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David Hodson on International Family Law: Let the vuvuzelas sound: domestic abuse must be condemned

Date:21 JUN 2010

David HodsonAs the eyes of the world focus on South Africa this month attention rightly comes to its distinctive problems such as poverty in its townships and appalling rates of HIV. But its problems of domestic abuse are shared across the world. However unlike England South Africa is one of a number of discretionary based family law jurisdictions which in appropriate cases condemns domestic abuse in the actual outcomes on divorce finance. Their leading case is Beaumont [1987]. 

A couple of years ago for a paper for the World Congress on Family Law I conducted an informal worldwide survey of the approach to domestic abuse in finance cases. I was surprised to learn several countries now have similar caselaw such as Australia New Zealand and parts of the US following their introduction of the Violence Against Women Act 1994. Other countries are actively exploring it including non-discretion based jurisdictions where it is harder to incorporate in outcomes. 


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