Staying proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction
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 inherent jurisdiction
  • Forum non conveniens test
  • Injunctions
  • Anti-suit injunctions
  • Hemain injunctions

Staying proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction

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 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. A party may apply for a stay of proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction by applying the principle of forum non conveniens. This power existed prior to the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973 (DMPA 1973). The court exercises this jurisdiction sparingly and its inherent power is not abrogated by the DMPA 1973.

See also Practice Notes: Staying proceedings under the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973 and Staying concurrent EU proceedings.

Forum non conveniens test

The leading authority is the House of Lords decision in De Dampierre v De Dampierre.

The test is whether there is a foreign tribunal of competent jurisdiction in which the case could be tried more suitably for the interests of the parties and the ends of justice, which requires the court also to ensure it would not be unfair to a party bringing English proceedings to limit that party’s rights to those that

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