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International family law

With our recent expansion and to bring together the very considerable body of expertise in international family law in Chambers, Garden Court has established a dedicated International Family Team to pool that expertise in family cases with an international element. The team is uniquely qualified to deal with these cases due to its wealth of expertise in family, immigration, nationality, European Union free movement, trafficking and discrimination law, coupled with our close integration with other practice teams in Chambers working in related areas.

We have members who are regularly instructed to provide expert reports to guardians, solicitors and local authorities in relation to international aspects of family law, in particular with immigration and nationality issues. We also provide training in this area.

In addition to providing representation and advice, members of the team provide expert advice and act as consultants to a range of children’s charities and non-governmental organisations, including the Children’s Society, ECPAT (UK), UNICEF (UK), the Child Trafficking Information Centre at the NSPCC, and the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU. We also have strong research ties to leading academic institutions, including the University of Bristol and Queens University Belfast.

Areas of Expertise

  • International child abduction
  • Inter-country including Hague Convention adoptions
  • Brussels II
  • Relocation
  • Forced marriage
  • International surrogacy
  • Trafficking
  • Expert immigration and nationality advice in family proceedings
  • Expert reports relating to family law in certain foreign jurisdictions

We are able to deal with urgent applications of all kinds and are willing to provide urgent advice by phone or email.

What Others Say

“Her knowledge on the crossover between family and immigration is “invaluable”. She is the first choice for “complex family appeals” and “one of the few barristers you can instruct on international adoptions.” Capable of handling the full range of immigration work, she is “amazing all-round and as good as a barrister can be.””
Chambers and Partners 2013 on Kathryn Cronin

“An immigration and human rights specialist with particular expertise on the rights of children. “Quiet but persuasive,” she is known for her commanding advocacy.”
Chambers and Partners 2013 on Nadine Finch

Recent Significant Cases

Re AN (A Child) EWHC
A non-Hague child abduction case which raised complex issues where the mother had, on a visit to the UK, fled alleged violence from the husband from which she was unlikely to be protected in the country of her habitual residence in the Middle East of which the father was a national. If ordered to leave she would not return to that country, but to her home in an Eastern European country which would have resulted in the permanent separation of mother and child.

R (a Child), Re [2012] EWHC 2956 (Fam) (24 October 2012)
A case concerning a child who was adopted by the applicants in India. The question was whether his adoption would be recognised in this jurisdiction. The Court set guidelines for recognition of foreign adoptions: that the adoption was obtained lawfully in the foreign jurisdiction; whether the concept of adoption in the foreign jurisdiction substantially conforms to the English concept, whether there was any public policy consideration that should mitigate against recognition and, finally, whether the status conditions (of domicile or habitual residence) were replicated or fulfilled in the foreign jurisdiction. The Court made the declaration recognising the adoption.

Z & Anor v C & Anor [2011] EWHC 3181 (Fam)
An international surrogacy case in which the issue in contention was whether the applicant had acquired a domicile of choice in England. The applicants applied for a parental order under s.54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. The preliminary issue concerned whether one of the applicants was domiciled in England and Wales at the time the application for a parental order was made. If they are not, their application would fail. The Court gave a detailed judgment accepting that one of the applicants had obtained an English domicile of choice, although resident in the UK on temporary visas.

Unreported [2012] EWHC (Fam)
A woman, wrongly accused of trafficking her boyfriend’s child into the UK, who was then abandoned by him. Although strongly resisted by the local authority, the court made her a special guardian, having found that she had not trafficked the child. The case involved complex evidential and immigration issues.

Unreported [2012] EWHC (Fam)
A case where a member of Chambers was successfully able to reunite a child and her unmarried mother against strong local authority opposition. The mother, from an Arab country, had ostensibly abandoned her child to adoption in the UK because she was at risk of ‘honour killing’ in her country of origin.

Research and Consultancy Work

Research for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Nadine Finch was commissioned by the European Office of the OCHCR to prepare a report on the judicial implementation of Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in the European Courts. The findings were published as Judicial Implementation of Article 3 of the CRC in Europe, OHCHR Regional Office for Europe and UNICEF, 2012.

Nadine Finch is undertaking on-going work as an expert for the Fundamental Rights Agency following the roundtable on Guardianship for Trafficked Children in November 2013.

Nadine Finch is currently the UK Consultant on the EU Connect Project on unaccompanied children 2013-2014.

Family Clerks

Our International Family Team is supported by its own dedicated team of clerks. Specialising in family and immigration law, they are known for their efficiency and commitment. For more information about the team and to discuss how we can assist you, please email call us on 020 7993 7600.