Court to rule on pre-nups

THE SUPREME Court is expected to make a landmark ruling this week on the enforceability of pre-nuptial agreements in the UK, with lawmakers hoping English law will be brought into line with Continental Europe and the Americas.

The ruling, which is expected to give more clarity to soon-to-be newly-weds on whether to take out a pre-nuptial agreement, is expected to come out of the courts after hearings started today.

Currently pre-nuptial agreements in the UK are part of a number of considerations taken into account under the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973 when determining a “fair outcome” in a divorce hearing, but do not have the same kind of weight as they do in Europe and the US.

Lawmakers are pushing the courts to treat pre-nuptial agreements as valid in divorce hearings, saying the courts should have limited power to intervene.

“We hope this ruling will give an indication as to where [the laws] are going. The ruling will be hugely important for people in the City because of the volume of international marriages and will set a precedence, either positive or negative, for the future,” said divorce partner Emma Hatley at law firm Stewarts Law.

The Law Commission, an independent body of the Parliament, is currently reviewing the UK’s pre-nuptial laws and expects to publish its findings and a draft bill in 2012.