Jurisdictional Battle Between English and Dubai Courts in AR v BR Case Resolved in Favor of English Court

Citation: [2023] EWFC 76
Judgment on

Introduction

The case of AR v BR holds significance in the realm of international family law due to the jurisdictional battle between English and Dubai courts over divorce and financial remedy proceedings. The primary parties involved are W (the wife) and H (the husband). The core contention revolves around which court - English or Dubai - holds jurisdiction over their divorce and related financial remedies.

Key Facts

  1. Both W and H are British citizens. Post their marriage breakdown, they relocated to Dubai.
  2. W initiated divorce proceedings in England on 15 June 2022. Contrarily, H started proceedings in Dubai on 28 June 2022.
  3. H was formally notified of W’s English proceedings on 7 July 2022.
  4. W received approval for her divorce in England on 17 January 2023.
  5. W sought maintenance pending suit and litigation funding, issuing this request on 8 September 2022.
  6. An interim order was made in England on 17 January 2023.
  7. H called for the financial remedy proceedings to be postponed on 28 February 2023.
  8. The confirmation of W’s conditional order was halted.
  9. DDJ Stuart moved the matter to the Central Family Court, centering on the jurisdictional question.
  • The case underscored the English court’s jurisdiction over the divorce due to W’s established domicile in England.
  • It became evident that the Dubai court would face challenges in determining the financial aspects of the divorce because neither W nor H is proficient in Arabic and their only assets in Dubai are automobiles.
  • Notably, the English court was already addressing W’s financial remedy application, making it the more appropriate venue for the ongoing divorce proceedings.

Outcomes

The Central Family Court concluded that the English court should preside over both the divorce and financial remedy proceedings. This decision was rooted in various factors, including the couple’s current residence in Dubai and H’s decision not to return to the UK. Furthermore, the English court would proceed with making W’s conditional divorce order final either today or shortly thereafter.

Conclusion

AR v BR sets a precedent in the intricate web of international family law, emphasizing the importance of domicile and the practicalities surrounding the proceedings. The case highlights the English court’s capacity to assert jurisdiction when domestic connections remain robust. As the landscape of international divorces becomes increasingly complex, AR v BR may serve as a guidepost for future cases grappling with similar jurisdictional dilemmas.

Related Summaries