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Privy Council to give judgment in reciprocal enforcement case

On 19 October 2020 the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council will promulgate the judgment in Yearwood v Yearwood, an appeal from the Court of Appeal of Antigua and Barbuda. The Privy Council will determine whether orders made by the High Court of England and Wales in family proceedings can be registered in Antigua and Barbuda under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act; and whether Mrs Yearwood's application to register these orders should have been dismissed on the ground of issue estoppel, cause of action estoppel or abuse of process, and/or because the application was made out of time.

Mr and Mrs Yearwood were formerly a married couple. They divorced; the decree absolute was issued by the High Court of England and Wales on 8 December 2009.

The English High Court made various orders against Mr Yearwood as a result of the divorce proceedings. These included an order dated 10 May 2010 directing Mr Yearwood to pay Mrs Yearwood £3,144,456.80. On 31 May 2010, Mrs Yearwood applied to the Antiguan Court to register this order under the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act. However, Michel J held that the order could not be registered, and set aside the registration on Mr Yearwood's application.

On 27 June 2013, Mrs Yearwood applied to the Antiguan Court to register a default costs certificate dated 12 November 2010 and a further order made by the High Court of England and Wales on 9 July 2012. In response, Mr Yearwood sought a declaration that Mrs Yearwood is not entitled to register judgments, orders or directives of the English High Court. He also sought an injunction preventing Mrs Yearwood from seeking to register such judgments, orders or directives. Mr Yearwood applied for summary judgment of his claim.

Henry J found in favour of Mrs Yearwood. She dismissed Mr Yearwood's summary judgment application and granted Mrs Yearwood's application to register the English High Court order dated 9 July 2012. However, she refused Mrs Yearwood's application to register the default costs certificate, on the basis that the application was made out of time.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Yearwood's appeal, but allowed Mrs Yearwood's counter-appeal to permit registration of the default costs certificate. Mr Yearwood now appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

18/10/20