Fingers crossed, we are now in a post-pandemic world. What does that mean and what lessons have we learned? What trends do we see?
I, for one, have experienced a boom of international clients. Location no longer being a bar on finding a solicitor, my clients now live in a wide variety of exotic locales far from my own base in Hertfordshire. My clients now live in Birmingham, Leicester and Wales, in addition to London and the Home Counties. Even farther afield are clients in the United States, China, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Dubai, among others. It is those international clients that give me my most interesting instructions.
Having had a wealth of experience with international family law issues pre-pandemic, my international practice has grown leaps and bounds during the various lockdowns and travel restrictions we have all had to put up with for the last two years. Who had heard of Zoom two years ago? Now most of my instructions arrive that way and the courts are well-able to host hearings by video conference as well. This, of course, means that international clients in, say, China or Dubai don’t even have to leave their kitchen, much less travel to London to attend court.
The no-fault divorce legislation, recently brought in in England and Wales, brings England and Wales closer in line with similar legislation abroad and makes many of my international clients more comfortable proceeding with their divorces here. Even if a couple divorced abroad, there is still an opportunity to settle financial matters in England and Wales and take advantage of its generous and flexible approach to matrimonial finance. London was already considered the “divorce capital” pre-pandemic. Now even more couples wish to resolve their claims here, even if they (or just one of them) reside abroad. In this post-pandemic world, availing yourself of the benefits of the English court system is suddenly more achievable as long as the right legal advice is obtained from someone who knows how to navigate the nuanced issues of international family law.