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01 MAR 2006

A Law Society View from Brussels: Perception and Reality

Julia Bateman, Justice and Home Affairs Policy Advisor at the Law Societies Joint Brussels Office. In writing an article, a view from Brussels in a legal journal, it is clear from the outset that this title will not make the reader think of the capital of Belgium all beer, chocolates, art nouveau and moules-frites. Far from it, as to refer to Brussels in this context throws up ideas of the other Brussels the so-called heart of the European Union. Brussels as a legislative and political machine is the subject of much controversy, much criticism and much misunderstanding.

A dramatic interpretation, perhaps, but after several years of living and working in Brussels, what continues to concern the author is the difference in interpretation of what actual happens within the, admittedly, complex EU legislative machine and the idea of what goes on, or moreover, what is reported to go on, in Brussels. The aim of the article is to reflect on some of the differences between the perception and reality of Brussels and what implications this has for the development of family law and the work of the family law practitioner. See March [2006] International Family Law 35 for the full article.

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