Clayton v Bant [2020] HCA 44 (02 December 2020) (Kiefel CJ, Bell, Gageler, Gordon and Edelman JJ)


Catchwords:


Family law – Foreign divorce – Property settlements – Spousal maintenance – Res judicata – Where appellant wife and respondent husband married in Dubai in 2007 and lived partly in Australia and partly in United Arab Emirates – Where wife and husband separated in 2013 with wife and child remaining in Australia – Where wife commenced proceedings in Family Court of Australia seeking parenting orders under Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“Act”) – Where proceedings later amended to also seek orders for spousal maintenance and property settlement under ss 74 and 79 of Act – Where husband commenced divorce proceedings in Personal Status Court of Dubai (“Dubai Court”) – Where ruling of Dubai Court granted husband “irrevocable fault-based divorce” and ordered wife to repay amount of advanced dowry and costs – Where husband sought permanent stay of property settlement and spousal maintenance proceedings on basis of res judicata, cause of action estoppel and/or principle in Henderson v Henderson (also known as “Anshun estoppel”) – Where primary judge dismissed application for stay – Where Full Court of Family Court permanently stayed property settlement and spousal maintenance proceedings – Whether ruling of Dubai Court had effect of precluding wife from pursuing property settlement and spousal maintenance proceedings against husband in Family Court by reason of res judicata, cause of action estoppel and/or Anshun estoppel.

Words and phrases – “advanced dowry”, “alimony”, “Anshun estoppel”, “cause of action”, “cause of action estoppel”, “claim”, “claim estoppel”, “divorce”, “estoppel”, “Henderson extension”, “irrevocable fault-based divorce”, “issue estoppel”, “merger”, “permanent stay”, “Personal Status Court of Dubai”, “Personal Status Law”, “preclusion”, “property settlement”, “res judicata”, “spousal maintenance”.