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David Hodson on International Family Law: Imerman down under

Date:11 JUL 2011

David HodsonAt the 12th Australian Family Lawyers Conference held in Singapore in June 2011 the opportunity was taken during an Ethics workshop led by Federal Magistrate Tom Altobelli to consider appropriate self-help measures in obtaining disclosure. Most obviously it looked at the position adopted by the English Court of Appeal in Imerman. In a very controversial decision the Court of Appeal said that family law should follow civil law practice notwithstanding very different objectives and dynamics. There should be no self help and any documents obtained in that way should be returned without copies being kept until the disclosure obligation had been undertaken in the court process. Instead there should be redress to search orders inferences and court adjudication all thoroughly litigious and expensive. It is little wonder that the decision has been universally condemned as completely out of keeping with the whole stance and direction of family law and in effect a "cheats charter".

So how...

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