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Supreme Court to hand down judgment in Villiers v Villiers on 1 July 2020

The Supreme Court will hand down judgment in Villiers v Villiers on 1 July 2020.

In this case the appellant Husband ('H') and respondent Wife ('W') were married in 1994 and lived almost the entirety of their married life in Scotland. Following their separation, W moved to England with the parties' daughter and W issued a divorce petition in the English Courts. This was dismissed with W's consent in favour of the writ of divorce which H had issued in Scotland. W also made an application under section 27 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in England seeking maintenance from H. H argued that the Court did not have jurisdiction to deal with this application. At first instance, at an interim hearing, Parker J considered that the English courts did have jurisdiction and made an order that H pay W £2,500 per month in interim maintenance as well as £3,000 per month for legal funding. The Court of Appeal upheld this order.  See Villiers v Villiers [2018] EWCA Civ 1120.

W appealed to the Supreme Court.

The issue that the Supreme Court will determine is whether the courts of England and Wales have the power to stay an application for maintenance pursuant to section 27 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 on the grounds of forum non conveniens when divorce proceedings are taking place in Scotland. The Court will consider whether divorce proceedings and maintenance proceedings are 'related actions' for the purposes of Article 13 of the Maintenance Regulation 2011? Is Schedule 6 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Maintenance) Regulations 2011 ultra vires section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.

For the Court of Appeal judgment, prefaced by a summary by James Webb of 1 Hare Court, click here.

25/6/20