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iFLG partners Lucy Greenwood and Helen Blackburn were both honoured to speak at the 55th AFCC conference in Washington DC this month. 

The AFCC, Association of Family and Conciliation courts is an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict and its members consists of leading practitioners, researchers and policymakers in the family law arena.

The AFCC’s 55th conference entitled “Compassionate Family Court Systems: The Role of Trauma-Informed Jurisprudence” was attended by approximately 1100 delegates from all over the globe. 

The conference opened with an incredibly moving presentation by Jaycee Dugard, who spoke of her personal experience of being abducted at the age of 11 and held captive for 18 years during which time she gave birth to two children who she raised in captivity.

The conference presented us with a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with our fellow our international confreres and make new international acquaintances whilst learning a great deal from each other about trauma within our respective judicial systems.

Partner Helen Blackburn joined with Max Blitt QC (a fellow child abduction specialist from Calgary, Alberta with whom she has worked for many year) in presenting a conference session discussing international initiatives designed to reduce the trauma of child abduction proceedings for children. Their session looked at the ways that children can experience trauma during child abduction proceedings. Itwent on to look at the steps that are advocated in different jurisdictions (UK and Canada in particular) to support children during the court process, enable them to remain with the “abducting parent” during the court process if that is in their best interests, enable their voice to be heard and insulate the children from the potential harmful effects of a court ordered return.

Lucy joined with William Howe III (a fellow Pre-nup specialist from Portland, Oregon) in discussing the trauma associated with pre-nuptial contracts in a conference session entitled “prenups and post nups: Private autonomy or gender discriminatory injustice?”.  Pre nuptial and post nuptial contracts are designed to produce certainty and overcome disputes but can be accompanied by duress, gender or cultural, discrimination and injustice.  Their session looked at necessary safeguards and protections and examined good practice for families and for the courts.  It considered expectations of relationship agreements from other countries and cultures and asked about the correct approach of the judiciary.

We extend our thanks to the AFCC for inviting us to present at such a thought provoking and inspiring conference. We hope that we will have the opportunity to present at future AFCC events. 


Helen Blackburn is a Partner at iFLG. She specialises in family law concerning children and has a particular expertise in child abduction law and other children cases with an international dimension or involving the cross border movement of children. She has extensive experience of cases involving arrangements for children, custody/residence, contact/access (domestic and international), adoption (domestic and inter country), the reciprocal enforcement of foreign orders, international relocation/ leave to remove applications and jurisdiction.

Lucy Greenwood is a Partner at iFLG. Lucy has a very broad depth of experience and knowledge in resolving family issues having specialised exclusively in the field of family law for over 20 years. Lucy has a particular specialism in the drafting of pre-nuptial and post–nuptial agreements having done a large number of such agreements involving many parts of the world.

Helen Blackburn & Lucy Greenwood

The International Family Group LLP

© 29 June 2018