Eagerly watched by family practitioners, the Supreme Court has handed down its judgment in the case of Villiers (Appellant) v Villiers (Respondent) [2020] UKSC 30.

The matter concerns a wife's claim for a maintenance order against the husband where the parties had mostly lived in Scotland and the divorce proceedings were conducted there.

The case involved the court considering many interrelated aspects of both domestic and cross-jurisdictional family law including the correct interpretation of Section 27 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the EU Maintenance Regulation.

The Supreme Court agreed with the High Court and Court of Appeal and dismissed the husband's arguments that the English court does not have jurisdiction to determine the matter.

The Supreme Court, by a slender 3-2 majority, held that the EU Maintenance Regulation must be considered in light of its fundamental objective of conferring the right to choose jurisdiction on a maintenance creditor.

Going forward, the decision is likely to be of benefit to the financially weaker party in multi-jurisdictional cases who will find themselves with the flexibility of opting for bringing their action in the jurisdiction which is likely to treat their claim more generously.