On 26 January, Divorce and Family partner Lisette Dupré spoke at CAMMINO’s Congresso nazionale in Rome on the Panel internazionale Le famiglie ricostituite, discussing family law systems in different countries and how they would consider equivalent cases. The panel also evaluated whether a decision taken in one of the jurisdictions could then be recognised in the others.

Lisette here recounts her time in Rome, the panel’s conversation and lessons to take away. She was one of the five family law experts on the panel, which also included Camille Anger (France), Davide Piazzoni (Italy) and Hela Chérif (Tunisia).


Topics of discussion

I was proud to have been invited to speak together with Hela, Camille and David at CAMMINO’s first international panel charged with discussing key issues relating to family law from the perspective of different jurisdictions. The reception we received was wonderful and the questions and engagement from the audience demonstrated their clear interest in the topics under discussion. There was a clear fascination with just how different family law is between a common law country like England and Wales; a civil jurisdiction, such as France; and Tunisia, a country heavily influenced by both Sharia law and substantive law which sets it apart from other Arab and Muslim countries.

The primary topic of the panel was blended families. We looked in particular at the idea of cohabitation with new partners following the breakdown of a marriage, and the addition of new children to the family unit. This is a concept which is unheard of in Tunisia as it is forbidden. Italy has some interesting, rigid rules regarding the provision of the family home to the parent with care of the children. This in stark contrast to England and Wales, which would look at all circumstances of the case in addition to the needs of the children when determining what is to become of the family home. The very discretional nature of English family law was of particular interest to the Italian audience.


Takeaway points

Given the positive reception we have had to our panel, there is appetite to repeat the exercise of an international session at next year’s Congresso nazionale. In the meantime, I have learnt a huge amount about family law in Tunisia and specifically about the complete lack of mediation possible within Tunisia.

Fortunately, Hela is passionate about changing that and kindly gifted me her book on the topic, La Mediation, Manual de l’avocat. She hopes to change the law in Tunisia, to enable separated couples to mediate their dispute rather than litigate. I will watch with interest in the coming years to see how quickly she is able to implement her initiative. In the meantime, I hope she receives support for her initiative from fellow international lawyers including myself, so that real change may take place in Tunisia.

I cannot thank Davide enough for inviting me to speak at this Congress. It was an honour to be a part of such a wonderful panel.



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