Matrimonial Causes Act 1857

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1857 c. 85
Anno Regni VICTORI, Britanniarum Regina,Vicesimo & Vicesimo Primo. An Act to amend the Law relating to Divorce and Matrimonial Causes inEngland .

(20 & 21 Vict.) C A P. LXXXV.

[28th August 1857]

'WHEREAS it is expedient to amend the Law relating to Divorce, and to constitute a Court with exclusive Jurisdiction in Matters Matrimonial inEngland , and with Authority in certain Cases to decree the Dissolution of a Marriage:' Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, as follows:

S-I Commencement of Act.

I Commencement of Act.

I. This Act shall come into operation on such Day, not sooner than the First Day ofJanuary One thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight, as Her Majesty shall by Order in Council appoint, provided that such Order be made One Month at least previously to the Day so to be appointed.

S-II Jurisdiction in Matters Matrimonial now vested in Ecclesiastical Courts to cease.

II Jurisdiction in Matters Matrimonial now vested in Ecclesiastical Courts to cease.

II. As soon as this Act shall come into operation, all Jurisdiction now exerciseable by any Ecclesiastical Court inEngland in respect of Divorces Mens et Thoro, Suits of Nullity of Marriage, Suits of Jactitation of Marriage, Suits for Restitution of Conjugal Rights, and in all Causes, Suits, and Matters Matrimonial, shall cease to be so exerciseable, except so far as relates to the granting of Marriage Licences, which may be granted as if this Act had not been passed.

S-III Court may enforce Decrees, &c. before Act takes effect.

III Court may enforce Decrees, &c. before Act takes effect.

III. Any Decree or Order of any Ecclesiastical Court of competent Jurisdiction which shall have been made before this Act comes into operation, in any Cause or Matter Matrimonial, may be enforced or otherwise dealt with by the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes herein-after mentioned, in the same Way as if it had been originally made by the said Court under this Act.

S-IV As to Suits pending when this Act comes into operation.

IV As to Suits pending when this Act comes into operation.

IV. All Suits and Proceedings in Causes and Matters Matrimonial which at the Time when this Act comes into operation shall be pending in any Ecclesiastical Court inEngland shall be transferred to, dealt with, and decided by the said Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes as if the same had been originally instituted in the said Court.

S-V Power to Judges whose Jurisdiction is determined to deliver written Judgments.

V Power to Judges whose Jurisdiction is determined to deliver written Judgments.

V. Provided, That if it the Time when this Act comes into operation any Cause or Matter which would be transferred to the said Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes under the Enactment herein-before contained shall have been heard before any Judge having Jurisdiction in relation to such Cause or Matter, and be then standing for Judgment, such Judge may at any Time within Six Weeks after the Time when this Act comes into operation give in to One of the Registrars attending the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes a written Judgment thereon signed by him; and a Decree or Order, as the Case may require, shall be drawn up in pursuance of such Judgment, and every such Decree or Order shall have the same Force and Effect as if it had been drawn up in pursuance of a Judgment of the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Pauses on the Day on which the same was delivered to the Registrar, and shall be subject to Appeal under this Act.

S-VI Jurisdiction over Causes Matrimonial to be exercised by the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes.

VI Jurisdiction over Causes Matrimonial to be exercised by the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes.

VI. As soon as this Act shall come into operation, all Jurisdiction now vested in or exerciseable by any Ecclesiastical Court or Person inEngland in respect of Divorces Mens et Thoro , Suits of Nullity of Marriage, Suits for Restitution of Conjugal Rights, or Jactitation of Marriage, and in all Causes, Suits, and Matters Matrimonial, except in respect of Marriage Licences, shall belong to and be vested in Her Majesty, and such Jurisdiction, together with the Jurisdiction conferred by this Act, shall be exercised in the Name of Her Majesty in a Court of Record to be called ‘The Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes.’

S-VII Decree for Divorce Mens et Thoro abolished, &c.

VII Decree for Divorce Mens et Thoro abolished, &c.

VII. No Decree shall hereafter be made for a DivorceMens et Thoro , but in all Cases in which a Decree for a Divorce Mens et Thoro might now be pronounced the Court may pronounce a Decree for a Judicial Separation, which shall have the same Force and the same Consequences as a Divorce, Mens et Thoro now has.

S-VIII Judges of the Court.

VIII Judges of the Court.

VIII. The Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench, the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, the Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, the Senior Puisne Judge for the Time being in each of the Three last-mentioned Courts, and the Judge of Her Majesty's Court of Probate constituted by any Act of the present Session, shall be the Judges of the said Court.

S-IX Judge of Court of Probate to be Judge Ordinary, and shall have full Authority, &c.

IX Judge of Court of Probate to be Judge Ordinary, and shall have full Authority, &c.

IX. The Judge of the Court of Probate shall be called the Judge Ordinary of the said Court, and shall have full Authority, either alone or with One or more of the other Judges of the said Court, to hear and determine all Matters arising therein, except Petitions for the dissolving of or annulling Marriage, and Applications for new Trials of Questions or Issues before a Jury, Bills of Exception, Special Verdicts, and Special Cases, and, except as aforesaid, may exercise all the Powers and Authority of the said Court.

S-X Petitions for Dissolution of a Marriage, how to be heard.

X Petitions for Dissolution of a Marriage, how to be heard.

X. All Petitions, either for the Dissolution or for a Sentence of Nullity of Marriage, and Applications for new Trials of Questions or Issues before a Jury, shall be heard anti determined by Three or more Judges of the said Court, of whom the Judge of the Court of Probate shall be One.

S-XI Who to act as Judge during Absence of the Judge Ordinary.

XI Who to act as Judge during Absence of the Judge Ordinary.

XI. During the temporary Absence of the Judge Ordinary, the Lord Chancellor may by Writing under his Hand authorize the Master of the Rolls, the Judge of the Admiralty Court, or either of the Lords Justices, or any Vice-Chancellor, or any Judge of the Superior Courts of Law atWestminster , to act as Judge Ordinary of the said Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, and the Master of the Rolls, the Judge of file Admiralty Court, Lord Justice, Vice-Chancellor, or Judge of the Superior Courts, shall, when so acting, have and exercise all the Jurisdiction, Power, and Authority which might have been exercised by the Judge Ordinary.

S-XII Sittings of the Court.

XII Sittings of the Court.

XII. The Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes shall hold its Sittings at such Place or Places inLondon or Middlesex or elsewhere as Her Majesty in Council shall from Time to Time appoint.

S-XIII Seal of the Court.

XIII Seal of the Court.

XIII. The Lord Chancellor shall direct a Seal to be made for the said Court, and may direct the same to be broken, altered, and renewed, at his Discretion; and all Decrees and Orders, or Copies of Decrees or Orders, of the said Court, sealed with the said Seal, shall be received in Evidence.

S-XIV Officers of the Court.

XIV Officers of the Court.

XIV. The Registrars and other Officers of the Principal Registry of the Court of Probate shall attend the Sittings of the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, and assist in the Proceedings thereof, as shall be directed by the Rules and Orders under this Act.

S-XV Advocates, &c. of Ecclesiastical and Superior Courts may practise in the Court.

XV Advocates, &c. of Ecclesiastical and Superior Courts may practise in the Court.

XV. All Persons admitted to practise as Advocates or Proctors respectively in any Ecclesiastical Court inEngland , and all Barristers Attornies, and Solicitors entitled to practise in the Superior Courts at Westminster , shall be entitled to practise in the Court of Divorce and Matrimonial Causes; and such Advocates and Barristers shall have the same relative Rank and Precedence which they now have in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, unless and until Her Majesty shall otherwise order.

S-XVI Judicial Separation may be obtained for Adultery, &c.

XVI Judicial Separation may be obtained for Adultery, &c.

XVI. A Sentence of Judicial Separation (which shall have the Effect of a DivorceMens et Thoro under the existing Law, and such other legal Effect as herein mentioned,) may be obtained, either by the Husband or the Wife, on the Ground of Adultery, or Cruelty, or Desertion without Cause for Two Years and upwards.

S-XVII Application for Restitution of Conjugal Rights or Judicial Separation may be made by Husband or Wife by Petition to Court, &c.

XVII Application for Restitution of Conjugal Rights or Judicial Separation may be made by Husband or Wife by Petition to Court, &c.

XVII. Application for Restitution of Conjugal Rights or for Judicial Separation on any one of the Grounds aforesaid may be made by either Husband or Wife, by Petition to the Court, or to any Judge of Assize at the Assizes held for the County in which the Husband and Wife reside or last resided together, and which Judge of Assize is hereby authorized and required to hear and determine such Petition, according to the Rules and...

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