25th May 2021
Maria Des Pallieres (the Wife) appeals paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 of the order of Her HJ Evans- Gordon dated 4 November 2020 , sitting in the Family Court as a Judge of the High Court (as a section 9 Judge).
The Judge refused the Wife’s application and declined to rectify the order of DJ Aitkens dated 28 September 2017 and ordered all orders of the Court for enforcement pursuant to DJ Aitkens’s order dated 28 September 2017 are null and void.
The order of DJ Aitkens (the September 2017 order), sitting as a DDJ of the Principal Registry of the Family Division, had registered for enforcement purposes a French order made on 16 November 2010 dealing with the parties divorce, and associate matters of parental responsibility and finances. The Wife wished to enforce the financial provisions of the French order in England. The DJ failed to notice that the wrong form (and EC Regulation) was being used to register the French order.
The correct registration application should have been for a declaration of enforceability under Art 26 of the Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 (the Maintenance Regulation).
After registration the Wife then applied to the Family Court for enforcement of the Husband’s maintenance obligations.
The Husband raised the error in March 2020, after a series of orders had been made by the Family Court; arguing that the registration was without jurisdiction and all subsequent orders were null and void.
HHJ Evans- Gordon held she had power to rectify the September 2017 order pursuant to FPR r. 4.1 (6) but as no evidence had been placed before the DJ or her to satisfy them , pursuant to the Maintenance Regulation, that the Husband was habitually resident in the jurisdiction or had assets here, she could not be satisfied Husband had assets here and declined to rectify the order.