Expatriate Law Family Law Conference – 3rd and 4th May 2018

On 3rd and 4th May 2018, Expatriate Law were delighted to welcome delegates from around the world to Dubai for our International Family Law Conference.

Over the course of two days, speakers and delegates discussed topical issues in family law, particularly focusing on those issues which affect expatriates in the Middle East. Particular themes which emerged were the importance of seeking early advice on questions of enforcement in the UAE, the absence of the 1980 Hague Convention in matters concerning the UAE, and the ability of international practitioners to make use of ADR to resolve cross-border disputes.

As well as a busy programme of talks and discussions, practitioners were encouraged to explore Dubai and understand the nature of the city as an international hub for business, culture and, increasingly, the law.

Expatriate Law are extremely grateful to all of the international delegates for coming together to make the conference so enjoyable. For further information about any of the topics discussed at the conference, please get in touch with one of our lawyers.

Expatriate Law’s International Family Law Conference

Expatriate Law are hosting an international family law conference in Dubai on 3rd and 4th May 2018. The conference is timed to coincide with the UK bank holiday weekend, so that delegates can spend a few additional days in Dubai after the conference.

The conference is aimed at lawyers who undertake international family law cases involving the Middle East. The conference will be an excellent networking opportunity, a chance to gain CPD and broaden your knowledge on international family law issues.


Conference Itinerary

The following speakers will be presenting at the conference:

Sir Peter Singer will speak on the recognition in England of foreign marriages and divorces. This will include consideration of divorces by Talaq, proceedings and non-proceedings divorce, marriages abroad and non-marriage cases, and the financial implications of such marriages and divorces.

Ian Edge will speak on Sharia law issues relevant for family law practitioners. His talk will include a consideration of Islamic principles, and their application in the Middle East. It will cover the types of divorce open to men and women in the region, dowry payments, financial implications of divorce, and Islamic inheritance.

Clare Renton and Alexandra Tribe will speak on the international relocation of children to and from the Middle East. This will include the ability to relocate with children from the Middle East, safeguards to ensure the return of abducted children to and from the region, and related issues. The talk will involve discussion of the cross over between English laws and Sharia based local laws in the Middle East, when advising expatriate clients.

Hassan Elhais of Al Rowaad Advocates in Dubai and Byron James of Expatriate Law will speak about enforcement in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Dubai. Their talk will consider options for enforcement in the region, including new developments within the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC). They will address the tactical steps that can be taken to help ensure future enforcement of English orders in the UAE.

Jeremy Morley was admitted to the New York Bar in 1975 and concentrates on international family law. His firm works with clients around the world from its New York office, with a global network of local counsel. Jeremy will speak on international family law issues; more details to follow.

Margaret Heathcote is the national Chair of Resolution (formerly the Solicitors’ Family Law Association (SFLA)), an organisation of over 6,500 family lawyers and other family justice professionals in England and Wales who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law issues.  Margaret will talk about Resolution, its beginnings and growth over the past 30 years, its ethos and its Code of Practice, the cornerstone of the organisation to which all members subscribe. She will also briefly look at the changing nature of the family and family and the practice of family law in the UK, and how Resolution and its members are rising to the challenge to influence change in the public, professional and legislative spheres.

We have also compiled a panel of family lawyers practising in the region who will talk about the family laws in their own jurisdiction, and issues relevant to lawyers advising expatriate clients in those jurisdictions. 6 lawyers will participate including Elham Hassan from Elham Ali Hassan & Associates in Bahrain, Sumaiya Al Baluishi from Mar Law Firm in Oman, Amna Abbas from ABS & Co in Lahore, Pakistan, and Mert Yalcin from YTT Law Office in Istanbul, Turkey. Other lawyers will participate from Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Location of the Conference and Accommodation

Hotel Bookings

The conference will be held at the H hotel in the centre of Dubai, at the foot of Sheikh Zayed Road. The 5 star hotel is a 10 minute taxi ride from Dubai International Airport and is the perfect base from which to explore Dubai, being 10 minutes from Jumeirah beach, and 10 minutes from the Dubai Mall, the aquarium, and the Burj Khalifa. We have secured exceptionally good rates for those wishing to stay at the H hotel (from £130 a night), as well as rates at the Rove Hotel opposite (from £65 a night).

These rates are available for a limited number of rooms, bookable directly through the hotels. Alternatively you may wish to book accommodation directly through UK websites such as Trivago, Agoda or which regularly offer excellent rates for the H, The Rove and neighbouring hotels (Sheraton Grand, the Fairmont, the Conrad).

For bookings at the H Hotel, please email Andrada Ghergel at quoting ‘Expatriate Law’ to secure your rooms.

For bookings at the Rove Hotel, please email Irina Srapian at quoting ‘Expatriate Law’ to secure your rooms.


Conference Bookings

The conference fee is £220 which includes soft drinks throughout the day, coffee and tea breaks, and buffet lunch on both days of the conference.

For those delegates attending from Dubai, Day 1 of the conference will attract 4 Accredited CLPD points, under the Dubai Legal Affairs Department CLPD system. The fee for attending Day 1 of the conference (Thursday 3rd May) is 1100AED. 

Please email Sally Pretorius at to secure your place on the conference. Sally will then provide you with payment options.


Visa Requirements and Travel Advice

For those with passports from a European country, there is no need to pre-apply for a visa for Dubai. 30 day tourist visas are granted within minutes as you pass through passport control at Dubai International Airport. There is no charge for these visas.

Dubai is a Muslim country, and whilst it is modern and progressive, we recommend that delegates dress modestly in Dubai by wearing skirts or shorts to the knee, and cover shoulders. Swimwear is of course fine on the beaches and pool areas. Alcohol is available in all hotels.

If you have any concerns about travel to the UAE, please do not hesitate to email Sally at


Dubai is one Emirate within the United Arab Emirates and offers a diverse holiday experience, being accessible to beautiful beaches, vast expanses of desert, shopping heaven within the vast marbled Dubai Mall, and fun for children and adults at WildWadi waterpark. Delegates may also wish to attend the world famous opera house in Dubai or drive an hour to the newly opened and incredible Louvre Museum of art in Abu Dhabi.

We will be organising drinks parties in the evening and can recommend tourist trips within Dubai and the region (please email Sally at for recommendations). An Abra trip along Dubai Creek is recommended, as is a visit to the viewing station at the top of the Burj Khalifa.

For those who would like an adventurous trip to the desert, and a chance to experience Arabian food, camel rides, and Falconry displays, we have secured a preferential rate with Platinum Heritage Tours and Safaris for a desert safari on the afternoon and evening of Saturday 5th May. The price is 476AED (approx £95) per person to include:

  • Pick up from the H hotel at 3pm
  • Short drive to the desert with Wildlife drive through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in vintage 1950’s Land Rovers.
  • Visit an exclusive Royal lake that is a bird sanctuary.
  • Falconry demonstration.
  • Sunset canapes (white truffle infused custard, blue swimmer crab, caviar; tea smoked lamb, sweet potato salsa, fennel, maldon sea salt en croute fine; Blackened salmon, kale slaw, corn tortilla, chipotle dressing) served with sparkling date juice.
  • Enjoy a short sunset camel ride to your private oasis cabana.
  • 6-course dinner including a choice between grilled salmon and king prawns, Australian Angus rib eye steak, grilled chicken, vegetable moussaka and many other delicious options.
  • Witness the spectacular Flaming Sands of Arabia fire show
  • Henna tattoos and aromatic shisha pipes available.
  • Return to the hotel between 09:30pm and 11:30pm

If you would like to book a place on this desert trip, please email Ben Wilkinson on and cc Sally Pretorius at