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Court of Appeal upholds English courts’ discretion to stay divorce proceedings under forum conveniens

Osuwu does not apply to divorce jurisdiction under Brussels II Revised

The Court of Appeal last week handed down an important judgment, confirming that the English courts have power to stay divorce proceedings in England and Wales where there are concurrent proceedings in another non-European country with which the parties have a closer connection.

In Mittal v Mittal [2013] EWCA Civ 1255 the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the appeal by Mrs Mittal and held that:

In doing so, the Court endorsed the approach adopted by Theis J in JKN v JCN [2013] EWHC [2010] EWHC 843 (Fam) and by Bodey J at first instance in this case, reported as as AB v CB (Divorce and Maintenance: Discretion to Stay) [2012] EWHC 3841; [2013] 2FLR 29).

Mrs Mittal has signalled an intention to seek to appeal to the Supreme Court.

For a fuller discussion and analysis, provided by Tim Amos QC and Duncan Brooks, counsel for Mr Mittal, please see "Mittal v Mittal: English Family Courts Still Open for Business in the Wider World".  The judgment can be read here.

James Turner QC and Katy Chokowry, both of 1 King's Bench Walk (instructed by Dawson Cornwell), represented Mrs Mittal. Tim Amos QC and Duncan Brooks, both of Queen Elizabeth Building (represented by The International Family Law Group LLP) represented Mr Mittal. Counsel and solicitors for both  parties acted on a pro bono basis.