Annual Meeting of the IAML in Salzburg

Annual Meeting of the IAML in Salzburg

Hot topics in a traditional summer festival town: those were the ingredients of the annual meeting of the European Chapters of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML) in Salzburg. The IAML represents the leading divorce attorneys from around the world.. 180 of the top family lawyers from Europe as well as overseas had accepted Dr. Alfred R. Kriegler’s invitation to come to Salzburg. Dr. Alfred R. Kriegler is the current European president and a leading family lawyer based in Vienna. The discussions – supported by the “local heroes” Dr. Michael Pallauf and his wife Dr. Brigitte Pallauf (who is also the current president of the provincial parliament of Salzburg) - lasted three days and covered current developments in family and divorce law.

The doors of Salzburg magically opened to private tours of the Residenz and the Cathedral as well as a piano recital on Mozart’s original piano performed by Dr. Johannes Honsig-Erlenburg, the president of the Mozarteum Foundation. The participants, who were personally invited to this exclusive event were thrilled. But there was also ample opportunity to network and listen to chamber music performed by the newly founded IAML trio (David Salter from Leeds, piano, Tim Amos from London, viola and Esther Lenkinski from Toronto, violin).

“Societal developments continuously challenge existing family law” remarked Dr. Alfred R. Kriegler in his opening speech. Same-sex marriage is but one example as highlighted currently by heated discussions in France. Another example is the increasing number of cross-border claims for alimony support. Let’s say a German man and a French woman meet each other and get married based on a marriage agreement in Switzerland. Years later they move to England where they get a divorce. Who’s law is applicable? It sounds far fetched but isn’t. Dr. Robert Fucik who – among other things – is in charge of the department for international agreements for family law at the Austrian justice ministry, provided an interesting overview from an Austrian perspective. The British barrister, Q.C. (Queens Council) Tim Amos described – among other things – a pioneering case: literally for the first time a marriage contract entered into in another country was largely accepted by a British Court of Law. Comparisons regarding allocation of matrimonial assets between various legal systems were also made.

An additional topic (in which the IAML is very much involved) of the three-day conference was about the fight against forced marriages of children, presented by Anne-Marie Hutchison, an expert in this area. Another item of discussion were possibilities stemming from pregnancy-related medical advances resulting in children that can have three parents. Highlights of the annual meeting included two awards: the young London based lawyer Claire Wood received a check of Euro 1,000 for the “European Chapter Annual Award for Young Family Lawyers”. Martina Fasslabend, the president of the association “Die Moewe”, which supports abused children and adolescents, was presented with a Euro 2,000 check by Dr. Alfred R. Kriegler, provided by the European Chapter.

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