Domicile and residence
Domicile is a connecting factor which links a person with a particular legal system, and the law of his domicile is his personal law. That law determines, in principle, whether a man or woman has legal capacity to marry, and how the estate of a deceased person is to be distributed. If a married person is domiciled in England, the English courts have jurisdiction to dissolve or annul his or her marriage. If a married person is domiciled in, say, France, then a divorce decree granted by the French courts to or against that person will be recognised in England. Apart from the conflict of laws itself, domicile is of significance in other areas of the law, especially tax law.
Since it is a connecting factor, a person's domicile must be ascertained by applying English law, and not in accordance with the rules of a foreign legal system.1
The general meaning of domicile is 'permanent home'. This seems clear enough, but the view expressed by Lord Cranworth V-C in Whicker v. Hume (1858)2 that a person's domicile is what he regards as his permanent home is far too simplistic and, indeed, somewhat misleading. It is true that for most people their domicile coincides with their permanent home. However, domicile is a legal concept and a person's 'basic' domicile is his domicile of origin, which is ascribed to him by law at his birth, and is not necessarily the country of his family's permanent home at that time. His domicile of dependence, whilst he is a minor, is the same as that of both or one of his parents, even though he may have no home with either. The ascertainment of a person's domicile of choice does depend upon showing that he intended to establish____________________