Guest Post by Chytanya S. Agarwal*
Rising cross-border migration of people and concomitant increase in lawsuits relating to matrimonial disputes between couples brings to the forefront the issue of conflict of jurisdictional laws (219th Law Commission Report, ¶1.1-¶1.2). Mbatha v. Cutting is one such recent case that grapples with conflict of laws pertaining to divorce and division of matrimonial property when the spouses are domiciled in separate jurisdictions. In this case, the Georgian Court of Appeal dealt with competing claims from a couple who married in New York and had their matrimonial domicile in South Africa. The wife, domiciled in Georgia, USA, argued for the application of the matrimonial property regime of South Africa – their only (though temporary) common matrimonial domicile. In determining the applicable law, the Court upheld the traditional approach, which favours lex situs for real property and lex domicilii for personal property.