Matrimonial Law in England & Wales and Russia: an analysis of relevant bilateral issues (jurisdiction, ancillary relief, child custody and cross-border enforcement)

June 17, 2010

This seminar was held in conjunction with and in the offices of Withers LLP who are ranked as one of the leading law firms in the field of Matrimonial Law. The partners of Withers LLP  Mark Harper, Suzanne Todd and Claire Blakemore were the key speakers in relation to the issues of English Matrimonial Law. Russian Matrimonial Law issues were presented by a distinguished guest from Moscow Olga Khazova, Associate Professor at The Institute of State and Law of the Moscow Academy of Sciences. The seminar was chaired by Rupert D’Cruz, the Hon. Secretary of the BRLA who introduced the speakers and chaired a Q & A session at the end of the presentations.


Olga Khazova gave a detailed overview of the following issues of Russian Matrimonial Law:

  • Ancillary Relief and Child Custody Orders under Russian Law
  • Establishing Jurisdiction in Russia
  • Enforcing Matrimonial Orders from England & Wales

In her presentation she covered a wide range of matters including:

  • sources of Family Law
  • types of divorce (administrative and judicial)
  • spouse-related issues (no clean break principle, etc.)
  • matrimonial property regimes (contractual and statutory)
  • marriage contract
  • common joint property
  • property of each of spouses
  • spousal maintenance
  • types of agreements between the spouses (marriage contracts, property division, alimony agreements)
  • jurisdictional issues with foreign element (alternative jurisdiction and exclusive jurisdiction of Russian courts)
  • applicable law and proceedings in Russia
  • recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Russia

Mark Harper, Suzanne Todd and Claire Blakemore of Withers LLP  presented an English perspective on the Matrimonial Law issues of:

  • Pre-nuptial Agreements
  • Ancillary Relief
  • Jurisdiction and Enforcement
  • Child Custody
  • in the presentation included the questions of:
  • jurisdiction and forum disputes, Brussels II Regulation and case law
  • obligatory and discretionary stays
  • anti-suit injunctions and Hemain v Hemain
  • Part III of the MFPA 1984 – financial relief after a foreign divorce (the relevant tests, Agbaje v Agbaje)
  • Court’s approach to assets division (statutory criteria and duties, change of approach and principles following White v White, Miller v McFarlane, Charman v Charman, consequences of shift in the law)
  • spousal and child maintenance
  • enforcement in England of Russian orders
  • Pre-nuptial agreements (conditions to be satisfied, types of agreements, the Court’s approach to whether they are binding in Crossley v Crossley, Radmacher v Granatino, dangers of not having a pre-nuptial agreement, etc.)
  • Post-nuptial agreements
  • Children related issues

The presentations were follows by a question and answers session and a drinks reception sponsored byWithers LLP.