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What will happen to BIIA and the Maintenance Regulation after Brexit?

Two recent reports from the Houses of Parliament have highlighted the growing uncertainty surrounding cross-border family law after Brexit

Both a Commons select committee and a Lords sub committee (see links below) urged the Government to look at what regulations will replace Brussels IIA and the Maintenance Regulation once the UK leaves the EU. The issue is particularly difficult as both instruments are directly applicable and it is unclear that they will be covered by the (entirely misleadingly named) Great Repeal Bill when it comes into force in 2019 as there is no legislation to incorporate. Indeed the Lords committee went so far as to say

"It is clear that the Government's promised Great Repeal Bill will be insufficient to ensure the continuing application of the Brussels II and Maintenance Regulations in the UK post-Brexit: we are unaware of any domestic legal mechanism that can replicate the reciprocal effect of the rules in these two Regulations. We are concerned that, when this point was put to him, the Minister did not acknowledge the fact that the Great Repeal Bill would not provide for the reciprocal nature of the rules contained in these Regulations.”

These regulations have a significant impact on jurisdiction and enforcement in cross-border divorces so financial remedy practitioners should be preparing now to answer questions from their clients over the coming long two years. For example, how will an award made now be enforceable in two years time? And in the face of such uncertainty what do you say to a client who has a possible choice of jurisdiction?

To that end, there will be an hour long discussion panel on the topic at the forthcoming At A Glance Conference featuring contributions from David Hodson OBE, Tim Scott QC and Rebecca Bailey-Harris who will provide some invaulable insights on how the changes should be handled. You can read more on the At A Glance Conference website 

MP's call for continued cross-border matrimonial co-operation post-Brexit 
Government not acknowledging post-Brexit uncertainty over EU matrimonial regulations says Lords Committee 

28/03/2017

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