Since the result of the EU referendum last week, more questions have arisen than have been answered. The Prime Minister has resigned and various pretenders to the throne lie waiting in the wings. The Labour party is internally combusting. No one knows when, or if, someone is going to press the button to trigger our withdrawal from the EU.
In the meantime, those of us working in family law have to carry on representing our clients and advising them on the legal position.
I have already had clients contacting me to ask me about the impact the Referendum result will have on their case. In short, the answer is that there will be no immediate impact on the legal position. As a specialist family lawyer working in the North East of England, we advise on the law as it applies in England and Wales which comes both from statute and from principles which are enshrined in case law. In addition, as a result of our membership of the European Union, we are also subject to European Law.
Within family law the most obvious areas of European Law which have an impact relate to jurisdictional rules for divorce and reciprocal enforcement of maintenance orders. The Human Rights Act also gives all citizens in England and Wales the right to a family life and the right to a fair trial (although it could be argued that this right has been severely curtailed for some following the cuts to legal aid under LASPO).
If we do leave the EU then careful consideration will need to be given to which parts of the European legislation we may wish to enshrine into our own legal system, if that is even possible.
For now, we do know that we are unlikely to start the Brexit process before September 2016, if at all. Once we trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union then the process of leaving will take 2 years and potentially longer if the European Council and the Member State leaving unanimously agree to extend that period. Until that time, the legal position remains as it is.
The current political situation may well have a longer term impact on the economy. For those in the midst of a separation, this may have an impact on the available assets.
Rest assured that our experienced team of accredited family specialists have the expertise to guide you through the legal process to secure the best result for you.
Lucy Mead is a Partner and specialist family solicitor with over 15 years’ experience in family law. For an appointment with Lucy or any member of our team call now on 0191 243 8163 or email Louise.Law@davidgray.co.uk.