In a recent Court of Appeal case Zimina v Zimin  EWCA Civ 1429, , a husband’s appeal was granted against an order for him to pay a lump sum to his wife through the English Court, in addition to a previous order being made by a Russian Court. Divorce proceedings concluded in Russia and a consent order was agreed between the parties, filed and approved by the Russian Court. The consent order was entered into with a view to settling all of the wife’s current and future claims. These proceedings concluded in 2009 and the wife was granted $10m, use of a house in Kensington, London and child maintenance. Five years later, in 2014, the wife made a further application, this time in English Courts for financial relief under part 3 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. She sought a further award of £9.8m arguing that the provision made for her in the Russian Courts was insufficient. At the conclusion of those proceedings, the wife was granted a lump sum payment from the husband for £1,148,480.
The husband sought to appeal this lump sum order arguing that such an order should not have been made under part 3 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.
One of the key issues that the Court of appeal had to consider was whether it was appropriate for the English Courts to have made the order for financial relief. The Court of Appeal concluded that the Judge had in fact erred in making the order for the following reasons:
– The agreement reached in Russia was fair and entered into free from any pressure or coercion;
– There was no change in the Wife’s circumstances in the period between when the agreement was made in Russia and her application being made in the English Courts;
– The wife’s delay in applying for financial relief was considered to have been calculated and tactical;
– It would be difficult for the wife to demonstrate that she had or would suffer any injustice or hardship in the event that no order was made;
– The financial benefit provided to the wife by the husband in 2009 had been adequate and still was adequate.
The conclusion of this appeal case was that it was not appropriate for the lump sum order to have been made in the English Courts. As a result, the order was set aside and the wife was ordered to pay the husband’s costs.
This case reviewed the 2010 Supreme Court judgment of Agbaje v Agbaje in which a further order for financial provision was made in England and Wales after a previous order had been made in Nigeria. In that case, it was concluded that the Court would consider the adequacy of the financial benefit received by the applicant as part of it’s consideration of whether in all the circumstances of the case, it is appropriate for an order to be made by a Court in England and Wales. The case of Zimina therefore further emphasized the weight given to different circumstances when deciding whether an order should be made under part 3 of the MFPA 1984.