The International Survey of Family Law is an absolutely fascinating overview of global developments in family law, ranging from Scotland to Fiji via Switzerland, Canada and Samoa. For each country, particularly interesting or controversial issues are cited.

For example, there is an analysis of four decisions in England and Wales relating to court-ordered caesarian sections. The issue is whether any court would be prepared to find that a woman had the mental capacity to refuse to give birth by caesarian section, and thereby allow the potentially devastating consequences for her and the unborn child to unfold while doctors stand helplessly by.

This ‘magpie’ approach of picking themes, which is likely to be of interest to family lawyers from any jurisdiction, results in a thought-provoking read. Although the book is dense in case law and statute, the author’s light touch ensures that each chapter is accessible and engaging.  

With the pressures of caseloads and billing targets, it can be hard to lift our gaze. This book offers practitioners the chance to see how international family law developments reflect societal and cultural changes relevant to us all. It is striking how universal are the challenges facing family lawyers and courts. There is much to be gained from an understanding of how those challenges are addressed in other jurisdictions.

This book is highly recommended to anyone with a broad interest in family law. It is a meticulously researched, rigorously academic and yet absorbing snapshot of developments in global family law.

Felicity Shedden is a consultant at Family Law in Partnership, London