DIVORCE/JURISDICTION: H v W [2010]

06 OCT 2010

(Family Division; Hedley J; 10 September 2010)

The Italian husband and English wife were married in England. The wife issued a petition for judicial separation in the Italian courts and then issued a divorce petition in England. The Italian petition was declared void for non-attendance of the wife (also not properly served on the husband). The Italian petition was, at this stage, archived but revivable and the wife then served the husband with the English petition. After a decree nisi was applied for the husband challenged the jurisdiction of the English court. The husband issued an Italian petition for judicial separation. Although the wife served a defence in the Italian proceedings the husband's Italian petition was struck off list for non-appearance of the parties. At issue was whether the Italian or English courts had jurisdiction.

Held the Italian court had not seised, as there had been no proceedings before it. The wife had never lost habitual residence in England and Wales, as her permanent centre of interest had remained England. Accordingly, the English court had jurisdiction.

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