News and Publications

James Stewart publishes fifth edition of Thomson Reuters’ definitive guide to international family law

Posted: 15/03/2021


  • Edited by leading international family lawyer and Penningtons Manches Cooper partner, James Stewart
  • Brings together the most experienced and respected family law specialists from 56 jurisdictions
  • Published in partnership with the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL)
  • Foreword by IAFL President, Marlene Eskind Moses
  • Available in hard copy and online via Practical Law and Westlaw
  • The only comparative guide to international family law which is sold and marketed globally

The fifth edition of the best-selling publication, Family Law: A Global Guide, known to family practitioners as the ‘Blue Book’, is published by Thomson Reuters today (15 March 2021).

The Blue Book is edited by leading international family lawyer, PMC partner and Visiting Professor at Ulster University, James Stewart, who is described as “one of the most visible faces in UK family law” by Spear’s Magazine.

The book is authored by some of the world’s leading family lawyers and is the definitive comparative guide to family law in 56 major jurisdictions, and the only guide that is marketed globally. Many chapter authors are Fellows of the IAFL, the worldwide association of practising lawyers who are recognised by their peers as the most experienced and skilled family law specialists in their respective countries. Notable chapter authors include Pinky Anand, Additional Solicitor General of India, Efe Etomi, the President of the African Women Lawyers Association and Nigeria’s preeminent family lawyer and UEA lawyer Diana Hamade, one of the most sought after family specialists in the Middle East.

The fifth edition includes 11 new chapters: Belgium, Mexico, Brazil, China (PRC), Indonesia, Luxembourg, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tennessee and Northern Ireland. include It covers all key family law issues including jurisdiction and conflict of law; pre- and post-nuptial agreements; divorce, nullity, and judicial separation; children; surrogacy and adoption; cohabitation; family dispute resolution; civil partnership/same-sex marriage; media access and transparency, as well controversial areas and reform.

Around 500,000 lawyers visited the online version of the ‘Blue Book’ last year and numbers are growing on a month to month basis. The ‘Blue Book’ remains the ‘go to’ resource for judges, academics and international lawyers throughout the world.

James first conceived the idea of a multi-jurisdictional guide to international family law in 2010, and, with the backing of Thomson Reuters, the first edition was published in 2011. The unprecedented success of the first edition was followed by launches of the second, third and fourth editions in 2013, 2015 and 2018. James has acted as General Editor for each edition.

James provided a Preface to the book and co-authored the chapter on England and Wales with his PMC colleague Rebecca Dziobon. The Foreword is written by Marlene Eskind Moses, President of the IAFL, and one of the most widely respected family lawyers in the world. Furthermore, the President of the IAFL’s European Chapter, Rachael Kelsey, has authored a brilliant chapter on Scotland and IAFL President Elect, Thomas Sasser, has co-authored a chapter on Florida with Jorge Cestero, immediate Past President of the US chapter.

In her foreword to the book, IAFL President (and Tennessee chapter author), Marlene Moses, says: “The simple, step-by-step, jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction approach adopted by this book provides a foundation upon which all family lawyers can navigate this ever-changing landscape.”

IAFL European Chapter President (and Scotland chapter author), Rachael Kelsey, comments: “I am so proud to be associated with this fantastic publication. The Blue Book is a powerful tool, which every international family lawyer should be using.”

Sir Matthew Thorpe, former Lord Justice of Appeal and Head of International Justice, says: “This supremely practical book provides basic information on international family law operating in no less than 56 jurisdictions…..in this busy world the provision of basic legal information in an easily digestible form is what we all seek.”

James Stewart, in welcoming this publication, comments: “the Blue Book is a must-have resource for all family lawyers with an international practice and has been called “the Bible of the international family law community”. I would like to thank all of my chapter authors who have worked so hard on this project during the Covid crisis and who have succeeded in producing this brilliant resource for family lawyers around the world. Special thanks to our amazing Commissioning Editor, Madeleine Jackson, Adam Hunt and the rest of the team at Thomson Reuters/Practical Law for the tremendous support which they provided me and all the chapter authors”  

The book is available both in hard back and digitally via Westlaw and Practical Law websites. Direct purchases can be made via Thomson Reuters / Sweet & Maxwell.


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