James McKean acts successfully for administratrix in bigamous marriage dispute


14th November 2019

Family Division


James McKean, instructed by Andrew Bishop of Shoosmiths LLP, represented the successful Applicant in A v A, a dispute between two wives of an intestate deceased.

The deceased had been married at least three times, and the dispute arose over entitlement to administer his estate. The Applicant was able to obtain a declaration that her Nigerian marriage was valid, and therefore that the subsequent marriages were bigamous.


The Central Family Court was satisfied by expert evidence that the marriage was valid under Nigerian customary law, and also that the Applicant could rely on the presumption of formal validity confirmed by the Court of Appeal in Hayatleh v Mofdy [2017] EWCA Civ 70. The Applicant was awarded her costs from the unsuccessful Respondent, and from the estate as a due expense of the administration.

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