A Week in the Life – Cafcass Legal

Jeremy Ford, Solicitor, describes the many and varied roles carried out by the team of lawyers at Cafcass Legal.

Full article: Family Law Week

Known Sperm Donor and Co-parenting Arrangements – a cautionary tale

Rose-Marie Drury, Senior Associate with Mills & Reeve LLP, considers the legal issues for parties involved in such arrangements.

Full article: Family Law Week

Divorce forum disputes: when dual nationality may not be a possibility

As there can be dramatic financial and other differences for an international family in proceedings in one country or another, jurisdiction is fundamentally important.

Full article: Family Law

Hair Strand Testing for Cocaine

Emily James and Kate Tompkins, barristers of 36 Family, consider a new judgment in which Sir Peter Jackson affirmed, and offered guidance on, current testing arrangements.

Full article: Family Law Week

When is a financial agreement between a separating couple binding?

In the case of Briers v Briers [2017] EWCA Civ 15, Mrs Briers (W) issued financial remedy proceedings 11 years after she separated from Mr Briers (H), and eight years after H alleged they had reached a concluded agreement settling their financial affairs.

Full article: Family Law

Divorce and children – is shared care a right or responsibility?

‘I know my rights’ – With that statement a family lawyer will naturally turn to s 2A of the Children Act 1989 and the presumption of parental involvement.

Full article: Family Law

Finance and Divorce Update October 2017

Naomi Shelton, Associate with Mills & Reeve LLP, analyses the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during September 2017.

Full article: Family Law Week

Revised Practice Direction 12J - Child Arrangements and Contact Orders: Domestic Abuse and Harm

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, has issued a revised Practice Direction 12J of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 which came into force on 2 October 2017.

Full article: Family Law

Evidence of sexual abuse in children proceedings (Pt 3)

Privilege and professional practice.

Full article: Family Law

Family: Undertakings and variations

While the Supreme Court’s decision in Birch v Birch [2017] UKSC 53 is ostensibly about the court’s power to vary undertakings, it provides useful broader guidance on the variation of family orders generally.

Full article: Law Society Gazette

Children: Private Law Update (September 2017)

Alex Verdan QC of 4 Paper Buildings reviews recent important judgments in private law children cases.

Full article: Family Law Week

Child abduction returns trumped by asylum claims

What happens when a parent, who has abducted a child to this country and would be ordered to return the child immediately under the 1980 Hague Convention, claims asylum for themself and the child?

Full article: Family Law

Lessons from Gard: time for independent assessors?

The case of Charlie Gard – the child who had severe brain damage and could not see or hear or breathe unaided because of a mitochondrial condition – calls for pause for procedural thought.

Full article: Family Law

Divorce and Family Trusts: Three lines of attack and how to shut them down

A spouse looking to make a claim over a family trust has three potential lines of attack.

Full article: Family Law

Public Law Clients with Learning Disabilities – Bridging the Gap

Gillian Geddes, barrister, of Hind Court considers the correct focus for public law arguments in support of parents with learning disabilities being allowed to care for their children.

Full article: Family Law Week

Evidence of sexual abuse in children proceedings (Pt 2)

Children’s evidence and ABE interviews.

Full article: Family Law

The landscape for child disputes post-Brexit

The Government has recently published its vision of the UK’s future partnership with the EU on providing a cross-border civil judicial cooperation framework. What does this tell us about how international children law disputes will be decided post-Brexit?

Full article: Family Law

Evidence of sexual abuse in children proceedings (Pt 1)

Rules of evidence in care proceedings.

Full article: Family Law

A Small Step Towards Equality: The Indian Supreme Court Triple Talaq Decision

Sulema Jahangir, Associate with Dawson Cornwell, applauds 'a small victory' on the road to a uniform civil code regulating the personal affairs of all religious groups.

Full article: Family Law Week

How much do you 'need' on divorce?

Nicola Hogg reviews the recent case of FF v KF [2017] EWHC 1093 (Fam), in which the High Court restated the principles to be adopted when assessing capital and income needs after a short marriage.

Full article: Family Law

The elusive concept of fairness in divorce

There is a well-known phrase in family law circles, namely that 'divorce is a lottery'.

Full article: Family Law

Response from The International Family Law Group LLP to proposed amendments to Pt 9 of the FPR 2010

This paper is the response of The International Family Law Group LLP to the Ministry of Justice’s proposed amendments to Pt 9 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010.

Full article: Family Law

Do police need court permission to interview a ward of court?

In Re a Ward of Court [2017] EWHC 1022 (Fam), Sir James Munby P considered whether the police needed court permission to interview a child who was a ward of court.

Full article: Family Law

Cross examination of victims of abuse in family cases

In D (Appeal: Failure of  Case Management) [2017] EWHC 1907 (Fam) the Court of Appeal recently considered the mother’s application for an appeal which raised issues about judicial case management and in particular the court’s approach to the cross examination of an alleged victim by an alleged abuser.

Full article: Family Law

Adultery and divorce – naming and shaming

This blog looks at adultery and the revised divorce petition from the Ministry of Justice which openly invites the petitioner to name the person with whom the respondent has committed adultery.

Full article: Family Law

Posthumous marriages and the importance of making a will

The recent posthumous marriage between Xavier Jugelé and Etienne Cardiles has caught the attention of many.

Full article: Family Law

Finance and Divorce Update September 2017

Sue Brookes, Senior Associate with Mills & Reeve LLP analyses the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during August 2017.

Full article: Family Law Week

Tick-box Legal Aid Agency response to funding authority request: not reason enough

Re J (A Child: Care Proceedings: Apportionment of Experts' fees) [2017] EWFC B49.

Full article: Family Law

Family companies under attack in divorce courts: Are you missing a trick?

What steps can ultra-high net worth individuals and their advisers lawfully and responsibly take to protect family companies? And how can family and corporate/commercial lawyers collaborate to protect wealth from day one?

Full article: Family Law

Can you change a court order made on divorce?

The Supreme Court decision in Birch v Birch.

Full article: Family Law

FDAC parent mentors – a unique approach to supporting parents

This eighth blog from the FDAC National Unit is about the distinctive role of FDAC parent mentors. We explain the parent mentoring service and reflect on the importance of growing this initiative across all FDAC sites.

Full article: Family Law

How parental substance misuse affects children: key points from research

The potential for parenting capacity to be undermined and children's health and development harmed is considerable.

Full article: Community Care

Assisting victims of domestic abuse living in the UK on a spousal visa

We will regularly come across cases where a spouse, typically the wife, is subject to a spousal visa, ie their immigration status in the UK is entirely dependent upon their spouse’s right to remain in the UK or citizenship.

Full article: Family Law

Talk about a revolution: the internet and children proceedings

Jennifer Kotilaine, barrister of 3PB, reflects on the various ways in which the application of children law has adapted to the internet and social media and on the further adaptations that may lie ahead.

Full article: Family Law Week

The Case of X: A Wake Up Call

Michael Jones, barrister, Deans Court Chambers, Manchester, considers the lessons to be learned from the case of X which attracted considerable attention in the mainstream media.

Full article: Family Law Week

But we are married? Aren’t we?

‘With this ring I thee wed…’, but did you? ‘I want a divorce’, but are you legally married?

Full article: Family Law

Best Interests and Transfers of Proceedings under Article 15 Brussels II Revised in a Public Law Context – Where are we now?

Maria Wright, PhD Student at the University of Bristol and Solicitor, addresses how courts must now approach Article 15 transfers of public law proceedings in the light of CJEU and Supreme Court judgments.

Full article: Family Law Week

Is this 'unreasonable' enough? Can I now have my 'divorce' please?

21st Century mayhem. The case of Owens v Owens [2017] EWCA Civ 182 has sent ripples of shock waves; created uncertainty and has led to clients insisting on making their petitions for divorce or dissolution more ‘acrimonious’.

Full article: Family Law

Children: Public Law Update (August 2017)

John Tughan QC of 4 Paper Buildings reviews a range of recent important public law cases.

Full article: Family Law Week

Going on holiday? Don’t forget the children...

If you are proposing to travel on holiday with a child, do you have permission to do so from either the other parent or other person with parental responsibility, the court or if you are not the parent, the child’s parents to do so?

Full article: Family Law

Finance and Divorce Update, August 2017

Naomi Shelton, Associate with Mills & Reeve LLP, analyses the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during July 2017.

Full article: Family Law Week

Binding agreements in TOLATA claims

Alexander Chandler, barrister, 1 King’s Bench Walk, considers the law and practice of agreements to settle TOLATA claims.

Full article: Family Law Week

Birch v Birch: an overview

In Birch v Birch [2017] UKSC 53, the appellant has successfully appealed to the Supreme Court and her case is to be remitted for hearing in relation to an undertaking which she gave pursuant to a consent order dated 26 July 2010.

Full article: Family Law

How the surviving spouse is treated in our legal system

How our legal system treats a widow or widower on the death of their loved one, and whether they are fairly treated by the law at such a difficult time.

Full article: Family Law

A quick-fire users’ guide to the new divorce petitions

As reported by iFLG on 19 July 2017 the Family Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2017 were announced on 17 July 2017 with a number of rule changes to come into force on 7 August 2017.

Full article: Family Law

Our House, in the middle of … Ambridge: Rogers v Burns

The issues that arise when cohabitees purchase property jointly.

Full article: Family Law

Imminent Changes to Divorce/Dissolution Petitions and to the Family Procedure Rules

On the evening of 17 July 2017 the profession was notified of the Family Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2017 which will come into force on 7 August 2017, less than three weeks ahead, with some transitional provisions until 4 September 2017.

Full article: Family Law

Singapore Sling

Wong Kai Yun from Singapore and Sarah Lucy Cooper from England and Wales mull over differences between divorce proceedings in Singapore and England.

Full article: Family Law Week

President of the Family Division gives guidance on sperm donation parentage cases

Sir James Munby, the President of the High Court Family Division, has given important new guidance on how the family court should deal with cases concerning legal parenthood after sperm donation.

Full article: Family Law

The division of assets in short marriages

The dust has perhaps settled on the recent Court of Appeal case of Sharp v  Sharp [2017] EWCA Civ 408  and provided us with the opportunity to reflect on the impact of the decision on those separating after a short marriage.

Full article: Family Law

Allowing alleged abusers to cross examine their victims is a stain on the reputation of the family justice system

Re A (A  Minor (Fact Finding: Unrepresented Party) [2017] EWHC 1195 (Fam).

Full article: Family Law

The Plight of the Unmarried

Keynote speech for ‘At a Glance’ conference 2017 by Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court.

Full speech: Supreme Court (PDF)

Difficulties faced by Jewish and Muslim women when seeking a religious divorce

No less an imposing a setting than Court 1 of the Supreme Court was the venue for Anthony Gold’s Faith Seminar on 29 June 2017. The aim was to examine the potential hardships facing Jewish and Muslim women going through a religious divorce.

Full article: Family Law

Finance and Divorce Update, July 2017

Sue Brookes, Senior Associate with Mills & Reeve LLP analyses the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during June 2017.

Full article: Family Law Week

The New Cafcass Guidance on the Use of Professional Time

Gabrielle Jan Posner, Barrister and Recorder, Trinity Chambers Chelmsford, considers Cafcass’s response to the record levels of demand for its services.

Full article: Family Law Week

Sham Trusts and the Grand National

Mark Warwick QC of Selborne Chambers explains the hurdles that need to be cleared in order to establish that a trust is a sham in the light of the judgment in ND v SD and Others (2017) EWHC 1507 (Fam).

Full article: Family Law Week

Drawing the Line: case management and allegations of judicial bias in the family courts

Jennifer Youngs and Vondez Phipps, pupil barristers at 42 Bedford Row, summarise the circumstances in which judicial conduct at a case management hearing might form the basis of an application for recusal, and provide guidance to practitioners as to the manner in which such an application might be made.

Full article: Family Law Week

Brexit and divorce – what next for families?

The triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union on 29 March 2017 began the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and this week the negotiations commence.

Full article: Family Law

Surrogacy Law / HFEA Update (June 2017)

Andrew Powell, barrister of 4 Paper Buildings, considers recent surrogacy judgments and the latest cases concerning administrative errors relating to consent forms and the HFEA.

Full article: Family Law Week

Post-separation accrual

As Nicholas Cusworth QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, stated in JB v MB [2015] EWHC 1846 (Fam), where addressing post-separation accrual, he was dealing with a ‘lawless science’ and therefore the outcome he reached ‘may be arbitrary to a degree’.

Full article: Law Society Gazette

When can a legal representative be summoned as a witness to give evidence against their client in a financial remedies case?

Byron James, barrister, Expatriate Law (based in the United Arab Emirates) considers the circumstances in which legal professional privilege may not apply in financial remedies cases.

Full article: Family Law Week

Court makes best interests ruling on man’s adherence to Islamic practices

Legal experts from Irwin Mitchell consider the implications of a recent Court of Protection case.

Full article: Community Care

Finance and Divorce Update, June 2017

Claire Molyneux of Mills & Reeve LLP analyses the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during May 2017.

Full article: Family Law Week

FHDRAs: what should and shouldn’t happen

Marie Crawford, barrister of Becket Chambers, considers the orders a court might make at first hearing and dispute resolution appointment.

Full article: Family Law Week

Ditch the ‘soulless initials’ and give children a voice

Judges hold the key to unlocking the potential of children in the family justice system, writes Matthew Rogers.

Full article: Solicitors Journal

What counts as success in FDAC cases?

This sixth blog from the Family Drug and Alcohol Court National Unit is from one of the newer FDAC sites. It describes the work of the team and some of the ways in which they measure their success in meeting the needs of children and families.

Full article: Family Law

When breaking up is hard to do: the case for divorce law reform

George Bernard Shaw is reputed to have said ‘Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can’t sleep with the window open and a woman who can’t sleep with the window shut’. For some spouses, such issues are part and parcel of a normal marriage but for those who have been married a long time, there can be any number of reasons why a husband or wife may decide that they no longer wish to be together.

Full article: Family Law

Innovative new international family law arbitration scheme announced

Today (2 June 2017) at the AFCC Annual Conference in Boston, USA, Prof. Patrick Parkinson and David Hodson, two of the world’s leading international family lawyers, have announced an innovative new scheme to help international families.

Full story: Family Law

Context counts for a lot – determining the beneficial ownership of properties in unmarried couple disputes

The Privy Council's judgment on 25 May 2017 in Marr v Collie (Bahamas) [2017] UKPC 17 stresses the importance of a proper examination of the actual intentions of the parties when determining the beneficial ownership of investment properties in the joint legal ownership of an unmarried couple.

Full article: Family Law

Changing the locks on the family home following separation

Can I lock my spouse out of the house? This is a common question often raised by clients in the initial stages of separation. It is important for clients to understand what they can and can’t do before they decide to take steps that they may later regret.

Full article: Family Law

Parental Disputes, Religious Differences and the Welfare of the Children

Alex Verdan QC, Sam King and Ruth Kirby, all of 4 Paper Buildings, consider recent judgments in cases involving parental disputes resulting from one parent deciding to depart life in an Hassidic community.

Full article: Family Law Week

What do children lawyers need to know about the Court of Protection?

The article highlights the issues arising when a local authority in care proceedings seeks to deprive a child of liberty in a manner falling short of secure accommodation, and offers a road map to aid understanding of this complex area.

Full article: St John's Chambers

Could the UK’s largest divorce award have been bigger?

The case last week of AAZ v BBZ, C Ltd & P Ltd represents the largest award ever made by the divorce court (although it has approved larger settlements reached through agreement).

Full article: Family Law

Children caught in the middle: parental alienation and implacably hostile parents

The use of the term 'implacably hostile' when describing a parent is not a recent development in the family courts.

Full article: Family Law

Chai v Khoo

On 6 April 2017, Bodey J handed down judgment in the financial proceedings in the case of Chai v Khoo, over 4 years since the wife, Ms Chai, filed her divorce petition in the English courts, seeking to bring the parties’ 43-year marriage to an end.

Full article: Family Law

17th View from the President’s Chambers: Divorce and money – where are we and where are we going?

Why is it that what is referred to in some places as ancillary relief is still, as the name indicates, part of the divorce process?

Full article: Family Law

Interviewing children in the care of the State: new guidance for police and security services.

On 4 May 2017, Sir James Munby handed down a little reported judgment where he raised concern that current law and practice on the interaction between police and security agencies and wards of court lacked clarity.

Full article; Doughty Street Chambers

Finance and Divorce Update, May 2017

Frances Bailey, Principal Associate and Naomi Shelton, Associate, both of Mills & Reeve LLP, analyse the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during April 2017.

Full article: Family Law Week

The New Divorce by Mutual Consent in France: Recognition and Risks of Post-Divorce Litigation in Common-Law Countries: The Examples of England and the United States

Delphine Eskenazi, admitted to the Paris and New York bars, LIBRA Avocats, Carmel Brown, Solicitor in England, Irwin Mitchell and Jeremy D. Morley, admitted to the New York bar, Law Firm of Jeremy D. Morley consider the new divorce by Mutual Consent in France and its wider implications for other countries.

Full article: Family Law Week

London reaches across Europe to embrace Istanbul and work together to combat domestic violence

On 27 April 2017, the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill, which takes the first step towards incorporating the Istanbul Convention into domestic law, was given Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament.

Full article: Family Law

Everything you always wanted to know about TOLATA*

*but didn’t ask because… if you were that interested in Chancery work you wouldn’t have become a family lawyer.

Full article: Family Law

What’s in a name? The press and family law proceedings

The prospect of publicity and press coverage is often a major factor in divorce cases.

Full article: Family Law

Non-lawyer review hearings – at the heart of a successful FDAC

This fifth blog from the Family Drug and Alcohol Court National Unit is about the non-lawyer review hearings that are a distinctive feature of the FDAC problem-solving approach to care proceedings. We explain their role, summarise the growing evidence about their value, and offer reflections about practice from two well-established FDAC courts.

Full article: Family Law

Momentum for change in family mediation

A combination of mediation with legal advice would be an attractive offering for many clients, writes Karen Barham.

Full article: Solicitors Journal

Should I proceed in Dubai or UK for divorce?

Byron James barrister, Expatriate Law (United Arab Emirates) considers the interaction between UK family law and divorce proceedings in Dubai.

Full article: Family Law Week

Special guardianship orders: are they being used safely?

Recent serious case reviews have highlighted a perhaps unforeseen danger in the huge rise of special guardianship orders, prompting experts to question how safe they are.

Full article: Community Care

'Grandparents, we love you'

There are no emotional winners in a divorce or separation. What separating parents must also remember is that, through no fault of their own, the children and other members of their family may be hurting.

Full article: Family Law

Finance and Divorce Update April 2017

Sue Brookes, Senior Associate with Mills & Reeve LLP analyses the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during March 2017.

Full article: Family Law Week

AI and tech hold the key to reforming divorce costs

Lawyer-led process faces increasing competition from innovators.

Full article: Solicitors Journal

Sauce for the goose: the origin of legal clichés

This article is not intended as a pious sermon against clichés ... It is a consideration of five of the more unusual sayings that have become commonplace, to the extent that they are frequently cited in court as though they have quasi-legal authority.

Full article: Family Law

All fair in love and war? Owens v Owens [2017] EWCA Civ 182

They say that all is fair in love and war, but it might not seem that way for Mrs Owens who, following a recent Court of Appeal decision, is deemed to remain in a loveless marriage having been unable to persuade the Court that her husband's behaviour was such that she cannot reasonably be expected to live with him.

Full article: Family Law

The Great EU Repeal Bill White Paper and family law

David Hodson responds to the government White Paper in respect of legislating for the UK withdrawal from the EU.

Full article: Family Law

Disguised Compliance – Or Undisguised Nonsense?

Paul Hart, barrister of 15 Winckley Square, discusses a term (and its appropriateness) which has become ubiquitous in social work statements in recent years.

Full article: Family Law Week

Picking the ‘right’ cases for FDAC – is it possible?

When evidence of promising outcomes for families began to emerge from the evaluation of FDAC this prompted a further question about whether it was possible to predict which families were going to be successful in FDAC and, linked to this, which were the ‘right’ cases to select for FDAC.

Full article: Family Law

Independent Reviewing Officers – myths and misunderstandings continue

Professor Jonathan Dickens, University of East Anglia, Norwich, considers some of the strengths and limitations of the IRO service, drawing on recent debates and the findings of a research study conducted between 2012-14.

Full article: Family Law Week

Domestic Child Abduction – Legal Responses

Edward Devereux QC, Dr Rob George and Edward Bennett of Harcourt Chambers consider the legal options for the left behind parent where his or her child has been taken by the other parent to another part of England and Wales.

Full article: Family Law Week

Privacy and financial remedy proceedings

Ryan Giggs, in his divorce from Stacey Giggs, is the latest high-profile individual to seek press reporting restrictions in respect of financial remedy proceedings in the family court.

Full article: Law Society Gazette

“Behaviour” Petitions on Divorce and Intellectual dishonesty : have you played a good enough game of charades?

Matthew Richardson, barrister, Coram Chambers considers the current state of the law in relation to divorce petitions based on “behaviour” and offers an alternative, approach which he argues is more compatible with 21st century life and rights.

Full article: Family Law Week

The Hague 1970 Divorce Recognition Convention: filling an EU divorce gap?

David Hodson examines this little-known Hague Convention on the international recognition of divorces and legal separations. Might it be the answer to the recommendation by the House of Commons Justice Committee for a system for mutual recognition and enforcement of family court orders?

Full article: Family Law

Children’s Cases where Domestic Abuse is an Issue: Proposed Practice Direction 12J analysed

Marie Crawford, barrister, Becket Chambers, examines the proposed revisions to Practice Direction 12J.

Full article: Family Law Week

Testamentary freedom – Ilott v The Blue Cross and others

Judgment finally lays to rest this extraordinarily long-running litigation saga.

Full article: Law Society Gazette

Rediscovering the Fault-Lines: the impact of Owens v Owens

Ben Fearnley from 29 Bedford Row reviews the recent case of Owens v Owens and what it says about the state of divorce law.

Full article: Family Law Hub

Drafting dilemmas following Owens v Owens

Mena Ruparel takes us through how unreasonable behaviour petitions should be drafted following the recent ruling in Owens v Owens.

Full article: Family Law Hub

Children: Public Law Update (March 2017)

John Tughan QC of 4 Paper Buildings focuses on recent decisions relating to claims for damages (and other relief) under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Full article: Family Law Week

Commentary on the House of Commons Justice Committee Report on implications of Brexit for the justice system

David Hodson analyses and comments upon the Parliamentary reports published this past week on the implications of Brexit for the justice system.

Full article: Family Law

How not to get married' (or what happens when you do not know if you are married / divorced / remarried): K v K [2016] EWHC 3380 (Fam)

Nullity when there is a voidable marriage abroad.

Full article: Family Law

No inherent jurisdiction for local authority to fund wardship proceedings: HB v A Local Authority [2017] EWHC 524 (Fam)

HB v A Local Authority and  Another (Wardship: Costs Funding Order) [2017] EWHC 524 (Fam), MacDonald J operates on three important levels.

Full article: Family Law

Ilott - Upholding Testamentary Freedom

Mark Jones, barrister, Three Dr Johnson’s Buildings, examines the judgment in the first Inheritance Act appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court and its implications for future claims.

Full article: Family Law Week

Best interests, available options, and case management before the Court of Protection – the Supreme Court pronounces

In N v ACCG [2017] UKSC 22, the Supreme Court has now pronounced definitively upon what the Court of Protection should do where is a dispute between the providers or funders of health or social services for a person lacking the capacity to make the decision for himself as to what services should be provided to him either between the person’s family or, by analogy, by those acting on behalf of the person.

Full article: Family Law

Maintenance, Needs and Fairness

Amy Scollan, Associate, Hunters Solicitors considers the issue of “fairness” in relation to maintenance and variations of maintenance.

Full article: Family Law Week

Changes over the centuries in the financial consequences of divorce

Address to the University of Bristol Law Club by Lord Wilson, 20 March 2017.

Full speech: Supreme Court (PDF)

The stellar contribution claim

Is the ‘stellar contribution’ argument fair and just, asks Julian Hawkhead.

Full article: Solicitors Journal

Blessed are the dependants, for they shall inherit the earth (possibly): Ilott v The Blue Cross and Others [2017] UKSC 17

How easy is it to ensure that the decisions set out in your will as to the destination of your worldly goods are respected and implemented?

Full article: Family Law

Parental Alienation – learning from other jurisdictions and other disciplines

Joanna Abrahams, Head of Family Law, Setfords, considers possible ways to overcome problems of parental alienation.

Full article: Family Law Week

Rules of evidence and procedure after Norman

Though Mrs Norman will not thank anyone for saying this, her two unsuccessful recent applications in the Court of Appeal – Norman v Norman [2017] EWCA Civ 49 (Fam) (‘Norman 1’), Norman v Norman [2017] EWCA Civ 120 (Fam) (‘Norman  2’) – have clarified a modest number of areas of family procedural and evidential law.

Full article: Family Law

The importance of business valuations on divorce

As businesses differ, it is important to ascertain their value with care to ensure a fair division of the family wealth, advises Rakesh Kapila.

Full article: Solicitors Journal

Finance and Divorce Update March 2017

Frances Bailey, Principal Associate and Naomi Shelton, Associate with Mills & Reeve LLP analyse the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during February 2017.

Full article: Family Law Week

Refining the power to disinherit: Ilott v The Blue Cross and others [2017] UKSC 17

Max Lewis of 29 Bedford Row summarises the main points of the Supreme Court's judgment.

Full article: Family Law Hub

Civil Partnerships and Marriage: Labels or a state of mind?

David Bedingfield, barrister, 4 Paper Buildings, traces the development of the law relating to marriage and civil partnership up to and including the Court of Appeal’s recent judgment in Steinfeld & Keidan.

Full article: Family Law Week

What the Spring 2017 Budget means for family lawyers

Despite the low key build up to last Wednesday's budget (8 March 2017) amid the political turbulence of Trump and Brexit, there was still plenty for family lawyers to consider as Mr Hammond made his speech.

Full article: Family Law

Mrs Norman and family proceedings law

Though Mrs Norman will not thank anyone for saying this, her two unsuccessful recent applications in the Court of Appeal – Norman v Norman [2017] EWCA Civ 49 (‘Norman 1’) Norman v Norman [2017] EWCA Civ 120 (‘Norman 2’) – have clarified a modest number of areas of family procedural and evidential law.

Full article: Family Law

LiPs: a perfect storm in the divorce courts?

Iqbal v Iqbal provides a salutary example of the consequences that can occur in the absence of legal representation, as Shlomit Glaser & Tim Jones report.

Full article: New Law Journal

How the government’s new child maintenance service leaves domestic abuse survivors out in the cold

For parents who cannot reach a ‘family-based’ child maintenance arrangement, the statutory service is the other option. The government has introduced a fee waiver for survivors of domestic abuse who apply to use this service. But although the reform is welcomed, the way it works still leaves many trapped between a dangerous dilemma: get financial support at the risk of abuse, or avoid abuse and risk financial hardship. Sumi Rabindrakumar and Janet Allbeson explain what the flaws are and how they can be solved.

Full article: LSE

Government has quietly published reports on the impact of child maintenance reforms. Here’s what you need to know

With the public focus on Brexit, developments in other policy areas are going under the radar. But there might be another reason why enough publicity has not been given to DWP research on child maintenance reforms – the unfavourable evidence it reveals. Janet Allbeson explains the findings of two quantitative surveys.

Full article: LSE

Family Law Week’s Budget Briefing: March 2017

Suzanne Cobourne of Creaseys Chartered Accountants and tax advisers explains the Budget changes of most relevance to family lawyers.

Full article: Family Law Week

Female Genital Mutilation: Law and Practice

The below is an extract from Zimran Samuel's forthcoming book, Female Genital Mutilation: Law and Practice, due to be published in late March 2017.

Full article: Family Law

Divorce Jurisdiction after Brexit

An EU law working group, comprising 15 international family law experts, considers the basis on which couples should be able to engage the jurisdiction of the UK courts in order to divorce, following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Full article: Family Law Week

Trusts arising with respect to a passive joint owner: Wodzicki v Wodzicki [2017] EWCA Civ 95

In Wodzicki v Wodzicki [2017] EWCA Civ 95 the trial judge held that the claimant held the legal title of a property on trust with the respondent having a life interest with any other interest to be determined after an accounting process.

Full article: Family Law

Online reform: digital divorce workshop

At the beginning of this month I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Ministry of Justice for a workshop explaining more about the online divorce project from the Court Service.

Full article: Family Law

Reforms to cross-examination by alleged abusers in the Prisons and Courts Bill

Mark Roscoe, barrister of The 36 Group, outlines the provisions which the Government proposes to insert into section 31 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.

Full article: Family Law Week

You can’t take it with you – or leave it behind: Roberts and Milbour v Fresco [2017] EWHC 283 (Ch)

The personal non-inheritable nature of a spouse’s (and by extension any other category of applicant’s) claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 has recently been confirmed in Roberts and Milbour v Fresco [2017] EWHC 283 (Ch).

Full article: Family Law

The Eureka Moment of English Creativity from EU Law: English pension sharing after a foreign financial settlement

David Hodson OBE, partner with The International Family Law Group, shares the Eureka moment when English common law creativity and obscure EU legislation enabled the making of an English pension sharing order in respect of an English pension after a financial settlement on divorce abroad but when there was no longer any ongoing connection with England – apart from the pension.

Full article: Family Law Week

Behind Closed Doors: Diluting the Guardian’s Independence, Circumventing the Role of the Court

Response of the Association of Lawyers for Children to the Cafcass/ADCS joint document: “Agreement about how local authorities and Cafcass can work effectively in a set of care proceedings and pre-court proceedings in the English Family Courts”.

Full article: Family Law Week

Sharia divorce claim rejected: B v L [2016] EWFC 67

This case before Mr Justice Francis concerned an Islamic marriage performed in Pakistan in which the husband contended that the divorce for the same could only be heard in Pakistan.

Full article: Family Law

Children: Private Law Update (February 2017)

Alex Verdan QC of 4 Paper Buildings reviews recent important judgments in private law children cases.

Full article: Family Law Week

Family law continues to lag behind social change

On 21 February 2017, the Court of Appeal comprising of Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice Beatson and Lord Justice Briggs, rejected an appeal brought by Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan.

Full article: Family Law

Why 'no fault divorce' could help join the dots between divorce law and tax law

"Until we have no fault divorce there are tax traps which cause more unhappiness and expense, when times are already hard." Says Hazel Wright.

Full article: Family Law

HRA Claims and Concurrent Care Proceedings: Third Party Costs Orders, Statutory Charge Guidance and an Invitation to the Lord Chancellor

Ben Mansfield, barrister of The 36 Group, examines the judgment of Mr Justice Keehan in H (A Minor) v Northamptonshire County Council and the Legal Aid Agency [2017] EWHC 282 (Fam).

Full article: Family Law Week

Surrogacy Law /HFEA Update (February 2017)

Andrew Powell, barrister of 4 Paper Buildings, considers recent surrogacy cases in this jurisdiction, developments in the European Court of Human Rights, calls for law reform and recent judgments concerning administrative errors by fertility clinics.

Full article: Family Law Week

Family Court proceedings: gender reassignment and ultra-orthodox Judaism

Claire McCann, an expert on trans equality, analyses the competing arguments in the Family Court’s recent assessment of the children’s “best interests” in the unusual context of a transgender parent and the Charedi Jewish community in North Manchester.

Full article: Cloisters

How to prevent a Decree being made Absolute

Byron James, barrister, Fourteen and Expatriate Law (Dubai) reviews the law, practice and procedure relating to the prevention of a decree made absolute in divorce proceedings.

Full article: Family Law Week

Children have no right to speak to family judges

Despite promising to give children a greater voice in the Family Court the government still seems to be doing little on this front.

Full article: Family Law

How is the PLO working? What is its impact on court process and outcome?

The Outcomes of Care Proceedings for Children Before and After Care Proceedings Reform Study Interim Report.

Full article: Family Law Week

FDAC – a trauma-informed service

This is the third in a series of blogs about FDAC and the work of the FDAC specialist teams. In this blog we want to talk about trauma and the impact it has on many, if not all, of the parents who come into FDAC.

Full article: Family Law

Adopting Scottish Children in England

Lorraine Cavanagh, barrister of St Johns Buildings, explains the implications of a recent important judgment of the President concerning the English courts’ recognition of permanence orders of Scottish children.

Full article: Family Law Week

Finance and Divorce Update, February 2017

Sue Brookes, and Rose-Marie Drury, both Senior Associates with Mills & Reeve LLP analyse the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during January 2017.

Full article: Family Law Week

Supreme Court judgment gives further recognition to rights of cohabiting partners

The ever-developing law for cohabiting partners took another step forward after a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court allowed an unmarried woman’s appeal to receive a survivor’s pension from her deceased partner’s public sector pension scheme.

Full article: Family Law

Domestic Violence and the Impact on Contact Re-examined

Cris McCurley, Partner in Ben Hoare Bell LLP and advisory board member of Rights of Women and Women’s Aid, considers recent developments concerning contact where there has been evidence of domestic violence, and the events which have led to them.

Full article: Family Law Week

The Electronic Divorce Filing Pilot: An opportunity missed or a new horizon opening up?

Stuart Clark, Associate, and David Hodson, Partner, both of International Family Law Group LLP, describe what is known, and ask some questions, of the MoJ’s latest initiative to facilitate an online divorce system.

Full article: Family Law Week

Fairness, needs and stockpiling: AB v FC [2016] EWHC 3285 (Fam)

At a final hearing, the court considered the appropriate needs for the wife of a professional footballer in circumstances where there was limited capital, the marriage had been short and there was no marital acquest.

Full article: Family Law

DB v PB: a reminder of potential effect of maintenance agreements

Michael Allum, Solicitor with The International Family Law Group LLP considers the implications of maintenance agreements in financial remedies cases.

Full article: Family Law Week

Do litigants in person have an unfair advantage?

It has been very clear for some time that the number of litigants in person (LIPs) appearing before the civil and family courts without legal representation has increased significantly.

Full article: Family Law

Third party disclosure: public interest immunity and closed material procedures

Re C and the necessity for non-party disclosure.

Full article: Family Law

International Children Law Update: February 2017

Jacqueline Renton, barrister of 4 Paper Buildings, reviews the latest key decisions in international children law.

Full article: Family Law Week

3-person IVF approved by HFEA – what does this mean?

On 15 December 2016, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) approved the use of a new medical technique, known as mitochondrial donation, at UK fertility clinics.

Full article: Family Law

Unfair marital agreements, chaos of EU law and unusual routes to fairness: DB v PB [2016] EWHC 3431 (Fam)

An  English High Court decision, reported late last week, has highlighted several  real jurisdictional obstacles to producing a straightforward and obvious fair  outcome.  The judge had to overcome the  'technical' obstacles presented by the EU Maintenance Regulation.

Full article: Family Law

Costs: Reassessing the Starting Point

Mark Ablett, pupil barrister, 1 Garden Court Family Law Chambers considers the perennial problem of high levels of costs in financial remedies cases and proposes a new approach to help mitigate the problem.

Full article: Family Law Week

A useful reminder that the decision of the court is not necessarily the objective truth: Adepoju v Akinola [2016] EWHC 3160 (Ch)

At its heart Adepoju v Akinola [2016] EWHC 3160 (Ch) was a simple probate case. However, the judgment also provides a useful reminder to litigants as to how the court decides a case.

Full article: Family Law

Deprivation of liberty in intensive care – the Court of Appeal decides

The Court of Appeal has this morning (26 January) handed down judgment in R (Ferreira) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner South London & Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 31.

Full article: Family Law

Prest, Iqbal and the judgment summons procedure

Procedure and proof in judgment summons and committal proceedings.

Full article: Family Law

The deprivation of a child’s liberty

The making of a secure accommodation order lies at the extreme end of the court’s powers. However, they are not uncommon.

Full article: Family Law

Sharing v needs: X v X (Application for a Financial Remedies Order) [2016] EWHC 1995 (Fam)

X v X illustrates the way in which high value cases can be approached and also the way in which competing arguments over the approach the court should take might be resolved.

Full article: Family Law

The FDAC trial for change – combining expert assessment and intervention during proceedings

Here we are going to describe one of the key differences between FDAC and ordinary care proceedings – the process of assessment and intervention that takes place within the court process.

Full article: Family Law

PSL Essential Update – View from the President’s Chambers and Review of Practice Direction 12J FPR 2010

The President of the Family Division has produced his 16th View from the President’s Chambers entitled ‘Children and vulnerable witnesses – where are we?’,  released in conjunction with a report from The Honourable Mr Justice Cobb reviewing and proposing a draft revised Practice Direction 12J FPR 2010 – Child Arrangement and Contact Orders: Domestic Violence and Harm.

Full article: Family Law

16th View from the President's Chambers: Children and vulnerable witnesses: where are we?

The related issues of how the family justice system accommodates the needs of children attending court to give evidence or to visit the judge, and the needs of vulnerable witnesses and parties, are amongst the most pressing we need to address. It is time for an update.

Full article: Family Law

The Law Commission Report: Enforcement of Family Financial Orders – Enforcement or Variation?

Joseph Rainer, barrister, Queen Elizabeth Building, analyses the implications of the Law Commission’s report Enforcement of Family Financial Orders.

Full article: Family Law Week

Further Practice Guidance from the President on Non-Molestation Orders

Following discussions with the Association of District Judges, the editors of the Red Book and others, the President of the Family Division has revised his Guidance, which was originally issued in 2014.

Full article: Family Law

Finance and Divorce Update, January 2017

Claire Molyneux, Senior Associate and Naomi Shelton, Associate, both of Mills & Reeve LLP, analyse the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during December 2016.

Full article: Family Law Week

Child Contact Interventions: An Underused Resource

Gabrielle Jan Posner, barrister of Trinity Chambers, Chelmsford, argues for the greater use of child contact interventions in appropriate circumstances.

Full article: Family Law Week

Non-matrimonial property and sharing: Scatliffe v Scatliffe [2016] UKPC 36

The Board dismissed a husband’s appeal from the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (British Virgin Islands) but used the ‘ill-starred appeal’ to give guidance to the local courts on the treatment of non-matrimonial property in applications for ancillary relief.

Full article: Family Law

Family: sharing foreign pensions on divorce

How will a significant change from established practice affect the court’s power to rule on foreign pensions?

Full article: Law Society Gazette

Lord Sumption and the Limits of the Law: Is the Human Rights Project Undemocratic and Elitist?

David Bedingfield, barrister of 4 Paper Buildings, considers the arguments in a debate of vital importance to family lawyers.

Full article: Family Law Week

Family proceedings: common law and vulnerable witnesses

Evidence of vulnerable witnesses in family proceedings: progress so far?

Full article: Family Law