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DIVORCE: Sharbatly v Shagroon [2012] EWCA Civ 1507

Date:27 NOV 2012
Law Reporter

(Court of Appeal, Thorpe, Black LJJ, Hedley J, 21 November 2012)

The husband and wife went through a ceremony in London which purported to be an Islamic marriage ceremony. None of the formalities of the Marriage Acts were complied with. The husband was already married. When the relationship broke down the parties came to a financial agreement and the wife issued an application under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family proceedings Act 1984 which was adjourned and not to be activated unless the husband fell into breach of the agreement.

The husband pronounced talaq and when a heated dispute arose surrounding the financial agreement the wife sought to activate her application. The judge held that it was the validity of the divorce or annulment which was the crucial issue not the validity of the marriage and, therefore, the wife was entitled to make an application under the 1984 Act. The husband appealed.

The judge had not had the benefit of the judgment in Dukali v Lamrani [2012] EWHC 1748 (Fam) [2012] 2 FLR 1099, as it had only been decided a few days prior to this hearing. The judge had erred and in order for the wife to make an application the foreign divorce had to be based on a marriage validly recognised under English law. That could not be argued in this case and, therefore, the wife could not proceed with her claim.