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Detailed Practice Notes written by our Professional Support Lawyers, guiding you through the key issues in each topic.
International enforcement - overviewGeneral principles
If seeking to enforce a financial order abroad, considerations include:
whether the order is one which may be enforced within that regime, as not all types of orders are enforceable under every applicable statute/convention
the location of the assets and the parties
whether to obtain advice from a foreign lawyer
whether help can be obtained from the REMO unit at the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee office (the authority in England and Wales for transmitting and receiving applications for maintenance enforcement if one of the parties lives outside the UK)
what the likely costs are of making the claim and the potential realisable assets
whether an order made in the other country would be more favourable; if so consider a procedure that allows transmission
what effect transmission abroad will have on ability to vary
that some countries belong to more than one regime thus there may be more than one option available
The UK has reciprocal agreements with over 100 countries and territories, but those not falling within that list include China, Japan and countries in the Middle East. Some countries may fall within more than one set of provisions and the choice of enforcement may depend on the type of order being enforced or the location of the parties or assets.
The courses of action available and the relevant legislation will vary considerably depending upon whether the country with which the UK has a reciprocal agreement is an EU or non-EU country. In most cases, enforcement of maintenance orders can be carried out through governmental agencies.
Enforcement of periodical payments
For maintenance enforced by reciprocal agreement, see Reciprocal agreements above. Where no reciprocal agreement exists with a country eg Russia, whether a UK order can be enforced there is determined by the law of that country.
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