What would a no-deal Brexit mean for Family Law?

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Family/Divorce Article

13 March, 2019

The Law Society has recently published guidance for Solicitors to highlight the changes in both civil and commercial cooperation that is likely to occur should the UK leave the EU without having reached any agreement on the 29th March 2019.

The result of the UK and the EU failing to reach a withdrawal agreement means there will be no agreement in place governing the terms of the UK's departure from the EU or the future relationship between the two parties. The UK would leave the EU's institutional structures without any transitional period resulting in cooperation between the UK and the EU ceasing, in many areas, and the applicable legal regime in many practice areas changing.

The status of ongoing cases is unclear as the rules governing the enforceability of any case decided after the 29th March 2019 will cease to have effect, and the risk of judgements made in parallel cases, taken in multiple jurisdictions, is a distinct possibility.

In some areas of law, such as child abduction, the Hague Conventions will continue to apply between the UK and the EU/EEA states.

National Law rules will apply to family law in the UK and in EU/EEA member states because all reciprocal elements of EU law will cease to exist (unless otherwise stated in the guidance). In the UK these will be repealed by the UK government.

It should also be considered that the cross border recognition of judgements in relation to divorce will be governed by National Law unless, the states are parties to the Hague Convention on divorce. This may well result in conflicts of jurisdiction and parallel proceedings in different countries.

The Law Society have prepared a joint note with Resolution providing guidance on the practical steps Solicitors may wish to take which can be viewed here.

Furthermore, The Law Society's full guidance on a No-deal Brexit and the implications for family law can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact a member of the family department on 01254 580000.

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