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Publication

Legal Matters & Rights

Last updated: 21 March 2019
Published: 27 February 2019
From: Department of the Taoiseach

Ireland and the UK both have a common law system, enjoy a Common Travel Area, which includes certain legal rights, and are currently both members of the EU and its supporting legal rules.

The Irish and UK Governments are working to ensure minimum disruption when the UK leaves the EU, and will continue to cooperate on a range of justice issues.

You can find more information on how Brexit might affect justice issues below.

Rights & privileges (for those in Common Travel Area including Northern Ireland)

Under the Common Travel Area, Irish citizens may enter the UK, reside and work there and enjoy associated rights and privileges without requiring any special permission or visas. Similarly, British citizens will be able to continue to enter this jurisdiction, reside and work here and enjoy associated rights and privileges without requiring any special permission or visas. Immigration requirements, as appropriate, will continue to apply to non-Irish and non-British citizens.

Family law

In the event of Britain leaving the EU without an agreement in March, one of the areas affected is family law, e.g. matters such as custody and access to children and foreign divorce recognition. If you are likely to be involved in a cross-border dispute involving Ireland and the UK, in advance of or post-Brexit, you may wish to seek legal advice as to how the withdrawal may impact your particular case. You can find more information below on certain issues.

Maintenance cooperation

The Government is exploring fallback mechanisms as are provided by existing international conventions. If you have a child support or family maintenance arrangement with someone who is living in the UK or is a British citizen, you should consult with your solicitor.

Parental responsibility

There are a number of international instruments that will cover parental responsibility in the event of a no deal Brexit. These include:

  • Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980)
  • Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children (1996)
  • European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children (1980).

Marriage recognition

Marriage recognition is a matter for national law and is not governed by EU law.

Divorce recognition

It may be more difficult to have a UK divorce recognised in Ireland in the event of a no deal Brexit. However, this will depend on the circumstances of each individual case, and you may wish to seek legal advice to clarify what impact the UK leaving the EU may have.

The Government is exploring fallback mechanisms as are provided by existing international conventions. Affected individuals should consult with their solicitors.

Extradition

There will be a workable extradition arrangement in place should the UK leave the EU without a deal. This will be through the Council of Europe Convention on Extradition.

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