2. By way of preliminary, I should explain that within the United Kingdom there are three separate legal systems. Scotland and Northern Ireland each has its own legal system. I am sitting as a judge of the courts of England and Wales (what for convenience I shall refer to as “the English court”) applying the law of England and Wales (what for convenience I shall refer to as “English law”).
4. The first thing I must consider is the jurisdiction of the English court in matters of divorce. For reasons which will become apparent in due course, it is important to distinguish two different senses in which the word jurisdiction is used. The first, what I will call “jurisdiction to entertain the petition”, goes to the logically prior question of whether the English court has any jurisdiction at all to receive, hear and consider the petition. The other, what I will call “jurisdiction to grant a decree”, goes to the question of whether the English court, assuming that it has jurisdiction to entertain the petition, has jurisdiction to grant a decree of divorce. I will consider these in turn.
5. Jurisdiction to entertain the petition is conferred by section 5(2) of the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973: