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David Hodson on International Family Law: An Australian example of the anti-suit injunction

Date:17 FEB 2011

David HodsonThe Australian family courts have handed down an anti-suit injunction in the international context of competing divorce proceedings. Given that the number of forum disputes will only increase with the growth of international families and international travel the anti-suit injunction known as a Hemain order in English family law is vital.

In Ashforth [2010] FamCA 37 the couple had lived together and then married in England for 17 months before separating in Australia. Their child was born in Australia. The husband returned and resided in England and applied in Australia for parenting and financial orders. The wife an Australian resident subsequently issued divorce proceedings in England including ancillary relief.

The Australian court adopted the forum test in the leading authority of Voth v Manildra Flour Mills [1990] 171 CLR 538 namely proceedings before the Australian courts will only be stayed if Australia is "a clearly inappropriate forum". Many international commentators regard this...

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