Hewitson v Hewitson: CA 6 Oct 1994

W (former) had obtained leave ex parte to seek financial relief, and the former H now requested that that leave be set aside. H and W had been divorced in California. W had signed a ante-nuptial agreement. W was now resident here. H argued that England was not the appropriate venue under section 16.
Held: The grant of leave was set aside: ‘it would be wrong in principle and contrary to public policy to extend the narrow compass of an Act designed to meet limited objectives to cover a wider and unintended situation. The facts of this case vividly illustrate my conclusion. A court of competent jurisdiction in California has made a consent order negotiated by lawyers. That order was not appealed nor successfully criticised. It was designed to be comprehensive and final, embodying all the ancillary matters following upon the dissolution of a failed marriage. The former husband complied with the order. It is inconsistent with the comity existing between courts of comparable jurisdiction for an English court to review or seek to supplement the foreign order on the basis of the subsequent relationship of the former spouses. It is all the more so when an applicant in similar circumstances seeking to vary a final order under our matrimonial jurisdiction would by statute be precluded from doing so.’


Butler-Sloss LJ


[1994] EWCA Civ 43, [1995] 2 FCR 588, [1995] 1 All ER 472, [1995] 2 WLR 287, [1995] Fam Law 129, [1995] 1 FLR 241, [1995] Fam 100




Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 12 16


England and Wales


CitedHolmes v Holmes CA 1989
Purchas LJ said: ‘the phrase ‘substantial ground for the making of an application for such an order’ is clearly central to the issues in this application . . [i]n particular when the court comes to consider such an application, it will have to take . .
CitedZ v Z (Financial Provision: Overseas Divorce) FD 1992
When considering an application for financial relief after an overseas divorce, the court should look at the issues which might arise under section 18 of the 1984 Act if leave were granted. In considering whether there is substantial ground for . .
CitedM v M (Financial Provision after Foreign Divorce) 1994
. .
DoubtedS v S (Financial Provision: Post-divorce Cohabitation) FD 1994
. .
CitedQuazi v Quazi HL 1979
The husband had pronounced a talaq in Pakistan, in accordance with the 1961 Muslim Family Ordinance. The question was whether the English court had jurisdiction on the wife’s petition to dissolve the marriage and make consequential orders relating . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 06 February 2022; Ref: scu.655371