MSB Solicitors Liverpool

MSB’s hugely successful family conference held at Blackburne House in Liverpool discussed a number of key issues in the sector including the radicalisation of children.


Top lawyers from as far afield as London came to the city for the event - the Changing Face of Family Law - which was held in partnership with London-based legal chambers 4 Paper Buildings.


Barrister Chris Barnes of 4 Paper Buildings said that since terrorist group ISIS declared an Islamic caliphate covering Syria and Iraq in 2014 a number of British families headed for the Middle East, attracted by the extremist ideology.


Many have since returned to the UK and brought that ideology back with them - putting young children within those families at risk of radicalisation and forcing child protection authorities to act.


“Our family courts are now dealing with an issue that barely existed three years ago,” said Mr Barnes

Another issue discussed was that of surrogacy, an area of expertise for Mr Barnes’s fellow 4 Paper Buildings barrister Andrew Powell.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of British couples travelling abroad to seek women to act as surrogates so they can return with a child and that the law has failed to keep up.


“When they return they find that, under UK law, paid-for surrogacies are not allowed,” explained Mr Powell. “The law here only allows for altruistic surrogacies where only reasonable expenses can be paid.


“People returning from abroad with a surrogate child will not be recognised under law as the child’s parents unless they obtain a parental order.


“However, the law currently precludes single parents from obtaining parental orders. This has been successfully challenged under the Human Rights Act but the law has not yet been changed to recognise this.

“This is an issue that does need to be addressed. There needs to be protection for everyone involved in the surrogacy process.”


Emma Palmer from MSB and 4 Paper Buildings’ Brian Jubb also addressed the conference with other issues covered including parental child abduction, forced marriage and honour-based violence.


Emma Carey, head of family law  at MSB, also addressed the events. Afterwards she said: “MSB is widely recognised as one of the leading UK family law firms and 4 Paper Buildings is also a leader in the field.


“However, those of us in the legal profession are aware that society, and the legal system that serves it, never stands still.


“Change is a constant and we all have a responsibility to stay up to date with a fast-evolving and complex society - this is why this conference has proved to be invaluable.”

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