Posted by John Newberry, Solicitor
Villiers v Villiers UKSC 2018/0114
Decision appeal  EWCA Civ 1120
The Supreme Court has recently considered the Villiers case in which a divorce is taking place in Scotland but maintenance has been awarded to the wife within separate English proceedings. In 2018 the Court of Appeal had upheld the wife’s maintenance award in England and refused to stay her application there prompting the husband to take his case to the Supreme Court.
The whole of the UK signed up to the EU Maintenance Regulation yet England and Wales and Scotland are separate jurisdictions with England being more generous in terms of spousal maintenance awards. The Supreme Court will look again at whether the Court of Appeal was wrong in law to decide that the English court was unable to stay the maintenance proceedings where another UK court (in Scotland) is arguably the more appropriate forum.
It is not uncommon for maintenance to be dealt with in one jurisdiction pursuant to the Maintenance Regulation and for the divorce and financial proceedings to take place in another. This case stands out due to the proximity of the two jurisdictions and due to the UK Supreme Court being the final court of appeal in both.
If and when the UK leaves the EU, the Maintenance Regulation will not apply to either jurisdiction and the position will change yet again. That could, of course, change again in the event of a Yes vote in the likely indyref2. If the UK were to stay in the EU and the Supreme Court rejected the husband’s appeal, this could lead to an increase in forum shopping between England and Scotland.
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