Plans revealed for Government family law changes in event of no-deal Brexit

Family law solicitors Ormskirk experts will probably have their laws altered a little bit due to the new proposed plans for family law. Around this month, the Government published through the minister of Justice a technical notice on handling civil legal cases in the event of the UK withdrawing from the EU proposed on 29 March 2019. Under this is the consideration of cooperation between the UK and the EU in family issues after Brexit.

For instance, the Brussels IIA rules which primarily guide the divorce jurisdiction would be annulled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The various bases for divorce jurisdiction explained in Article 3 of Brussels IIA (except for joint application which is inapplicable) would be replicated for the domestic law of three countries so that the bases are suitable in the mentioned regions. One basis that would be available for all cases is the additional one which pertains sole domicile of either party.

The ‘lispendens’ rules of the EU would be invalidated for all of UK regions and instead, courts in every of UK jurisdiction would decide which court is the most appropriate to listen to a case. This is what currently happens for cases beyond the scope of Brussels IIA.

The UK is at the moment only a member of the Hague Maintenance Convention through their EU membership. The Government would make steps towards rejoining the convention on 1 April 2019. Divorce recognition would continue to apply through the 1970 Hague Convention which has been implemented by provisions in the Family Law Act 1986 and the government’s participation in the 1980 Hague Convention. This would mean that the measures used in EU countries in child abduction cases would be unchanged.

Commenting on the plans, David Hodson, a partner at The International Family Law Group LLP embraced them and talked about a chief advantage. He said the UK would have a combination of a comprehensive set of laws for all families around the world rather than having two sets, one for EU and another for non-EU families around the globe. According to David, no restrictions will be there for UK being signatories to the family law conventions, agreements and arrangements with fellow countries, as it has been the case the past recent years with EU membership.

A senior partner of Rayden Solicitors talked about the “first past the post” system that will be lost with the repealing of the Brussels IIA and there would be a return to contested litigation concerning jurisdiction. Considering the strains faced by the courts already, there must be the real concern of how the Courts will deal with further litigation.

Stacey Nevin, a senior associate of a family & divorce team in Kingsley Napley finds it a relief that the ‘lispendens’ rules will be revoked across the country in the event of Brexit. According to Stacey, this will be welcomed by many family lawyers, maybe even the family law solicitors Ormskirk professionals. As a way of straightening things up for everyone and avoiding making the law a ‘one-way’ street, the senior associate proposes having the ‘lispendens’ rules repealed in the other Member States where it will be sustained.