Xydhias v Xydhias

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date21 December 1999
Date21 December 1999
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)

Court of Appeal

Before Lord Justice Stuart-Smith, Lord Justice Thorpe and Lord Justice Mummery


Matrimonial law - divorce - whether agreement for ancillary relief concluded - ordinary contractual principles not apt

Contract not apt in divorce deal

Ordinary contractual principles did not determine the question whether parties had concluded an agreement for ancillary relief in divorce proceedings.

If there was a dispute as to whether negotiations led to an accord abbreviating ancillary relief proceedings, the court had a discretion in determining whether an accord had been reached.

The Court of Appeal so stated in a reserved judgment, dismissing an appeal by Harry Costas Xydhias from the dismissal by of Judge Hamilton on November 5, 1997 in Birmingham County Court, of his appeal against the order of District Judge Hargreaves on November 25, 1996, and holding that pre-trial negotiations between the husband and his wife, Chrystalla Xydhias, amounted to an agreement for the purposes of an abbreviated ancillary relief hearing under section 23 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

The wife had petitioned for divorce in 1994 and applied for ancillary relief. Lengthy and detailed pre-trial negotiations took place shortly before the hearing and the amount of the lump sum and the number of instalments appeared to be agreed together with other details, although no document setting out the terms was signed by the parties and no agreement was reached as to how the payments should be secured. Various draft orders were prepared but not signed by the parties.

The wife's solicitors wrote to the court requesting a short appointment. But a few days before the hearing the husband sought to resile from the agreement and to vary the terms of the instalments.

The wife applied for an order that the husband show cause why an order should not be made in the terms of the agreement reached. The application was heard as a preliminary issue.

Mr Patrick Eccles, QC and Mr Edward Hess for the husband; Mr Michael Horowitz, QC and Mr Timothy Bishop for the wife.

LORD JUSTICE THORPE said that counsel for the husband submitted that the ordinary contractual principles summarised in Pagnan SpA v Feed Products LtdUNK ((1987) 2 Lloyd's Rep 601) applied.

His Lordship's cardinal conclusion was that ordinary contractual principles did not determine the issues in the appeal.

That was because of the fundamental distinction that an agreement for the compromise of an...

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72 cases
  • Myerson v Myerson
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 11 December 2008
    ...information available to him by virtue of section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. That was made clear by Lord Justice Thorpe in Xydhias v Xydhias [1999] 1 FLR 638, when he said (at page 691G): ““The court conducts an independent assessment to enable it to discharge its statutory func......
  • Soulsbury v Soulsbury
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 10 October 2007
    ...contract was not governed by ordinary contractual principles and was unenforceable. He based his case on this dictum of Thorpe L.J. in Xydhias v Xydhias [1999] 1 FLR 683 , 691: “My cardinal conclusion is that ordinary contractual principles do not determine the issues in this appeal. This ......
  • Re T (Abduction: Protective Measures: Agreement to Return)
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 1 December 2023
    ...to inter-partes agreements discussed by the Court of Appeal in Rose v Rose [2002] EWCA Civ 208, [2002] 1 FLR 978 (‘ Rose’), and Xydhias v Xydhias [1999] 2 All ER 386; [1999] 1 FLR 683 (‘ Xydhias’) apply to agreements or purported agreements reached in proceedings brought under the 1980 H......
  • DW (First Appellant) CW (Second Appellant) v CG
    • United Kingdom
    • Family Division
    • 21 November 2016
    ...for rectification (which would be too late now), the terms of the order must be interpreted in their own right. As Thorpe LJ said in Xydhias v Xydhias [1999] 1 FLR 683, at p. 691: "The decision of the Privy Council in de Lasala v de Lasala [1980] AC 540 demonstrated that … the rights and ob......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • Financial Remedies
    • United Kingdom
    • Wildy Simmonds & Hill The Single Family Court: a Practitioner's Handbook - 2nd Edition Contents
    • 30 August 2017
    ...Regulation, Article 17. 124 REMO. 125 www.gov.uk/remo-unit-helpline . 126 MS v PS [2016] EWHC 88 (Fam). 127 Xydhias v Xydhias [1999] 1 FLR 683, CA. 128 Kelley v Corston [1998] QB 686. 129 Soulsbury v Soulsbury [2007] EWCA 969, [2008] 1 FLR 90, CA. agreement as closely and practically as it ......
  • Family Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2003, December 2003
    • 1 December 2003
    ...the new s 112. Settlement agreements 13.48 As helpfully pointed out by Thorpe LJ in the English Court of Appeal in Xydhias v Xydhias[1999] 1 FLR 683, an agreement for the compromise of an ancillary relief application does not give rise to a contract enforceable in law. Parties seeking to up......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2007, December 2007
    • 1 December 2007
    ...to a contract enforceable at law. This is because an order of the court is required to achieve that purpose: see Xydhias v Xydhias[1999] 2 All ER 386, especially at 394e to 396b per Thorpe L J. Hence, if the Divorce Agreement were otherwise a legally binding contract, it would be impugnable......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2006, December 2006
    • 1 December 2006
    ...147. These cases are further discussed below. 12 Lee Hong Choon v Ng Cheo Hwee [1995] 2 SLR 663. 13 Sections 49—50, Women’s Charter. 14 [1999] 1 FLR 683. See also case comment on the case in S M Cretney, “Contract Not Apt in Divorce Deal”(1999) 115 LQR 356. 15 Stephen M Cretney, Judith M Ma......

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