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MFPA 1984, Part III

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  • The parties married in Pakistan in 1981, separated in 2006, and the husband obtained a divorce in Pakistan in 2012. He died in 2021. In 2017, the wife had been given leave to bring proceedings under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. The core question was whether the unadjudicated claim by the wife under Part III survived the death of the husband and could be continued against his estate. Mostyn J noted that the Part II jurisprudence unambiguously stated that a financial claim made during marriage or following divorce expired with the death of the respondent. In his judgment, this principle applied equally whether the claim proceeded under Part II following a domestic divorce or under Part III following an overseas divorce. Although he disagreed with the decision in Sugden v Sugden [1957] P 120, he was bound by it, and thus dismissed the wife's application, since her former husband had died before her claim for financial provision following the overseas divorce could be adjudicated. However, he was also satisfied that that there was a point of law of general public importance involved, and that this would be a proper case for the grant of leave to the Court of Appeal. If there were to be a leapfrog application to the Supreme Court then the dismissal of the wife's claim would be stayed, and all injunctions would stay in force until the application for leave had been heard. Judgment, 07/07/2021, free
  • Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 provided for the making of an application for financial relief following an overseas divorce. By s 13, no application could be made without the leave of the court, and by s 13(1), no leave was to be granted unless the court considered that there were substantial grounds for making such an application. In this case, the wife appealed against a 2019 order of Cohen J, where he had set aside his own ex parte order for leave and on re-consideration of her application had refused to grant leave. The Court of Appeal considered the proper approach to an application made for the grant of leave and to any subsequent application to set aside an ex parte order for leave. In King LJ's view, there had been no basis for the judge to conclude that he had not properly considered the legislative purpose of Part III: the alleviation of the adverse consequences of no, or no adequate, financial provision being made by a foreign court in a situation where there were substantial connections with England. Rather, having heard argument on both sides, he had regretted granting leave. David Richards and Moylan LJJ agreed. The wife's appeal against the order setting aside leave for her to make an application for financial relief was allowed. It was therefore unnecessary to consider whether the judge had been wrong in refusing leave when he reconsidered the application. As to the impact of Brexit upon s 16(3), there were likely to be few if any cases outstanding to which it would apply and future Part III applications would be considered without reference to the Maintenance Regulation. Judgment, 14/05/2021, free
  • The husband had moved to Jersey and commenced divorce proceedings there. The wife believed that his reason for doing so was that the family law of Jersey did not provide for making pension sharing orders. A consent order was made providing for a clean break, with the proceeds of selling the matrimonial home to be divided between them on a 55%/45% basis. She then made an application under Part III of the Matrimonial Family Proceedings Act 1984 in England and Wales. Though Jersey was not an overseas country within the meaning of section 12(1)(a) of that Act, the claimant argued that the statute should be construed so as to provide a remedy. The view of Cohen J was that he was being asked to ride roughshod over the statute. Parliament had made the statutory law to be found in the Act and it was for Parliament and Parliament alone to change it if thought appropriate. The wife's application was struck out. Costs would follow the event. Judgment, 07/04/2020, free
  • The substantive final hearing of the former wife's application under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 for financial relief. The wife and two children lived in England and had dual Russian and British citizenship. The husband was Russian, had kept a second family in Moscow, and had obtained a Russian divorce without the wife's knowledge. He had not participated in these proceedings. He had made no disclosure and had not paid a penny following an interim order for maintenance and legal costs funding. Holman J ordered the husband to pay or cause to be paid a lump sum to the wife of £2,250,000, and to pay her costs on the indemnity basis. Judgment, 11/03/2020, free
  • Leave to apply for financial relief had been granted to the wife at an ex parte hearing under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. The husband applied to set it aside. The parties lived only in Russia throughout the marriage, and had become very wealthy during the 1990s. There had been a blizzard of litigation since the divorce. The husband alleged that Cohen J had been materially misled by the wife's representatives when making the order. Cohen J regretted having been persuaded to hear the application without notice, and decided that the grant of leave was indeed given as a result of the court being misled, . The leave to apply for financial relief was set aside. The wife's application was considered afresh and dismissed. Her case was not appropriate for determination in England and Wales. Judgment, 12/11/2019, free

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  • In this recorded webcast, Tim Scott QC from 29 Bedford Row summarises the main issues when dealing with cases involving financial claims in England following an overseas divorce. Webcast, 15/06/2015, members only

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