It does not seem that long ago that we were awaiting a decision on the key case of Owens v Owens regarding the Wife’s grounds for a divorce. However, once again the media spotlight is on Family Law. The Supreme Court has been asked to determine which Court you can apply to when it is possible that multiple countries could hear the dispute. This is commonly referred to as forum shopping as each party will want to bring their claim in the country which is more favourable to their position.

The case in the news relates to the divorce of Charles and Emma Villiers. Mr Villiers started the divorce in 2014 and he issued a Petition in Scotland as was living there at the time and both parties lived there for most of their marriage. However, Mrs Villiers has since issued an application for maintenance in the English Courts as she had relocated to England after she separated from Mr Villiers. It is also likely that she made the application in England as it has often been viewed as a favourable jurisdiction for those seeking maintenance.

Mr Villiers’ legal representatives are arguing that because the Divorce was issued in Scotland the issue of maintenance should also be considered there as the matters are related. It is likely that Mr Villiers is trying to assert that Mrs Villiers cannot bring her claim in the English Courts as she would have been treated less favourably in Scotland due to the differing views on maintenance and what assets should be taken into consideration upon a married couple’s separation.

Both the Court at First Instance and the Court of Appeal have decided in favour of Mrs Villiers i.e. that she could bring the claim for maintenance in England despite the Divorce having been started in Scotland. However, Mr Villiers has appealed the decision and the matter will now be considered by the Supreme Court (the highest Court in England and Wales).

Family Solicitors will be keeping a close eye on the news to see what decision is made by the Supreme Court as it will have an impact on the advice provided to clients especially where there is a cross jurisdictional element. It will also be interesting to see if the Court comments on whether a different decision would be reached post-Brexit.

If you would like further advice on the options available to you and the best way to resolve any difficulties you are experiencing in your relationship please speak to a member of our Family Department, either Rebecca Bye, Lachlan Donaldson or Robert Green on 01622 759051 or email