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JURISDICTION: Tufail v Riaz [2013] EWHC 1829 (Fam)
Date:2 OCT 2013
Law Reporter

(Family Division, Holman J, 19 June 2013)

The husband and wife, both of Pakistani origin, were married in Pakistan but lived in the UK during the marriage where their child was born. When they separated the wife returned to Pakistan while the husband remained in England. The wife petitioned for divorce in England. The husband later produced a certificate of divorce purportedly from an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan claiming that divorce proceedings by talaq had been finalised in that jurisdiction and, therefore, the English proceedings should not continue. The matter was remitted to the High Court for determination of the authenticity of the divorce certificate.

The wife applied for revision of the divorce certificate on the grounds that although it was apparently valid on its face it was obtained by illegal, unjust, improper, unlawful and coram non judice and should be set aside in the interest of justice, equity and fair play.

The wife's case of illegality of the divorce procedure was one which was only realistically capable of being resolved in Pakistan where all the relevant events took place and where people were informed about Pakistan law. However, on the evidence available to the court, the balance of probability the husband and wife were already divorced and, therefore, the English proceedings would be stayed. If her application for revision was successfully it would remain possible for her to reopen the English proceedings.