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International Family Law


The practice title for family lawyers engaged in/dealing with issues European and worldwide

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International Family Law is the only English language practitioner journal dealing with the rationale and jurisprudence of family law as it affects families and individuals across Europe and the rest of the world. In International Family Law practitioners and academics share their skills with subscribers in what is a rapidly growing – but possibly daunting – area of family law.

International Family Law is 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.

The journal features the latest official guidances, in-depth practical pieces and topical articles. Contents also include regular columns from the International Resolution Committee and the Permanent Hague Bureau, as well as news from our expert panel of international correspondents, case reports and book reviews.

International Family Law deals with the complexities affecting international family lawyers including maintenance regulation, marital property, financial matters, separation and divorce, and all aspects of child law. It includes:

  • 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] Issue 4

Latest Content



Conference reports
Correspondent updates

  • A European approach to childrelocation issues Lieke Coenraad
  • Has the European Court of HumanRights lost its conscience?Mary Welstead
  • The habitual residence of newbornbabies – how if at all does thewhereabouts of the mother during herpregnancy feature in the analysis of thefactual matrix? Ruth Cabeza
  • Medical decision-making at the end oflife – selected issues from a Swissperspective Dr Bianka S Dörr
In Practice
  • The legal recognition of same-sexunions – a growing trend for supportSuzanne Todd and Joanne Lazarus
  • Hybrid surrogacy arrangements – arewe inadvertently sleepwalking into aminefield? Nicola Scott
  • Adoption revocation – an internationalissue? Dennis Sharpe
  • Focus on the ‘recel de communauté’ orconcealment of community assetsCharlotte Butruille-Cardew and
    Madeleine Diébolt
Hague Conference Update
Resolution International Committee
News Alexandra Tribe

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
Read the full review

Watch the full review

General Editor

Edward Bennett, Former Solicitor and Barrister, Field Court Chambers London

Consultant Editors

The Rt Hon Sir Mathew Thorpe, Former Head of International Justice for England and Wales; Associate Member, 1 Hare Court
Elizabeth Walsh, Solicitor and Mediator

Advisory Editors

The Hon Mr Justice Moylan, International Hague Network Judge for England and Wales
The Hon Mr Justice Mostyn, London
Rebecca Bailey-Harris, Barrister and Professor Emeritus, University of Bristol
Nigel Lowe, Professor of Law, University of Cardiff
Maggie Rae, Partner, Clintons, London
David Williams QC, Barrister and Mediator, 4 Paper Buildings

International Correspondents

Charlotte Butruille-Cardew Paris, France
Haroula Constandinidou Athens, Greece
Ian Curry-Sumner Utrecht, The Netherlands
Edwin Freedman, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Marsha Garrison, New York, USA
Mark Henaghan, Dunedin, New Zealand
Anne-Marie Hutchinson, London, UK
Jacqueline Leong QC, Hong Kong, China
Ranjit Malhotra and Anil Malhotra, Chandigarh, India
Werner U Martens, Munich, Germany
Michael Nicholls QC, Perth, Australia
Madam Justice Allyson Ramkerrysingh,Trinidad and Tobago
Judge of Appeal Belinda van Heerden (Retired), Cape Town, South Africa
Judge Paul von Dadelszen QSO (Retired), Hastings, New Zealand

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
Theyears following the two world wars saw an influx of immigrants to England,primarily to bolster the labour market but also as a consequence of decolonisationand the partition of India that signalled the end of Empire. Many of thosemigrants retained links with their countries of origin sufficient to enablethem to obtain a divorce there, or otherwise hailed from cultures whichapproved of non-judicial or customary divorce.

Throughoutthe 1970s the Family Division and the Court of Appeal were occupied by a seriesof cases concerning the recognition of such overseas divorces and theconsequential impact on (usually) the wives’ ability to obtain financial relieffollowing marital breakdown. Private international law required the Englishcourts to give effect to judicial and non-judicial divorces that had beenvalidly obtained under the applicable lex loci. Yet, in many instances,overseas jurisdictions either could not, or would not, make financial provisionin 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 financialrelief, even to alleviate significant hardship, as no divorce proceedings were,or indeed could be, pending in England once an overseas divorce had beenobtained and recognised. Following the recommendations of the Law Commission,the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984, Part III (‘Part III’) was introducedto bridge this ‘dangerous and miserable gap in our law’ (HL Deb 21 November1983 vol 445 cc28–98, per Lord Scarman at para 66).

Havingdetermined to remedy this lacuna, the architects of Part III provided at s 15 ajurisdictional filter to ensure that before financial provision could begranted, the marriage, the parties’ married life or the applicant for relief hada real connection with this country. A further filter was provided by s 13 of PartIII, the terms of which require the prior leave of the court before anapplication can be made. Following Agbaje vAgbaje [2010] UKSC 13, [2010] 1 FLR 1813 the applicantmust show that they have ‘a solid ground’ for making an application before leavewill be granted. Finally, by s 16 of Part III, the court is enjoined, beforemaking an order for financial provision, to consider whether England and Walesis the appropriate venue having regard to, amongst other things, the nature andextent of the parties’ connection with this and any other country. As we shalldescribe below, the appellate courts initially interpreted the provisions ofPart III conservatively; arguably in closer keeping with what appears to havebeen the original intentions of the legislature during the Bill’s passage. Morerecently, it appears, those courts have applied the provisions of Part III morein line with the development of our domestic matrimonial finance laws. Theconsequence has been that relief from hardship has been supplanted by thesearch for a ‘fair outcome’: the basis of the domestic matrimonial financejurisdiction (see White v White [2000] 2 FLR 981 and Miller vMiller; McFarlane v McFarlane [2006] UKHL24, [2006] 1 FLR 1186). This desire to import a parochial concept of fairnessinto the Part III procedure has, we shall suggest, led it to become the applicationof choice of the otherwise disappointed forum shopper:

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

Itwas 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:

Edward Bennett
 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 from 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:
 Edward Bennett
 International Family Law21 St Thomas Street
 Bristol BS1 6JS, UK
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