Introduction to international enforcement
Produced in partnership with David Salter of Deputy High Court judge and Recorder

The following Family practice note produced in partnership with David Salter of Deputy High Court judge and Recorder provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Introduction to international enforcement
  • Preliminary considerations
  • Location of the debtor or their assets
  • Identifying reciprocal enforcement arrangements available
  • For cases involving other parts of the UK
  • For cases involving the EU (transitional cases up to 31 December 2020)
  • For cases involving non-EU states and EU states post 1 January 2021
  • Type of order
  • Incoming or outgoing
  • New or existing order
  • More...

Introduction to international enforcement

The international enforcement of financial orders is not a common feature of everyday practice. As a result, reported cases are few. However, there are numerous conventions, regulations, statutes and statutory instruments, making this a highly complex area. With some jurisdictions there is more than one statutory route to enforcing an order; in others, none; or there may even be variations in relation to different parts of a particular state. Consideration should also be given to the impact of the exit of the UK from the EU (Brexit). 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marked the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements came to an end and significant changes took effect across the UK’s legal regime. This has implications for practitioners considering issues of enforcement. For further guidance, see Practice Notes: Brexit and family law, What does IP completion day mean for family law?, Brexit—jurisdiction and family proceedings and Brexit—recognition and enforcement in family proceedings.

See also Practice Note: Jurisdiction EU, including the sections on Impact of Brexit and Transitional provisions.

In most cases, enforcement of maintenance orders can be carried out through governmental agencies. There will be occasions when this is not possible or, for reasons of speed

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