Family law specialists address European Parliament on implications of Brexit



Rachael Kelsey

Four panellists from the Brexit and Family Law Group were invited to speak to MEPs and Permanent Representatives from the EU member states at the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday.

The session, hosted by Catherine Bearder MEP and the Joint Brussels Office of the Law Societies, saw around 70 participants hear about the implications in terms of family law for EU nationals under the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Tim Scott QC made the enormity of the challenges plain and described the “chaos” that was likely to ensue for families and children in terms of the existing proposals.

David Hodson OBE advocated for greater engagement on the part of the EU with the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

The two solicitor panellists, Daniel Eames, chair of the International Committee of Resolution and Rachael Kelsey of SKO Family Law Specialists, who is secretary of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), focused on a number of issues including the potential difficulties for EU nationals who divorce in the UK, and who want to have their divorce recognised in their home state post Brexit. She gave the example of Irish people living in the UK divorcing here, who would not have their divorce recognised in Ireland, post Brexit

Alyn Smith MEP reflecting after the session tweeted that “it was certainly an eye opening discussion, Brexit has no good news for family law”.

The Brexit and Family Law Group was set up nine months ago after a conference in London in June 2017, organised by the IAFL and designed to bring family practitioners, academics and NGOs from across the EU together to look at the implications of Brexit for families and children.

This was the first meeting with MEPs and mainland European government representatives and comes hard on the heels of the work that the group have been doing with peers in the House of Lords, MPs and MSPs.