A salutary lesson

I'm often asked by clients why we don't reciprocate when their husband/wife/partner fails to conduct proceedings reasonably, or even to comply with the requirements of the court - after all, they get away with it. My response is always that we should endeavour to conduct ourselves in a reasonable and proper fashion, even if they don't.

Well, a case reported briefly in The Times this week is a lesson in why the conduct of proceedings is important. Mr Klammers was appealing against the refusal of the English court to grant him a stay of the decree absolute, pending his appeal in the French Court of Appeal as to whether a French court had been correct in holding that the English court had been seised of the divorce proceedings first. In refusing his appeal the Court of Appeal (in England) emphasised the husband’s misconduct in not only failing to pursue the French appeal expeditiously but also in his "total disregard" of assurances given to the English court. But for that misconduct, Mr Klammers may have succeeded, and if his French appeal was also successful then the divorce proceedings may have taken place in France rather than the 'divorce capital of the world', with the result that he might achieve a far more favourable divorce settlement.