Family law and Brexit

As many people will be aware the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is currently being debated in the House of Lords.


Resolution have provided an update as they have been putting their views to the Government in writing and now have a meeting scheduled for this month with the officials involved in the debate. They plan to discuss alternatives to the current structure.


Resolution have stated that:


“Whilst it will be difficult to shift the Ministry of Justice from its hard-line stance regarding an ongoing role for the CJEU, (Court of Justice of the European Union) we have been able to directly influence parliamentary debate. Through Resolution’s work with wider stakeholders as part of the Brexit Family Law group, we joined representatives from the FLBA (Family Law Bar Association) and IAFL (International Academy of Family Lawyers) to brief opposition peers, led by Baroness Sherlock, on possible amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill. 


This led to Baroness Sherlock’s speech in the House of Lords on 31 January 2018, which directly set out Resolution’s views in this area.


As a result of this speech, Baroness Sherlock has tabled a number of amendments, which can be summarised as follows:


  1. A requirement on the Government to report every six months on the progress of negotiating new reciprocal arrangements in family law and a specific requirement to seek ongoing reciprocal arrangements;
  2. Allowing UK courts to refer family law matters to the CJEU for eight years and, where a referral has been made, to be bound by that decision. In addition, for the English court to have regard to other CJEU decisions; and
  3. Ensuring that the Hague Conventions are ratified by the UK.


The amendments are intended to stimulate debate and bring the issues to the attention of the Government. Concessions secured during parliamentary debate can go on to effectively form part of the legislation, so any movement by Ministers will be welcome.

The above are broadly in line with our policy, although our headline position is that prior to Brexit, the UK should enter into an agreement with the EU to ensure that the existing EU regulations continue to apply on a reciprocal basis and the UK would continue to be bound by decisions of the CJEU.”
If you need help with any aspect of family law or to understand how Brexit may affect your situation please contact Reshma, a
Resolution member, at or 01727 858807.


Alternatively you can contact our Client Relationship Team ( or 01727 858807) to book an appointment for the Free Family Law Surgery which is available on Tuesdays between 11 am and 1 pm.