Cross-border family law issues were constructively addressed
at a meeting between Hong Kong and Mainland family law practitioners, which took
place in Guangzhou on 14 August 2019. Members
of the Hong Kong delegation found the meeting very productive and useful.
The delegation from the Hong Kong Family Law Association
(HKFLA) comprised of Nicholas Hemens, Jennifer Ip, Winnie Chow, Karen Lam, Lisa
Wong, and Edith Au-Yeung. Together, the delegation
travelled to meet a group from the Guangzhou Lawyers Association (Marriage
& Family Law Committee) and lawyers from Global Kingway Law Firm, who kindly
hosted the event.
The wide ranging discussion focused in particular on key
issues, such as divorce, custody arrangements and ancillary relief matters.
Ideas and views were shared by both delegations with each other, each giving a
presentation followed by Q&A sessions.
Hong Kong and Guangdong Province are very closely linked: as
a matter of geography, and also by families who have close ties to both sides
of the border. The increasing numbers of such cross-border families, makes it
of vital importance that family law practitioners, in both jurisdictions, are
kept apprised of the many developments and issues within this practice area on
both sides of the border. The meeting was reported to be a great success, and
both sides found it both informative and instructive.
The HKFLA were delighted to receive a talk on Wednesday 4th September 2019 delivered by Ms Thelma Kwan, a barrister specializing in trust, probate and family law in Hong Kong and Alfred Ip an experienced solicitor specialising in dispute resolution. Thelma and Alfred discussed the importance of estate planning for same sex couples in Hong Kong.
About Ms. Thelma Kwan Thelma Kwan is a practicing barrister specializing in trust, probate and family law in Hong Kong. She coauthored the book “Drafting Trusts and Will Trusts in Hong Kong.” Before returning to private practice in 2014, Thelma spent more than 20 years in the trust and wealth planning segment of various private banks. Her last role saw her as the Head of Wealth Advisory for Asia Pacific for an international private bank.
About Mr. Alfred Ip Alfred Ip’s specialty is dispute resolution. Alfred is skilled in helping individuals and their families manage personal and wealth-related matters, including trust and probate. He is well-experienced in all areas of probate and has a full range of expertise in estate planning, which ranges from drafting wills to constructing complicated trusts, ensuring clients are protected from any potential perils. He is also the chairman of Pink Alliance.
Members and guests attended a talk by Mr. Dakis Hagen QC on Wednesday 12 June 2019 at the Hong Kong Club.
About Mr. Dakis Hagen QC
Since being instructed as specialist Chancery counsel in Charman v Charman, Dakis Hagen QC (of Serle Court in London) has appeared in virtually all the highest value English matrimonial cases involving international trust structures, including Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman, Hagen v Hagen and Akhmedova v Akhmedov (the latter generating the largest ever financial remedy award in British history). When in 2018 Chambers & Partners introduced a new category for Family/Matrimonial: Trusts/Tax Experts, Dakis was ranked as the sole ‘Star Individual’ in England. Comments in the editorial include that ‘There’s no other chancery barrister with the same level of experience and understanding of how the family division works’, and that he is a ‘Superb advocate for cases concerning the intersection between family and chancery law, who is regularly instructed in the largest and most ground-breaking of cases’. In 2014 Dakis was named Chancery Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards and in 2018 he was nominated for Chancery Silk of the Year. As well as appearing frequently in London, since taking silk he has appeared as leading counsel in Gibraltar, BVI and Bermuda and will be appearing in a major matter in Cayman in July.’
Members attended a talk by Ms. Phoebe Lee and Mr. David Eastlake on Tuesday 21 May 2019 at the Hong Kong Club from 6:30pm to discuss the common disagreement between valuation experts in matrimonial proceedings.
About Ms. Phoebe Lee
Phoebe is a partner in PwC Valuation & Advisory Services practice based in Hong Kong and has more than 20 years of experience in providing valuation services including business enterprise, equity and intangible asset valuation for the purposes of merger and acquisition, corporate restructuring, dispute resolution, accounting and tax reporting.
About Mr. David Eastlake
David heads PwC Valuation & Advisory Services business practice in China and has over 30 years of experience in accounting, treasury, banking and corporate finance.
For more information and to RSVP, please view and fill out the event flyer.
Mr Justice Mostyn attended the Hong Kong Family Law Conference 2019 on 25 April 2019 at the British Consulate to address practitioners on judicial discretion in Family Law in his speech: Rules, Rule OK! An analysis of the exercise of judicial discretion in the Family Law Sphere.
For those who missed the speech or would like to revisit the key points raised, please find a link to the full speech here.
On 22 March 2019, the Court of Appeal issued
its judgment in LLC v LMWA and Another CAMP
143/2018, 27 February 2019,  HKCA 347 (“Judgment”). In the Judgment,
the Court of Appeal sets out its various observations on family litigation in
Hong Kong, and its expectations of practitioners and of the Court.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of topics the
Court of Appeal considers in the Judgment:
Trials of preliminary issues;
ML  1 FLR 1263
Mediation of family disputes under Practice
In particular, practitioners are reminded of
their positive duty to engage in constructive settlement negotiations and to participate
in alternate dispute resolutions processes, such as mediation, FDR and CDR in
good faith. This includes a proactive
approach to resolve family disputes through effective and proportionate means.
Practitioners are reminded to be mindful that
resources, including time, monies as well as energy, of the parties should not
be disproportionately squandered away in litigation – especially where there
are children in the family whose welfare should remain the paramount
6 March 2019, Mr Alexandre Boiché spoke to the HKFLA on “International
divorce before the French Court”. Alexandre is a lawyer at the Paris Bar
specialising in international family litigation, conflict of laws, and
recognition of foreign judgments.
The talk focused on jurisdictional issues considered by the French Courts in the different components of a divorce including divorce itself, spousal maintenance, parental responsibility, child support obligations and the matrimonial property resume. EU Regulations require French Judges to establish competence in each case and apply the applicable law. Jurisdictional issues and forum shopping can escalate costs and tensions while parties seek out preferred fora with perceived or actual advantages to them. Under the principle of “international lis pendens” the French Courts will also suspend proceedings if matrimonial proceedings have already commenced in another court, until jurisdiction of the first court is denied (there are limits to this principle in the French Supreme Courts or if there are bilateral conventions between France and that country).
talk by Alexandre concludes with discussions on the new 2016 European
Regulation entered into force on 29 January 2019 on the validity and drafting
of prenuptial agreements.