Staying proceedings under the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973
Produced in partnership with David Salter of Deputy High Court judge and Recorder

The following Family practice note produced in partnership with David Salter of Deputy High Court judge and Recorder provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Staying proceedings under the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973
  • Preliminary considerations
  • Concurrent proceedings in a related jurisdiction—mandatory stay
  • Concurrent proceedings in a non-UK, non-EU jurisdiction or EU jurisdiction where the transitional provisions do not apply—discretionary stay
  • Procedure for a stay under DMPA 1973
  • Effect of a stay under DMPA 1973
  • Concurrent proceedings in another Member State where transitional provisions apply—mandatory stay

Staying proceedings under the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973

31 December 2020 marked the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’). For further practical guidance on the implications of Brexit, see Practice Notes: Brexit and family law, What does IP completion day mean for family law? and Brexit—jurisdiction and family proceedings.

The court has an independent function and responsibility to investigate and determine whether or not it has jurisdiction.

This Practice Note details the procedure, requirements and criteria for staying proceedings where there are concurrent proceedings in another jurisdiction under DMPA 1973. See also Practice Notes: Staying proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction and Staying concurrent EU proceedings (where transitional provisions apply).

Preliminary considerations

DMPA 1973 distinguishes between those cases where the concurrent proceedings are continuing in:

  1. a related jurisdiction, ie Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey (including Alderney and Sark) and the Isle of Man (DMPA 1973, Sch 1, para 8) (mandatory stay)—see: Concurrent proceedings in a related jurisdiction—mandatory stay

  2. another EU Member State or the UK governed by Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility (Brussels II bis, art 19) (mandatory stay) where at least one set of proceedings was commenced

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