(Family Division; Bennett J; 19 November 2007)
The husband and wife married in England; shortly afterwards they moved to Spain but retained English passports and English property. A few years later the wife filed for divorce in England. The husband claimed that the couple were habitually resident in Spain, and had acquired domicile in that country.
The husband had failed to establish that the wife had lost her domicile of origin or had acquired a domicile of choice in Spain. The English court had jurisdiction to hear the wife's divorce petition. Brussels II Revised, art 3(1)(a), fifth and sixth indents, sought to compel the court, in assessing the connection of the applicant to the jurisdiction sought to be embraced, to look at two fundamentals. The first was whether the applicant was a national of the relevant member state, or in the case of the UK and Ireland whether the applicant was domiciled there. Second, the Regulation was at pains to make it clear that what else was required to establish jurisdiction in the UK was the habitual residence of the applicant.