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03 MAY 2005

DIVORCE: Duhur-Johnson v Duhur Johnson (Attorney-General Intervening)

(3 May 2005; Jeremy Richardson QC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge; Family Division) [2005] 2 FLR 1042

The Family Law Act 1986, s 51(3) provided that the validity of an overseas divorce could be refused if reasonable steps had not been taken for giving notice of the proceedings to a party to the marriage. The husband had not taken reasonable steps to give notice of the Nigerian divorce proceedings to the wife. He knew that the wife was in London, and although he may not have known precisely where, he had had no problems in contacting her when it suited him to do so. By the husband's failure to inform either his Nigerian lawyers or the Nigerian court about the likelihood of the wife being in England, the Nigerian court had been misled in a very material way. Therefore the validity of the Nigerian divorce would not be recognised by the English court, which would pronounce a decree nisi on the wife's English divorce petition.

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