Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Faster Divorce and Foreign Law

A recent report European Family Law: Faster Divorce and Foreign Law, written by David Hodson and published by the Centre for Social Justice makes the following recommendations;

The principle of first to issue, lis pendens, in European Family Law directly encourages international couples to rush to the divorce court to gain personal and financial advantage over the other spouse. It must be removed at the very earliest opportunity; it is thoroughly anti-family, anti-settlement and contrary to the whole ethos of family law and family life.

A number of European countries will not necessarily apply their own law in certain circumstances, but the family law of the country with which the couple in matrimonial proceedings have a close connection (known as applicable law). England and Wales only ever apply English family law, built up over centuries to create a sense of fairness and justice in the English and Welsh courts and for English and Welsh settlements. Brussels wants to impose applicable law on the UK. This would create much injustice and unfairness, increase costs of getting a divorce settlement and decrease prospects of settlements.

The country with the closest connection to an international couple should be able to deal with their case and then apply its local law to their matrimonial proceedings.

Brussels should go more slowly in its programme of European family law reform to take account of the very different traditions of family life and family law around Europe. Some seemingly minor changes in family law can have dramatic impact on relationships, families and community life and need much care and reflection before implementation.

Full report (pdf) available from the Centre For Social Justice


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