Supreme Court Judgment in our case of Villiers v Villiers

The UK Supreme Court has today handed down judgment in our case of Villiers v Villiers – The only divorce case to reach UKSC last year, and the first time in 200 years the government intervened in the highest court.

Partner Russell Bywater, Associate Amy Barrow and Solicitor Kate Brett represented the appellant Mr Charles Villiers and instructed Michael Horton and Alexander Laing of Coram Chambers.


By a bare majority of 3 to 2, Mr Villiers’s appeal was dismissed.  The majority adopted a strict interpretation of EU law in this important judgment concerning forum shopping. 


It was held that due to the ‘first in time’ rule within the relevant regulations, and because divorce/matrimonial claims in Scotland are not a “related action” to a maintenance claim in England, there was no power to stay maintenance proceedings because one UK court was less appropriate.


After reading the narrowly-decided judgment which the court said could produce “unpalatable” scenarios, Russell Bywater said:  “the government intervened in the highest court in a divorce case”.


Read the full Press Release and Judgment