As has already been mentioned, at one time the English courts could not grant any kind of matrimonial relief in respect of a polygamous marriage.1 But this state of affairs could not last, in view of the increased immigration into this country from countries which permit polygamy. The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 47(1), now provides that a court
is not precluded from granting matrimonial relief or making a declaration concerning the validity of a marriage by reason only that the marriage was entered into under a law which permits polygamy.
This applies to both actual and potentially polygamous marriages. 'Matrimonial relief' includes divorce and nullity decrees and maintenance orders.2
At common law, the English courts only possessed jurisdiction to grant a divorce if the spouses were domiciled in England. Since at common law a husband and wife were both domiciled in the country of the husband's domicile, this could lead to hardship for a wife whose husband deserted her and acquired a domicile abroad. From 1937 statutory jurisdiction was bestowed upon the courts to entertain a wife's petition when her husband was domiciled abroad.4 By subsequent extensions of such jurisdiction, wives became unduly favoured over husbands. But the abolition in 1973 of the unity of domicile of married couples from 319____________________