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International Family Law


"the International Family Law journal is a 'must' for its content and clarity and for its depth and its scrutiny of a complex world"

Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor, Richmond Green Chambers

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International Family Law looks at some of the deeper issues concerning the rationale and jurisprudence of existing law. International family law reform can best go forward when practitioners and academics learn from and communicate with each other. Available as either a print or online subscription.

We are offering the journal in ePDF format for free when you purchase a print subscription, making the content easier to access. Find out more.

As well as dealing with practical issues affecting lawyers' case work, International Family Law looks at some of the deeper issues concerning the rationale and jurisprudence of existing law.

Edited by Edward Bennett, with the help of leading family law specialists from around the world, International Family Law will keep you fully informed of all the latest developments in such subject areas as; forum shopping, international enforcement, international parental child abduction, conflicts of matrimonial and property laws, disclosure of evidence and much more.

Regular articles on the wider cultural issues of divorce around the world also help you to comprehend the context of each case.This unique, wide-ranging coverage ensures that International Family Law is an essential resource for family law libraries everywhere.

Each issue contains:

  • Latest international news and developments affecting family practice
  • Topical articles and expert commentary from leading practitioners across the globe
  • Detailed Case reports providing analysis of latest European case-law
  • Jurisdictional briefings providing expert summaries of the most important developments
  • Regular updates from Resolution and Resolution's International Committee
  • Four issues a year ensuring you are kept reliably informed

2015 Subscription Information
£330.00 inc print plus a FREE ePDF of each issue
(Postage costs - mainland UK p&p free, non mainland UK p&p + £12.00)
ISSN 1369-5762
4 issues per year
Annual subscription period runs January - December

[2015] Issue 1

Latest Content


  • Conference reports
  • Correspondent updates
  • Surrogacy for (Western) Australians
    Michael Nicholls QC and Rachel Oakeley
  • Anglo-French entente cordiale: a bilingual approach
    Isabelle Rein-Lescastereyres, Tim Amos QC and Nicholas Bennett 
  • Prorogation under Art 12 BIIR: the death-knell of advance prorogation?
    Carolina Marin Pedreno, David Williams QC and Michael Gration
    Rethinking legal gender recognition:recent reforms in Argentina, Denmark
    and the Netherlands Peter Dunne 
In Practice
  • Unaccompanied minors and airline surcharges: the extra costs of
    long-distance contact and relocation David Hodson OBE 
  • Forum circus beyond belief (at cost to state and individual and credibility of
    the systems) Elizabeth Muirhead and Françoise Bonnaillie-Valmorin 
  • Parental child abduction: the long-term effects: a research summary
    Professor Marilyn Freeman 
  • The substantive and procedural deficiency in guardianship of children
    in China: a suggestion based on experiences from a 5-year-long dispute
    Sarah Zhang 
  • Freedom of movement versus enforcement of judgments (ECtHR,
    December 2014, Battista v Italy) Emmanuel Guinchard 
  • President’s Guidance of 10 November 2014: the International
    Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU)
  • Hague Conference Update 
  • Resolution International Committee News 
  • Daniel Eames and Laura Bednall 

Case Update Claire Fenton-Glynn
International websites

"For those involved in any aspect of Family Law at an international level, the International Family Law journal (IFL) is a “must” for its content and clarity and for its depth and its scrutiny of a complex world where matters are often conducted so differently and with so much at stake for our clients in many cases."
Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor, Richmond Green Chambers
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General Editor
Elizabeth Walsh, Solicitor and Mediator, London

Advisory Editors

Rebecca Bailey-Harris, Barrister and Professor Emeritus, University of Bristol
Nigel Lowe, Professor of Law, University of Cardiff
The Hon Mr Justice Mostyn, London
Maggie Rae, Partner, Clintons, London

Consultant Editor

The Rt Hon Lord Justice Thorpe, Head of International Family Law, England and Wales

Journals Manager
Matthias Mueller

Subscriptions Enquiries
Anthony Allsopp
Tel: +44 (0)117 918 1492
The Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, Part III: the apotheosis of justice, English judicial imperialism or just the forum shopper’s friend?

Barbara Reeves, Partner, Mishcon de Reya and Emma Willing, Solicitor,
Mishcon de Reya

The genesis of the Part III jurisdiction
The years following the two world wars saw an influx of immigrants to England, primarily to bolster the labour market but also as a consequence of decolonisation and the partition of India that signalled the end of Empire. Many of those migrants retained links with their countries of origin sufficient to enable them to obtain a divorce there, or otherwise hailed from cultures which approved of non-judicial or customary divorce.

Throughout the 1970s the Family Division and the Court of Appeal were occupied by a series of cases concerning the recognition of such overseas divorces and the consequential impact on (usually) the wives’ ability to obtain financial relief following marital breakdown. Private international law required the English courts to give effect to judicial and non-judicial divorces that had been validly obtained under the applicable lex loci. Yet, in many instances, overseas jurisdictions either could not, or would not, make financial provision in favour of a wife. The House of Lords held (see Quazi v Quazi [1979] 3 All ER 897) that in such circumstances, the English courts were unable to grant financial relief, even to alleviate significant hardship, as no divorce proceedings were, or indeed could be, pending in England once an overseas divorce had been obtained and recognised. Following the recommendations of the Law Commission, the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, Part III (‘Part III’) was introduced to bridge this ‘dangerous and miserable gap in our law’ (HL Deb 21 November 1983 vol 445 cc28–98, per Lord Scarman at para 66).

Having determined to remedy this lacuna, the architects of Part III provided at s 15 a jurisdictional filter to ensure that before financial provision could be granted, the marriage, the parties’ married life or the applicant for relief had a real connection with this country. A further filter was provided by s 13 of Part III, the terms of which require the prior leave of the court before an application can be made. Following Agbaje v Agbaje [2010] UKSC 13, [2010] 1 FLR 1813 the applicant must show that they have ‘a solid ground’ for making an application before leave will be granted. Finally, by s 16 of Part III, the court is enjoined, before making an order for financial provision, to consider whether England and Wales is the appropriate venue having regard to, amongst other things, the nature and extent of the parties’ connection with this and any other country. As we shall describe below, the appellate courts initially interpreted the provisions of Part III conservatively; arguably in closer keeping with what appears to have been the original intentions of the legislature during the Bill’s passage. More recently, it appears, those courts have applied the provisions of Part III more in line with the development of our domestic matrimonial finance laws. The consequence has been that relief from hardship has been supplanted by the search for a ‘fair outcome’: the basis of the domestic matrimonial finance jurisdiction (see White v White [2000] 2 FLR 981 and Miller vMiller; McFarlane v McFarlane [2006] UKHL 24, [2006] 1 FLR 1186). This desire to import a parochial concept of fairness into the Part III procedure has, we shall suggest, led it to become the application of choice of the otherwise disappointed forum shopper:

‘So, as Mr Todd says, in any jurisdiction anywhere in the more Western world, she has a very substantial claim indeed for capital provision. The wife’s side believe that it is a claim measurable in hundreds of millions of pounds but, on any conceivable view, it is a claim measured in several or many tens of millions of pounds. It may or may not be that she would achieve an award of that scale before the courts in Malaysia. But, as Mr Todd points out, there are very substantial assets here in England and Wales, and if it were to be the case that there was finally a divorce in Malaysia and an award for her was so low as not even to run into the low tens of millions of pounds, then she would at once be on very strong ground indeed
for making an application for financial provision under the provisions of Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.’
Chai v Peng [2014] EWHC 1519, [2014] 2 FLR (forthcoming) per Holman J at para [44]

It was not always so.

Read the full article  


The editors welcome the submission of material for consideration for publication. Material submitted should be original contributions and should not be under consideration for publication in any other journal. Contributions can only be accepted on the undertanding that all copyright clearances have been obtained by the author. The address for submissions is:

Elizabeth Walsh
International Family Law 21 St Thomas Street
Bristol BS1 6JS, UK

Alternatively, material may be submitted by email to the following address:

Submission Format
Material should be supplied electronically, together with a printout. The electronic version and the print out should be exact copies. The document should be saved in Microsoft Word for Windows. Documents prepared on a Macintosh should be converted for PC compatibility.

Author's Details
Author's name and affiliation should appear after the submission title. Full address(es) for receipt of proofs should be given separately.

Proofs will be sent to authors for minimal, clear correction and for immediate return to the address given.

House Style
A guidance leaflet on house style is available upon request to the publisher, and authors are advised to obtain a copy before submitting material.

Authors should be as accurate as possible when citing references of any kind, and should provide the fullest possible details, especially when citing material from non-UK jurisdictions.

Substantive guidance may be obtained by contacting the general editor:
Elizabeth Walsh
International Family Law21 St Thomas Street
Bristol BS1 6JS, UK
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