Davis v Johnson [1978]

Image of the Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1976 with the Royal Coat of Arms

Davis v Johnson resolved once and for all the correct interpretation of the Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act (DVMPA) 1976. The House of Lords held that the proprietorial right of a husband to occupy the matrimonial home in the event of his physical abuse of a wife or partner could be suspended, thereby excluding the husband or male partner from the property or part of it. All five judges were unanimous that the DVMPA provided a wife or partner with a remedy for protection, which allowed for interference with a husband or male partner’s proprietorial right in cases where her life was in serious or grave danger. For the first time the law provided protection for wives and cohabitants living in the same household.

The full version of this landmark is written by Susan Edwards.


Learn More

Sisterhood and After Research Team, ‘Campaigns and Protests of the Women’s Liberation Movement’ (British Library, 8 March 2013) https://www.bl.uk/sisterhood/articles/campaigns-and-protests-of-the-womens-liberation-movement