Thursday 16th December 2021
The Husband, (H) appeals the order of HHJ Roberts dated 16 December 2020 sitting as a Circuit Judge in the Family Court at Central London, lifting a stay on the Wife’s divorce petition dated 19 May 2016.
Peel J’s order dated 2 February 2021 granted the Husband permission to appeal the decision of HHJ Roberts dated 16 December 2020 on 1 ground (ground 1) and refused permission to appeal on grounds 2- 9. He ordered the transfer up of the appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Dispute as to whether English or Italian courts are seised of divorce proceedings. Two stage process in Italy; first a judicial separation suit then divorce proceedings.
Peel J ‘s order says it appears 1) H’s judicial separation suit dated 23 March 2016 predated Wife (W)’s English divorce petition dated 19 May 2016 2) parties agreed W’s divorce petition should be stayed pending determination in relation to Italian jurisdiction 3) within the Italian proceedings W had accepted Italian court was seised of the judicial separation proceedings and had jurisdiction 4) H’s judicial separation suit was concluded by final order dated 7 October 2019 5) on the face of it, by Article 19 (3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (Brussels II) the English Court was mandated to decline jurisdiction 6) HHJ Roberts considered she should not entertain H’s application to dismiss the English petition pursuant to Article 19 (3) because it was too late to do so and no formal application had been made by H. Arguable that the Judge did have power to make an article 19 (3) order.