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eprivateclient quotes Sophia Leeder on London’s appeal as a ‘divorce capital’

London has long been branded a 'divorce capital' for the volume of high-value cases passing through its courts, however potential sweeping reforms and wider changes to divorce processes could impact London’s appeal.

How these changes will impact the appeal of London as a forum for high-value divorce cases depends on the factors of why individuals might favour a given jurisdiction.

Sophia Leeder, Senior Associate, comments for eprivateclient:

In international cases where more than one country has jurisdiction to deal with a divorce and its financial consequences, this has led to ‘forum shopping’ where lawyers in London and other jurisdictions are consulted by individuals who wish to see where might be most advantageous for their divorce and financial settlement.

Sophia explains that the reasons why London is favoured in this context include the equal division of matrimonial assets which can favour the financially weaker party, potentially higher maintenance payments for the less wealthy spouse and generous child maintenance payments.

She also explained that the reputation of English courts comes into play, with rules that are thought to be clear providing quicker outcomes on financial matters due to legal and procedural efficiency.

Another appeal of the English legal system is the scope for the interpretation of legislation to change over time as the body of case law evolves.

Sophia adds:

"The discretion provided by the Act has allowed judges to adapt with the times and changing societal norms, for example with a judicial move away from the ‘joint lives’ maintenance orders (where spousal maintenance is paid on an ongoing basis to a former spouse for so long as they both remain living) which were common ten to twenty years ago.

 "However, the fact that the Act has required reinterpretation and new application by judges without any input from Parliament is seen as a reason in itself why the Act needs to be reviewed.”

Read the full piece in eprivateclient here

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