Case details

Owens (Appellants) v Owens (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0077

Case summary


The interpretation of section 1(2)(b) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.


The parties were married in 1978 and separated in February 2015. The appellant's wife filed a petition for divorce in May 2015 contending that the marriage had irretrievably broken down. The petition was based on the respondent husband’s behaviour, which the wife argued meant she could not reasonably be expected to live with him within the meaning of s 1(2)(b) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, and she gave particulars of incidents, which included occasions where the husband was alleged to have made disparaging or hurtful remarks to her in front of third parties. The husband defended the case and argued at the trial that the examples given of his behaviour were not such as to satisfy the requirements of s 1(2)(b). The judge agreed and dismissed the petition.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 182



Tini Owens


Hugh Johns Owens





Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Wilson, Lord Hodge, Lady Black

Hearing start date

17 May 2018

Hearing finish date

17 May 2018

Watch hearing
17 May 2018 Morning session Afternoon session