Divorce tourists choose London.

One in six divorce cases going through the British courts at the moment involve a foreign national. With high-profile settlements such as the upholding of Ms Radmacher’s pre-nuptial agreement in the Supreme Court, Frances Gibb has reported in the Times this week that the courts of England & Wales are being clogged up by the involvement of foreign cases or those with an international element.

It reminded me of my blogs in November 2010 http://bit.ly/Iv5wUn where I wondered if Hong Kong may become the new divorce capital, it would appear not.

Wives have for many years chosen the courts of England & Wales because of the generous provision that they can be awarded compared with other foreign destinations, in particular many courts in Europe where laws provide for earlier financial independence for both parties.

This shows huge confidence in the laws of England & Wales but is this causing UK citizens to suffer due to the backlog of cases being dealt with that involve an international element? Is this causing costs to increase with usual applications for consent orders taking months to be returned approved from the Principal Registry as opposed to a couple of weeks in many other courts? I am finding that managing my client’s expectations as to unnecessary delay is a big part of my job.

The fact that the Times also report that there is an increase in other litigation going through the British Courts is further demonstration that despite, many individuals having a lack of confidence in the  UK criminal justice system, it would appear that wealthy foreign individuals are choosing to litigate here.

I have been instructed by many UK expats who have married overseas and or have international relationships and whilst we always discuss the merits of jurisdiction, the vast majority will choose the UK even if it may not be in their best interest financially. They do so because they feel it is a jurisdiction that they think is fair.

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