News/Blog

In this area of my website I set out items of news, commentary, blogs and articles. The most recent are set out below with a longer list in the right-hand column and many more which can be found using the search facility. Please do get in touch with me about any of these articles and the issues raised.

Divorce reform: my proposals and response to the MOJ consultation

The UK government has launched a consultation on divorce reform for England and Wales.  Here is my response.  These are my summary headline comments and proposals: Headline summary   The principle of no-fault divorce was adopted by Parliament in 1996 and nothing has materially changed; there is no need here for a second referendum!   Alongside the campaigning for no-fault…

The European Court decision on legality of sharia divorce: what is it really about?

A European Court decision in mid-December 2017 in the context of a Islamic divorce pronounced in Syria was bound to create headlines.  Too often these were potentially misleading when the issue of law was a fairly narrow one and moderately legal technical.  Nevertheless, within that legal technical description covers a wider issue of the interrelationship of personal laws and national…

Divorce forum disputes: when dual nationality may not be a possibility

Overview   As there can be dramatic financial and other differences for an international family in proceedings in one country or another, jurisdiction is fundamentally important.  It is sometimes based on nationality.  But some countries prevent citizens having nationality of more than one country.  International family lawyers need to be aware of which countries allow or prohibit dual nationality  …

The role, benefits and concerns of digital technology in the Family Justice System

Today I has presented a paper on the above at the World Congress of Family Law in Dublin.  Digitalisation is increasing across family justice systems around the world.  The paper looks at the benefits.  It covers the impact on professional practice of lawyers, mediators and judges.  Crucially it looks at the concerns for those who may be disadvantaged and the…

Innovative New International Family Law Arbitration Scheme Announced in Boston

Today (2 June 2017) at the AFCC Annual Conference in Boston, USA, Prof. Patrick Parkinson and I have announced an innovative new scheme to help international families. It is called ‘The International Family Law Arbitration Scheme’ (IFLAS). It will avoid long and expensive forum litigation and will help couples work out where any family differences should be resolved by ascertaining…

London reaches across Europe to embrace Istanbul and work together to combat domestic violence

Introduction The Istanbul Convention in English law, co-written with Fatamah Farag and Madeleine Gordon   On 8 June 2012, the UK government made a commitment to help end violence against women by signing and promising to ratify The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No.210) (the “Istanbul Convention”). To the dismay…

The Hague 1970 Divorce Recognition Convention: filling an EU divorce gap?

Overview   I examine this little-known Hague Convention on the international recognition of divorces and legal separations.  Might it be the answer to the recommendation by the House of Commons Justice Committee for a system for mutual recognition and enforcement of family court orders?   English family law after Brexit   On Wednesday, 22 March 2017, the House of Commons…

Commentary on the House of Commons Justice Committee Report on implications of Brexit for the justice system

Overview   I analyse and comment upon the Parliamentary reports published this past week on the implications of Brexit for the justice system.  The House of Commons report is carefully worded and recommends retention of a system for mutual recognition and enforcement of judgements.  I make a plea that with the publication of these reports, family lawyers, like the rest…

DB v PB: Unfair marital agreements, chaos of EU law and unusual routes to fairness

An English High Court decision, reported late last week, has highlighted several real jurisdictional obstacles to producing a straightforward and obvious fair outcome.  The judge had to overcome the “technical” obstacles presented by the EU Maintenance Regulation.  He used a statutory device, described as an “unusual” route, normally used only by nonmarried cohabitants.  En route he also covered the jurisprudential…

5th edition of Jordans ‘International Family Law Practice’ is published

The 5th edition of The International Family Law Practice has just been published by Jordans.  The book is edited by me and I have written several chapters, with specialist contributions from a number of other experts. These include my partners Helen Blackburn, and Ann Thomas. This authoritative leading text book provides comprehensive coverage of the international elements of English law, providing an indispensable practitioner guide…

Law Commission adopts iFLG proposals on law reform for pension sharing after foreign court orders

On 14 December 2016 the Law Commission presented their report as to how the law in relation to the enforcement of financial orders made within family proceedings should be reformed. iFLG were involved in the consultation process and a copy of their response, authored by me and Michael Allum of iFLG, can be found here. I also sat on an advisory…

The best interests of the child in the cultural setting

How should the test of the best interests of the child be seen in the context of active support for the child’s cultural heritage and upbringing?  What happens if there is any conflict?  How much should best interests outcomes be diminished or diluted to encourage cultural connections?    These are big issues facing many countries with significant cultural, religious or…

Anglo Scottish spousal maintenance: a Kingdom very gender disunited

A decision yesterday, 23 March 2016, by the English High Court, Mrs Justice Parker, has made public what has been known by international family lawyers for many years.  The financial treatment of wives, as applicant spouses on divorce, is incredibly different between England and Scotland.  Particularly it affects the conventional “stay at home” wives who have sacrificed careers and their…

No residual jurisdiction under Brussels II for divorcing Dutch nationals

David Hodson OBE and Marjet van Yperen The Brussels Regulation, generally known as Brussels II bis, was originally introduced in March 2000. One laudable intention was to provide the same jurisdictional basis for a divorce and similar marital proceedings across the whole of the EU, comprising more than 500 million citizens.  But the Netherlands Parliament has not fully embraced all…

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