Natalie Sutherland considers private international law and divorce

In SA v FA [2022] EWFC 115, Burgess Mee Family Law successfully argued a British expat solicitor, living in Abu Dhabi, can have his divorce heard in the new Abu Dhabi Family Court for Non-Muslims, despite the English court having jurisdiction to hear the divorce based on domicile. Whereas previously issuing in England and Wales would have been standard to avoid Sharia law, now that Abu Dhabi has established new personal status law for non-Muslims (essentially any expat) which deals with marriage and divorce, if a forum dispute arises, it will be more difficult to argue that England and Wales is the more convenient forum.

The facts

The wife (SA), originally from South Africa, had met and married the h...

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