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David Hodson on International Family Law: Hong Kong follows White equality

Date:23 NOV 2010

David HodsonReliable reports indicate that Hong Kong's highest court the Court of Final Appeal has just directed that divorced couples must share their assets equally. This follows the global landmark decision of England's Supreme Court in White [2000] which held that there should be a cross-check against equality to avoid any gender discrimination. This has developed in later case law especially the Supreme Court in Miller/McFarlane [2006] that the starting point should be equality of division with the necessity to show good reasons to depart from equality which may be based on needs and/or the provenance of assets especially pre-marital inherited or post separation assets.

In the Hong Kong decision the assets were modest perhaps £250 000. At first instance after a long marriage in which the wife had the traditional role of looking after the home and not working the court awarded her only one third. The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal said that to maintain this outcome and confine her...

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