Mainland Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases. 10 November 2022

Host group
Host Left
Hosted by
STEP Hong Kong
Event Type
Web Event

The Mainland Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases (Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement) Ordinance (Cap.639)

For international families, dealing with the personal and financial implications of relationship breakdown poses unique challenges. As a consequence of increasing global mobility, many families are made up of couples – whether they share the same nationality or have different nationalities - who marry, start families, and create footprints in multiple countries during the course of the relationship. They may marry in country A, live and work in country B, operate a business throughout countries A, B, C and D, and build capital or hold assets in all of those countries plus others. If the relationship breaks down, complex questions can arise as to what jurisdiction(s) has the power to deal with the divorce and consequential financial and children issues that arise. A related issue is whether financial or children orders that are made by one country will be recognised and enforced in any of the other countries with which the family is connected.

Such issues are traditionally resolved by complicated legal principles known as ‘conflict of laws’. In an attempt to provide a more straightforward mechanism to deal with the issue, some jurisdictions have passed legislation setting out rules by which each of two countries will mutually recognise and enforce certain orders that are made in the other country. The Mainland Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases (Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement) Ordinance (Cap.639) came into effect on 15 February 2022 and aims to provide such a mechanism as between Hong Kong and the Mainland.

This seminar will summarise the basic mechanism for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of certain family orders between Hong Kong and the Mainland. We will discuss which types of order could be more or less likely to be recognised or enforced on either side of the border and why.  


Stacey Devoy (Partner, Howse Williams)

Stacey Devoy has 30 years of international litigation experience, including several years working in London’s “Magic Circle” on complex, high-value offshore trust litigation (including the reported cases of Alhamrani in the Channel Islands and Minwalla, a leading family law decision of the High Court in London on “sham” trusts that was enforced against a Jersey trust and led to a change of legislation in Jersey.

Stacey is qualified to practice in Hong Kong, England and Wales and New Zealand. She was elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers in 2017 and is the author of Divorce in Hong Kong for LexisNexis Practical Law. 

Stacey’s practice deals with all issues confronting families when new relationships are formed or when relationships break down (including marital agreements, separation, divorce, custody and access disputes, international relocation of children and all financial arrangements). International jurisdiction issues often feature in Stacey’s cases and she has been asked to provide expert guidance to overseas courts as to the terms in which Orders should be granted to give the best prospect that such orders will be recognised and enforceable in Hong Kong.

Ningning Zhao (Claudia) (Partner, V & T Law Firm Shang Office, PRC)

Ningning Zhao (Claudia) graduated from China University of Political Science and Law with Master Degree. She is committed to cross-border family law for around 14 years. She is a Fellow of International Academy of Family Lawyers; Fellow of LAWASIA; Fellow of China Law Society; Director of China Private International Law Society; Member of Shanghai Bar Association. 

Some of her publications are Family Law (Co-author, Sweet & Maxwell, 2021); Matrimonial and Succession Law (Co-author, Law Press-China, 2016 and revised edition 2021); International Handbook on Child Participation in Family Law (Co-author, INTERSENTIA, 2021); Legal Practice of International Family Cases (Sole-author, Law-Press China, 2015), Lawyer Practice in Civil Litigation (Co-author, Law-Press China, 2014).

Cost group
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM HKT
Sheena Few
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