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In English family courts undertakings are frequently given in relation to all sorts of different matters. Undertakings are the quintessential practical tool in the English family court's armour and a very pragmatic way to dispose of disputes within the English system. The difficulty comes when undertakings need to be enforced abroad as in non-common law jurisdictions where they are a wholly unknown entity. This is particularly important in relation to abduction cases where the removing parent is sent back effectively on condition that the left behind parent provides various undertakings as to their behaviour, such as payment of maintenance, interaction with the children and prosecution.This article examines in detail the reality of using various international conventions including the 1996 Hague Convention, Brussels II Revised and the Maintenance Regulation to enforce undertakings overseas, in particular in Spain, and makes clear that English courts simply cannot expect that "Britain rules the waves" when considering the enforceability of English undertakings overseas.
By Diana Carrillo, Attorney at law of the Madrid Bar Association, member of the AEAFA, Spanish Association of Family Lawyers and expert on Spanish law in the English High Court and Sarah Lucy Cooper, Thomas More Chambers, Barrister and Member of Resolution International Committee
The full version of this article appears in the March 2014 issue of International Family Law.
Online subscribers can access the full article here.
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