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The international nature of family law part 2

As I believe I’ve said here before, in another life I run a website that lists all reported family law cases (or at least all that I can find). The cases are listed in the order that I find them, which is pretty much the order that they are published, with the most recent at the top.

As I looked at the latest cases yesterday it struck me just how many have an international dimension. This is, of course, a thought that has occurred to me previously. I wrote a similar post to what follows back in June last year, but the point was so striking that I thought it was worth repeating.

The following cases all popped up in just the last week:

Re D (A Child) – This concerned the arrangements for a three year old girl. Each of her parents were seeking to be her primary carer under a child arrangements order, but her mother was also seeking permission to remove her permanently to Israel. Her Honour Judge Finnerty in the High Court granted her that permission.

Re Z (Foreign Surrogacy: Allocation of Work : Guidance on Parental Order Reports) – This concerned applications by a British couple for parental orders in respect of twins born to a gestational surrogate in India. The applications went before Ms Justice Russell in the High Court. As she said: “…this is a case which again raises some of the difficult questions regarding the law of surrogacy, particularly in cases involving surrogacy arrangements made in another jurisdiction.”

Re B (A Child) – A case involving wardship proceedings concerning a child whose mother had taken her to Pakistan.

Blackburn with Darwen BC v P (Flight to Latvia) – This one concerned an application by the local authority for emergency protection orders in relation to four children, and the efforts to prevent the parents from removing the children to Latvia. Unfortunately, I understand that those efforts were unsuccessful. I hope that the children are safe.

Oakes v Johansson – This concerned a final consent order made in proceedings under Schedule 1 of the Children Act. The international dimension was that the father is Swedish and the mother is (I assume) English. The mother was trying to enforce payment of maintenance arrears under an earlier order, in the Swedish court. However, it was the father’s contention that there were no arrears arising under the earlier order because the final order, as a result of significant funds were placed in trust to provide for the child of the parties, superseded the earlier interim order. The father succeeded with this argument.

Re RS (Forced Marriage Protection Order) – Lastly, a case concerning an application by a local authority for a forced marriage protection order in relation to a 25 year old man who has both an intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder. The application was designed to forestall an anticipated marriage, but it subsequently transpired that a marriage had taken place in Pakistan in October 2014. The issue therefore became whether that marriage should be recognised. Mr Justice Hayden declared that it should not.

So there we have it. Six judgments published in the same week, all with an international element. And more than that, for the most part six cases involving quite different problems, from international child relocation to recognition of a foreign marriage. Truly a demonstration of the complexities of modern family litigation, both international and otherwise.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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