mr Gallagher a lump sum of £577,778. He also received a pension of £200,000.

Mr Lawrence had bought the London flat for £650,000 before meeting Mr Gallagher but it was worth more than £2m by the time the couple split due to soaring property prices in the capital.

However, appeal judges Lord Justice Thorpe, Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Ryder said the lump sum was too much and should be reduced to £350,000.

Lord Justice Thorpe said while it was a civil partnership and not a marriage, the same rules applied. He said: "Once they fell out, each needed a home of his own.

"It was self evident that the appellant [Mr Lawrence] should have Clink Wharf as it pre-dated the partnership, and that the respondent [Mr Gallagher] should have Pine Cottage as it was his pride and joy."

Judges were told Mr Gallagher, 54, was an actor who had played a lead role in the stage version of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Mr Lawrence, 47, was an analyst at investment bank JP Morgan.

The two men began living together in 1997 at the central London flat, and entered into a civil partnership in 2007. The couple split seven months later.

Tim Bishop, QC, for Mr Gallagher, said his client had been the domestic homemaker in the relationship.

"He helped create and maintain a lovely home in the flat in various ways, soft furnishings, planting on balconies, improvement of layout and fixtures, redecoration," he said.

Mr Lawrence's solicitor, Sarah Higgins, of law firm Charles Russell, said later: "The case was not about the principles of civil partnership, which are the same as on divorce, but about how to divide assets which were largely brought into the relationship by one party.

"Mr Lawrence is pleased the order has been varied and that the matter has been concluded."

Neither man was at court yesterday, but speaking afterwards Mr Gallagher said his break-up and court fight with Mr Lawrence had left him "sad" and "bewildered".

He also said he thought the Court of Appeal judgment was "disappointing". "I was informed by my ex-partner some time ago that he didn't want to speak to me in person," said Mr Gallagher. "He only communicates by text or email."

Mr Gallagher added: "He obviously has his own reasons."

He said he had been told he was "superfluous".

"The most peculiar aspect is that we were together for 11 years. We then decided to go into a civil partnership and then eight months later I was superfluous to requirements," said Mr Gallagher.