The Court of Appeal has today unanimously and unequivocally affirmed the decision of Mr Justice Bodey of 17 October 2014; confirming England as the proper place for this divorce to be heard.
Dismissing all of the husband’s grounds of appeal, all three Court of Appeal judges determined that Mr Justice Bodey’s original finding, over a year ago, was “unimpeachable”.
Despite the costs and delays brought about by the husband’s appeal, my client is delighted finally to have established her right to divorce him in her home country.
She has her £30m home here, their children went to top English universities, the family wealth was largely generated within cornerstones of English industry, such as Laura Ashley and Corus Hotels, and she has not lived in Malaysia for over 30 years.
With the support of her children she has endured three years of some of the most ground breaking and hotly contested litigation the English family courts have ever seen. She has succeeded at every hurdle and can now at last get divorced and move on with her life.
I feel an enormous sense of pride and justice in what we have achieved. For three years Dr Khoo has sought to forum-shop his way out of the English courts, to gain a financial advantage.
To do so he has relied upon what has been described as one of the “last barbaric relics” of Malaysian law, which binds a wife’s domicile to that of her husband and deprives her of independent choice.
English law, by contrast, respects a woman’s autonomy: her right to choose her own home, independently of her husband.
Pauline Chai can now look forward to a brighter future, where the English court will consider the fruits of their long marriage as the fruits of an equal partnership – without putting breadwinner ahead of homemaker. This, after a 45 year marriage producing 5 children, is just as it should be.
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