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Estranged wife who wants to fight over money in England loses legal battle

Judges have ruled that a doctor’s daughter who grew up in Ireland, married in Italy and met her husband in Brussels is not ‘domiciled’ in England.


The three appeal judges overturned an earlier ruling by a High Court judge (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The three appeal judges overturned an earlier ruling by a High Court judge (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The three appeal judges overturned an earlier ruling by a High Court judge (Andrew Matthews/PA)

A doctor’s daughter who grew up Ireland and married in Italy but wanted to stage a multi-million divorce money fight in England has lost the latest round of a legal battle.

Three appeal judges have concluded that Una Kelly, who is in her forties and has worked for the European Commission, is not “domiciled” in the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales, after estranged husband John Pyres, who is in his seventies, objected to any money-fight trial being staged in England.

Lady Justice King, Lord Justice Newey and Mr Justice MacDonald have concluded that Ms Kelly does not regard England as “home” after analysing evidence at a Court of Appeal hearing in London.

Judges said she maintained “advantageous fiscal ties” to England but said she appeared to have “little if any affection” for England and chose “largely” only to visit for medical treatment.

Evidence suggested that she appeared to think of Italy as home, they said.

The three appeal judges, who analysed the case at a hearing in March, overturned an earlier ruling by a High Court judge.

Mr Justice Cobb had decided in March 2017 that Ms Kelly was domiciled in England and ruled that any fight over money should be staged in England.

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Appeal judges said the facts behind the dispute were unusual and complex.

Mr Pyres, a retired civil servant, who had worked for the European Parliament in Luxembourg and the European Commission in Brussels, had been born in India and moved to England with his parents when 13.

Ms Kelly had Irish parents but had been born in England because her father was a surgeon working in England at the time.

She had returned to Ireland, Mr Justice Cobb had indicated that she lived in Dublin, when she had a baby and stayed there until she was 23.

In 1995 she had moved to Manchester to study, and spent 18 months in England, before going to work for the European Commission in Brussels.

She had met Mr Pyres in Brussels in the late 1990s and they had married at an Italian farmhouse he owned in 2005.

The pair had at one stage spent nearly a year living in Fulham, London, when Ms Kelly was working for a company based in England and Mr Pyres owned a six-bedroom property in Fulham.

Ms Kelly had gone on to work in Albania with a European Union delegation.

Mr Pyres had spent the last three years of his working life in a European Commission job in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He argued that any money fight should be staged in Sarajevo.

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