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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

17 JAN 2007

FORUM: Ella v Ella [2007] EWCA Civ 99

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe and Maurice Kay LJJ and Charles J; 17 January 2007)

The husband and wife both had dual British and Israeli nationality, but had been largely resident in England during the marriage. The husband had brought proceedings against the wife in Israel; the wife had brought proceedings against the husband in England. A pre-nuptial agreement between the parties provided that the law of Israel should apply. In the Israeli jurisdiction the wife had committed herself to a consent order concerning a postponement. The English judge agreed to stay the English proceedings, noting that the family's relationship with Israel was a profound one and identifying the pre-nuptial agreement as a major factor.

Whatever the relevance of the pre-nuptial agreement might be in England, it was undoubtedly a contract of considerable effect in the Israeli forum, of juridical advantage to the husband. An alternative basis for the judge's conclusion could be found in the history of the concurrent proceedings in Israel. If the husband obtained enforcement of the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement in Israel, the wife's prospects of getting permission to make a claim under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 were good, given the connections of the family with England.

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