July 31, 2018
The court unanimously dismisses the appeal but invites Parliament to consider replacing a law which denies Mrs Owens a divorce in the present circumstances. Lord Wilson gives the majority judgment, with whom Lord Hodge and Lady Black agree. Lady Hale and Lord Mance each give a concurring judgment. Interestingly, Lady Hale is stated as having misgiving particularly of the “fact that this was a case which depended upon the cumulative effect of a great many small incidents (which were said to be indicative of authoritarian and demeaning conduct over a period of time), yet the hearing before the judge was not set up or conducted in a way which would enable the full flavour of such conduct to be properly evaluated. In light of her misgivings, she considers that the proper disposal is to allow the appeal, and send the case back to the first-instance court to be tried again. However, this is not a disposal which Mrs Owens is actually seeking, and Lady Hale is therefore reluctantly persuaded that the appeal should be dismissed.” You can read the judgment here.
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