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News reaches of another southern Mediterranean country, Italy, facing financial crisis with more problems for the Euro currency and with the remaining EU countries expected to bail them out or write off their debts. This affects England as much as any others because of the role of the City. In these circumstances, is it not reasonable to ask for just a few favourable terms of the bail out? Favourable to international families and for us lawyers who daily try to sort out their relationship difficulties.
These problems are not direct components of the financial crisis but they are not wholly unrelated to the wider cultural issues. So a few thoughts:
Of course this is not common law versus civil law as the primary country directly affected financially is Germany. Moreover if it was England in this position, other EU countries would have a list of reforms impossible to list in only a 500 word piece! Moreover we cannot condemn the splinter in our neighbour's eye when our vision is blinded by the 4 by 4 timber sticking out of our own.
Nevertheless, the resolution of disputes concerning international families suffers and are made unnecessarily difficult by inefficiencies, basic disorganisation, administration incompetencies and unacceptably long delays of some European countries. Those who suffer are the families and their children. If the response is that this is a cultural issue in these countries, then that is fine. But therefore please can the EU stop telling us we are all one unified justice system, that we cannot use Hemain orders, that we cannot make comprehensive (needs/maintenance and sharing together) financial settlements and we have to apply the laws of these other countries which patently don't work any sense of fairness. No doubt these are low on the list of priorities of Euro zone Finance Ministers but for the European family and many other private clients, these cultural and administrative issues are equally important and need resolving if we are to have any confidence in a combined Europe
He is an English specialist accredited solicitor, mediator, family arbitrator, Deputy District Judge at the Principal Registry of the Family Division, High Court, London and also an Australian qualified solicitor, barrister and mediator. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and author of A Practical Guide to International Family Law (Jordan Publishing, 2008). He is chair of the Family Law Review Group of the Centre for Social Justice. He can be contacted on email@example.com.
The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Family Law or Jordan Publishing and should not be considered as legal advice.
The Red Book is the acknowledged authority on practice and procedure