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EU exit could disrupt family law

If the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union this month it could cause “disruption and confusion” in family law, the Bar Council has suggested.

In a three-part report on the possible consequences of the upcoming referendum the Council claimed that membership of the EU has had “a significant impact” on family law matters which they considered beneficial.

Having “uniform jurisdictional rules in all or most Member States for divorce proceedings and for maintenance proceedings” was an obvious advantage, the report read. It was also positive to have “a system of summary enforcement in the courts of all Member States” in matters of maintenance regulation and contact between parents and children.

EU membership has allowed Britain to “pick and choose” which measures it wishes to adopt, the Council claimed, and those which have been adopted are “generally seen as useful by practitioners in the field”.

If the British public votes to leave it “could be particularly problematic”, especially since “the availability of legal aid has been greatly reduced”, something which has caused “a real increase of litigants who do not have the benefit of legal advice or representation”. The fact that “the family courts are undergoing or adjusting to, major structural changes” could also make the transition more difficult, the report read.

Chairman of the Bar Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said that there had been “a lot of political wrangling over the referendum on EU membership” and that this report was designed to offer a “neutral legal and constitutional analysis of the various options”.

The Bar Council represents barristers across England and Wales. Read their EU report here.

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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  1. spinner says:

    Would that be before WW3 starts or after ?

    • Luke says:

      Not sure – but it will be after the sun doesn’t come up in the morning…

      • JamesB says:

        How bad must the EU be to make people ok to face Armageddon to leave it? Perhaps, the establishment should have ran or more positive campaign, or better than that actually done something to reform Europe or given David Cameron more than bugger all when he asked for something to take to the British to enable them to vote for the EU. Failing that we have threats, like lawyers in divorce, take that, or it will be worse, well, I am proud to see the British people saying what I said in that situation, foxtrot Oscar.

        All that said, I personally hope that it is an amicable separation and if we can get back together on good terms it would be best, but if not, an amicable divorce as there should be no need for war, and friends shouldn’t threaten each other with it. Peace and Harmony with us outside of the EU or in a reformed one.

        They are relying on scaring people into voting remain when they get in the booth. Will it work? I don’t know, maybe. Except we are not Greece and the Germans are not the SNP and also don’t run Europe so maybe not and they should have had something better to offer like border or passport controls. That’s it for now, as a European, a bit upset how it has all turned out and am forced to vote for Brexit in the same way as Andy Murray was forced to vote for independence. I don’t like the scare tactics. Whether they work overall, I like to think Politics and the British are better than that and will be a leave vote then six months later Boris gets a deal for separate UK passports and working visas to stop the immigration issue and we vote in. Failing that we leave and trade and do well.

  2. JamesB says:

    Posh bloke talks poshly about other posh blokes, other than that wtf? Do not understand a word of it and therein lies the problem with the EU, most people don’t understand it. Like the CAP or who their MEP is, or why the Eurozone is in crisis, or what Shengen means, or why they have no foreign or domestic policy, etc etc.

  3. JamesB says:

    Or, most importantly, why we cannot control our borders from the millions of economic migrants from the South and East of the EU. Still these posh people in their posh houses don’t care and that can be the problem with the establishment, lack of empathy or caring about the people.

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