27 February 2017

What Britain’s divorce from the EU means for your family

In their article Jo and Dickon explain that Britain leaving the EU could have a big impact on family law.

They discuss the various arguments for and against reforming the rules which decide where a divorce will take place in the event that both England and another EU state have jurisdiction. As things stand, in such cases the 'first in time' rule states that the divorce, and associated financial proceedings, would take place in the first European state in which a party issues proceedings. This contrasts with the approach where the dispute regarding divorce jurisdiction is in respect of a non-EU country. In such instances, the English court makes a decision as to whether to seize or relinquish jurisdiction after a consideration of which is the more appropriate forum, applying the common-law doctrine of 'forum conveniens'. Where a divorce takes place can have a significant impact on the financial outcome as different states take diverse approaches that may result in markedly different outcomes on the same set of facts. While some commentators argue that we should seek to maintain the status quo insofar as possible post-Brexit, Jo and Dickon argue that this is a unique opportunity for legislators to consider whether applying the forum conveniens test universally could lead to fairer, and less arbitrary, results for clients.


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