Jurisdiction – the question of which country’s court has the authority to deal with a divorce – is often a matter of contention. It is particularly the case in international divorces where it may be legally possible to start proceedings in several different countries. We have discussed before how parties are motivated to fight for their jurisdiction of choice because rules on property division on divorce vary widely from country to country. A financially weaker spouse may be awarded a substantially greater proportion of the assets by an English judge than, say, a judge in Russia.

What Are Hemain Injunctions?

Sometimes a respondent to divorce proceedings in England may not co-operate with the English court. Instead he or she will try to gain an advantage by pursuing proceedings in a foreign jurisdiction that may produce a more favourable outcome. Hemain injunctions temporarily stop foreign proceedings, preserving the status quo until there is a full investigation of the issues of jurisdiction.

This type of family law injunction is rooted in the principle of fairness: Why should one party be able to argue the substantive issues in front of a foreign court before the issue of jurisdiction has been resolved and both courts are in a position to deal with all of the issues?

Are Hemain Injunctions Difficult To Obtain?

Yes. Even though these injunctions are directed at individuals they can nevertheless appear to restrict the powers of the foreign court. Indeed it was argued in one important case on the subject (T v T) that “the remedy cannot avoid being seen as an indirect interference with the process of the foreign court”.

So they are not granted lightly. To successfully apply for a Hemain injunction it is necessary to establish:

  • That the respondent is manipulating two different court proceedings in two jurisdictions for his or her advantage; and
  • In doing so is acting unconscionably, oppressively or vexatiously

These tests set the bar high. A respondent can legitimately engage in foreign divorce proceedings to get a better financial settlement when there are proceedings underway in England and not necessarily be acting unconscionably.

What Are The Limitations Of A Hemain Injunction?

Hemain injunctions are only an option if you are seeking to halt proceedings in a non-EU country. In addition, as we have described they are directed at the individual so they do not bind the foreign court. If it wishes the foreign court can continue as if no injunction were ever granted.

Hemain injunctions can be highly effective tools in appropriate circumstances. Because there is often a need to act with urgency to protect your position if proceedings are underway abroad, it is advisable to obtain specialist advice at an early stage.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

I had applied for a free consultation and I was contacted in a very short timeframe. Thank you so much for the insightful and thorough consultation, Kevin Danagher. You made me feel at ease and you provided clear expectations with the initial info I had provided... I have now a much better understanding on my query.

Feb 2024   Sonia Accardi

We had a very useful first consultation with Amber Matheson today. Amber took the time to understand our (somewhat complicated) set-up, and offered good, understandable advice on next steps. She followed up with a very thorough email clarifying what we had discussed. Highly recommended.

Feb 2024   Lucie

Lovely friendly experience. All questions were answered so that I understood completely.

Dec 2023   Ali Catlin

Very balanced, fair and pragmatic advice. Thoroughly recommend!!

Nov 2023   James Elliott

Henry graciously provided his time for a consultation. I found him to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic and he provided excellent advice which put my mind at ease. Would highly recommend Henry and his firm.

Oct 2023   Allan Ang

Henry Brookman went above and beyond during the free consultation, and even overran the allocated time. He provided invaluable professional advice in a courteous manner. I recommend his firm without reservation.

Sep 2023   Mario Ignatov

I only had my initial free review with Amelia yet I already feel much more strengthened in my legal and financial position. I am currently reflecting on the steps I want to take to negotiate my desired outcome of the financial settlement but, when I am ready to use the services of a lawyer, Amelia is definitely the top on my list.

Sep 2023   Nahid Toubia

I had a zoom consultation with Lauren Moir and she was incredible. Very patient, insightful and reassuring. She also advised me based on my previous conversations with another firm and also clarified various positions I am in. Highly recommend.

Aug 2023   Gary Hawes

I was very impressed with the friendly, helpful and professional service offered by Brookman Solicitors. The generous advice and knowledge offered during the initial free consultation has enabled us to have a much better understanding of our case and plan a way forward.

Jul 2023   Peter Jackson

I had a first consultation with Kevin, who very diligently and professionally provided an exhaustive overview of the divorce process and the best approach for my specific case.

Jul 2023   Giulia Matteo

Great service and excellent advice at the initial consultation. I would certainly recommend and use in the future.

Jul 2023   Tom James

Spoke to a kind solicitor this morning who took an hour of her time to talk me through some advice relating to a difficult separation.... She was clear and helpful with her advice, leaving me feeling much more confident with the process ahead of me.

Jun 2023   Luke Taylor

Mr Brookman provided very clear advice that left me with no doubt about the options and next steps. Getting specific advice with the requirements in the different jurisdictions was particularly useful so I won’t need to consult another lawyer outside of the UK

May 2023   Julian Anthony

From initial contact I found all staff extremely helpful and professional. My options were made clear, my query was dealt with in a sympathetic way. Would highly recommend Brookman Solicitors.

Mar 2023   seamus mcguinness

The initial consultation I have just completed with Henry Brookman was very informative; he was very open and honest about my situation, the legalities of the matter and the extent of how his firm could help.

Nov 2022   Kimberley Noakes

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470