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End of transition period guidance: domestic violence

This guide forms part of our series of end of transition period guidance on private family law.

You should read this alongside our guidance on public children law.

The EU Civil Protection Regulation provides that any domestic protection order made in any EU member state will be automatically recognised and enforced throughout the EU.

EU domestic protection orders

The UK indicated at an early stage in the EU negotiations that, despite Brexit, it would continue to recognise EU domestic protection orders for the benefit of the victims of domestic violence.

In this area alone in the family law context, the EU law has been placed into national law, with necessary modifications, so that from 2021 onwards any EU domestic protection order will be automatically recognised and enforceable in the UK.

There will be no change in England and Wales on 31 December 2020.

As far as transitional arrangements are concerned, because the UK will continue to recognise incoming orders, there will be less of an impact in England and Wales

UK domestic protection orders

The EU has not made reciprocal arrangements at this point.

This means that for any UK domestic protection order made in 2021 or onwards, it needs to be followed up by a separate procedure in the EU national courts for recognition and enforcement.

This is likely to involve a much longer and more difficult process for the person seeking to rely on domestic violence protections.

For UK outgoing orders, the process will involve more than merely instituting proceedings before the end of the transition period, unlike the position with divorce, children and maintenance.

The order itself has to have been made and obtained, and the appropriate EU certificate signed by the court making it, on or before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

In those circumstances, such an order will then be automatically recognised and enforceable around the EU.

Practitioners will need to obtain the order and certificate when making applications for urgent issues arising in mid and late December.

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