The courts’ jurisdiction to vary capital orders

Clare Williams examines the limited scope for the variation of capital orders, and diverging judicial views on the jurisdiction of the court to make an interim order for sale, in the case of SR v HR where an added complication was the bankruptcy of the husband.

Full article: Family Law

New Resolution Chair addresses National Conference

Earlier today (20 April), Margaret Heathcote became National Chair of Resolution. Here is her inaugural address to the 30th National Conference, taking place in Bristol on 20-21 April.

Full article: Resolution

Getting the Most Out of Independent Reviewing Officers in Care Proceedings

Gabrielle Jan Posner, Barrister and Recorder, Trinity Chambers Chelmsford, argues for a more involved role for IROs in care proceedings.

Full article: Family Law Week

Finance and Divorce Update, April 2018

Claire Molyneux Senior Associate, and Naomi Shelton, Associate, Mills & Reeve LLP analyse the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during March 2018.

Full article: Family Law Week

Appeals and clarification of a judge’s reasons: Re P (A Child)

Clarification of a court judgment.

Full article: Family Law

Shared care arrangements in relocation cases

Richard Jones, barrister at 1 Garden Court Chambers, discusses the practical implications of the judgment in JAL v LSW, which concerns how the courts should approach relocation cases where care of the child has been shared.

Full article: Family Law

Forced Marriage: protective measures for children and young people in the family courts and the court of protection – part 2

In the second of two articles concerning the development of the law in relation to forced marriage and the protective remedies available for children and young people, Judith Pepper, barrister of Four Brick Court, examines the remedies available for adults.

Full article: Family Law Week

Forced Marriage: protective measures for children and young people in the family courts and the court of protection – part 1

Judith Pepper, barrister of 4 Brick Court, examines in the first of two articles the development of the law in relation to forced marriage and the protective remedies available for children and young people, focusing on the protective measures available by utilising the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

Full article: Family Law Week

Leave to remove post-Brexit: appealing an appeal

In the recent case of L v F the Court of Appeal reinstated a first instance judgment that refused to grant a mother permission to relocate to Italy with the parties’ child. The case offers a reminder of the approach that the court must take when deciding whether or not to grant an appeal.

Full article: Family Law

Al and technology in family law

Could family law benefit from artificial intelligence (Al)? It has already proved its worth in huge-scale disclosure, but could it, say, draft a pre-nup?

Full article: Family Law

Australia ends requirement to file exhibits at the family court: should England and Wales follow suit?

A recent change in the rules of the family court in Australia ends the requirement for exhibits both generally and specifically to be filed at the court. Should England and Wales be following suit?

Full article: Family Law

Lower Tier Members of the Hague Club?

Elisabeth Andrews, Pupil Barrister at 4 Paper Buildings, considers the difficulties faced by countries aiming to become new members of the Hague Convention 1980 and what influence Pakistan’s accession may have in terms of encouraging other South Asian and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Full article: Family Law Week

Statutory child maintenance variation applications and capital assets

Liz Cowell, partner at McAlister Family Law, examines the implications of P v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and another for cases concerning the diversion of assets and deemed income.

Full article: Family Law

Removing a party to proceedings: A Local Authority v F and others

Following A Local Authority v F and others Gemma Taylor QC, of 42 Bedford Row Chambers, explains the circumstances under which a local authority can be absolved of its duties to consult with a parent and provide information.

Full article: Family Law

Re V: how will the challenge to the spirit of the maintenance regulation fare in the Court of Appeal?

The case of Re V (European Maintenance Regulation), due to be heard in the Court of Appeal, presents a novel opportunity for the court to interpret Art 13 of the maintenance regulation in accordance with the regulation’s objectives.

Full article: Family Law

Hart v Hart: what led the court to order the ultimate sanction?

Anyone reading that John Hart, an 83-year-old man with prostate cancer, had been sent to prison by a High Court judge might naturally raise an eye-brow in surprise.

Full article: Family Law

Bloom v Bloom: The risks of failing to provide full and frank disclosure in financial remedy proceedings

Bloom v Bloom concerned the applicant wife’s application that judgments in the financial remedy proceedings, where the respondent husband had been found to have defrauded her parents, should be published un-anonymised.

Full article: Family Law

Villiers v Villiers: An Update

Michal Horton and Alex Laing, both of Coram Chambers, report on the latest developments in a case that has attracted widespread attention in the press.

Full article: Family Law Week

International child abduction proceedings: key points to note from the latest President's guidance

On 13 March 2018, a new practice direction was issued by the President concerning Case Management and Mediation of International Child Abduction Proceedings.

Full article: Family Law

Speech by Sir James Munby: Changing families – family law yesterday, today and tomorrow – a view from south of the Border

In the year when we are commemorating the centenary of the extension of the franchise to women – though only to some women – it is perhaps useful to start what I have to say by looking at the state of English family law a 100 years ago.

Full speech: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Speech by Lord Justice McFarlane: Contact: a point of view

In opening today’s conference, which is focused upon the topic of ‘contact’, I have been invited to express a point of view and I wish to do so by highlighting three separate topics: adoption, contact in adoption and intractable private law disputes.

Full speech: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Cohabitation conundrum: extending civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples

Last month, the issue of extending rights for unmarried opposite-sex couples was debated enthusiastically in the House of Commons, as the Civil Partnerships, Marriages & Deaths (Registration Etc) Bill moved unopposed to the next stage of its passage through Parliament.

Full article: Family Law

Decrees in multiple EU jurisdictions: Mensah v Mensah

Mensah v Mensah [2018] EWHC 484 (Fam) is an interesting recent decision pertaining to the Brussels II Regulation (BIIR) and specifically the recognition of a French divorce order.

Full article: Family Law

Care proceedings and Article 5 ECHR

James Goudie QC examines a recent judgment of the President of the Family Division in relation to care proceedings and the right to liberty and security under Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Full article: Local Government Lawyer

Jurisdiction to make an interim order for the sale of a former matrimonial home

Sheena Cassidy examines the decision in WS v HS which considers the power of the family courts to make an interim order for sale in circumstances where s 22ZA of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) does not apply.

Full article: Family Law

Lawyers, Legal Language and Fact-finding Hearings under Part IV of the Children Act 1989

David Bedingfield, barrister of 4 Paper Buildings, discusses what lessons can be learned from the Court of Appeal's judgment in R (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 198.

Full article: Family Law Week

Deprivation of liberty and administration of medication by a local authority to a child

Louise McCallum and Emily Ross consider the case of T (A Child: Care Order: Beyond Parental Control: Deprivation of Liberty: Authority to Administer Medication), which dealt with issues of deprivation of liberty and administration of medication by a local authority to a child.

Full article: Zenith Chambers

Guidance on Art 5 compliance when a child in local authority care is deprived of their liberty

In Re A-F (Children) (Care Orders: Restrictions on Liberty) the court gave guidance on when Art 5 ECHR is engaged in relation to a child in the care of the local authority, and the procedures necessary to ensure the deprivation of liberty is lawful.

Full article: Family Law

Daughter ordered to take DNA test to prove she has an interest in her late father’s estate

The case Nield-Moir v Freeman [2018] EWHC 299 (Ch).

Full article: Family Law

Finance & Divorce Update March 2018

Rose-Marie Drury analyses the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during February 2018.

Full article: Family Law Week

Divorce? You may regret it if you don't ask for legal advice

Yedina v Yedin and another [2017] EWHC 3319 (Ch) was an interesting case which highlighted the importance of seeking advice from a family lawyer when planning to divorce.

Full article: Family Law

‘Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse’: a Government consultation paper

Working towards an end to domestic abuse.

Full article: Family Law

Surrogacy and HFEA Update (March 2018)

Andrew Powell, barrister of 4 Paper Buildings, considers recent developments relating to surrogacy law, including new guidance, as well as the latest cases concerning administrative errors and the HFEA.

Full article: Family Law Week

Thai case shines the light on international surrogacy

A story reported by The Telegraph last week raises some interesting questions about international surrogacy.

Full article: Family Law

Is the Home Office taking over domestic abuse?

Is Parliamentary and other Government activity in the last week evidence of movement towards a Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill?

Full article: Family Law

Child Support Update

Jody Atkinson TEP, barrister at St John's Chambers, Bristol, takes stock of the developments in child support law and practice and considers the implications for parents.

Full article: Family Law Week

The importance of considering all the options in relocation cases

Catherine Wood QC, of 4 Paper Buildings, reviews the decision in Re M (International Relocation: Welfare Analysis) [2017] EWCA Civ 2356 in which the Court of Appeal held that the judge had failed to carry out the sophisticated and complex analysis required in a relocation case.

Full article: Family Law

Does the inclusion of families and children in family proceedings go far enough?

Adele Cameron-Douglas, barrister of 4 Paper Buildings, asks how children can continue to be involved in proceedings that concern them after their conclusion.

Full article: Family Law Week

Supreme Court: no indulgence for litigants in person

The Supreme Court decision in Barton v Wright Hassall LLP [2018] UKSC 12.

Full article: Family Law

Child Contact Interventions

Adrian Barnett-Thoung-Holland, barrister of St Alban's Chambers, explains the practicalities of a valuable resource for children lawyers.

Full article: Family Law Week

Stepfather adoption: the pros and cons

The legal position for a stepfather in relation to his stepchild can be fundamentally altered through an adoption order.

Full article: Family Law

Will extending jurisdiction to missing people overstretch the Court of Protection?

The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 (also known as Claudia’s Law) increases the Court of Protection’s jurisdiction to include any person who cannot make decisions for themselves by virtue of being ‘missing’.

Full article: Family Law

Enforcement against Pensions in Financial Remedies Cases: the neglected option.

Joseph Rainer, barrister, Queen Elizabeth Building highlights the availability and effectiveness of the Blight v Brewster method to enforce a financial remedy order.


Full post: Family Law Week

The ECHR’s ruling in Kaminska v Poland: Enforcement of return orders – where do we go from here?

James Netto, Solicitor Advocate with Dawson Cornwell, considers a recent judgment of the ECtHR that confirms the need for the rapid recognition and enforcement of child abduction and custody orders.

Full article: Family Law Week

First cases of mitochondrial donation therapy in the UK and why the 'three-parent baby' headlines are misleading

In February 2015, the UK became the first country to approve laws allowing for the creation of so called 'three-parent babies'.

Full article: Family Law

Non-molestation: a definition for 2018?

What is ‘non-molestation’? How do family courts, by order, deal with ‘molestation’, as it is now defined in law?

Full article: Family Law

Five “Highly Pertinent” Questions: Discrimination, Contact and the Family Court following Re M (Children) [2017] EWCA Civ 2164

Hassan Khan and Charlotte Baker, barristers at 4 Paper Buildings, present a framework for approaching cases where issues of human rights and discrimination arise in contact cases.

Full article: Family Law Week

Reminder of the law of proprietary estoppel and testamentary capacity

Is the test for testamentary capacity in a wills dispute the same as the mental capacity test under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005)?

Full article: Family Law

Availability of Legal Aid for Applications Pursuant to the 1996 Hague Convention

Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE QC (Hon), Partner, Dawson Cornwell, and Michael Gration, Barrister, 4 Paper Buildings, highlight an oversight in LASPO.

Full article: Family Law Week

Attempting modernisation: the Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill

Momentum is growing for the modernisation of the statutory approach to the financial division of assets on divorce, the recognition of pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and an overhaul of spousal maintenance.

Full article: Family Law

Finance and Divorce Update, February 2018

Naomi Shelton, Associate and Frances Bailey, Principal Associate with Mills & Reeve LLP, analyse the news and case law relating to financial remedies and divorce during January 2018.

Full article: Family Law Week

The perils of an outdated will

The case of Martin v Williams [2017] EWHC 491 (Ch), [2018] 1 FLR 125 concerned the right of a cohabitee to make a claim for financial provision from her partner’s estate.

Full article: Family Law

Court ruling on decision to place a child with sibling’s adopters (Re B (a child))

Emily James, barrister at The 36 Group, considers the practical implications of the Court of Appeal judgment in Re B (A Child) (Care Proceedings), in which a decision to place a child for adoption, even when there was a viable family placement available, was upheld.

Full article: Family Law

Parental alienation and intractable contact disputes – when all seems lost

Occasionally, as a family solicitor, I come across a case that makes me despair. Thankfully it’s rare, but that feeling overwhelmed me when I read the child contact case of Q and R (Intractable contact) [2017] EWFC B35.

Full article: Family Law

Thoughts on child rights and Brussels IIA after EU withdrawal

Latvian children, care proceedings and Art 15.

Full article: Family Law

English civil partnership may not be recognised abroad

 Whilst marriage is almost universally recognised around the world and civil partnership is recognised by those countries with their own civil partnership laws, the legal status of an English civil partnership is not recognised in a number of countries.

Full article: Family Law

Children: Public Law Update (January 2018)

John Tughan QC of 4 Paper Buildings reviews recent important Children Public Law cases.

Full article: Family Law Week

Burden of proof and medical evidence in non-accidental injury cases (A Local Authority v ID and others)

In A Local Authority v ID and others, following a ten-day fact-finding hearing, the court made adverse findings of non-accidental injury against a father to his four-month-old baby. Dr John Fox of Lamb Building explains what can be gleaned from the judgment when dealing with cases of non-accidental injury.

Full article: Family Law

Family Law in the European Court of Human Rights in 2017

Julia Queen, barrister of Coram Chambers, considers a selection of the cases heard by the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’) in 2017 which are of particular interest to family lawyers.

Full article: Family Law Week

Parents with Learning Disabilities and a Local Authority’s Responsibilities

Emma Harman, barrister of 3PB, explains the lessons that can be learned from A Local Authority v G (Parent with Learning Disability) [2017] EWFC B94.

Full article: Family Law Week

Transferring property out of a deceased's estate to an unmarried partner (Lewis v Warner)

Roger Evans, barrister at Harcourt Chambers, says that Lewis v Warner is an interesting demonstration of the courts exercising their jurisdictional powers in the transfer of property under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Full article: Family Law

Local authorities and learning disabled parenting (A Local Authority v CG and others)

Local Government analysis: A case concerning the parental suitability of two parents with mental health and learning difficulties offers a number of lessons that can help local authorities to better manage such challenging circumstances.

Full article: Family Law

How we can cut the cost of divorce

Hazel Wright, Partner and Accredited Mediator with Hunters Solicitors considers the cost benefits of a “no fault” divorce regime.

Full article: Family Law Week

Exploring options over contact applications from transgender parents (Re M (Children)

Lyndsay Sambrooks-Wright, a barrister at 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings, discusses the Court of Appeal’s decision in Re M (Children).

Full article: Family Law

Court clarifies quasi-settlement defence to removed child’s return (L-S (a child))

Katy Chokowry, barrister at 1 King’s Bench Walk, examines the Court of Appeal’s approach in L-S (a child) to a child’s habitual residence, a parent’s acquiescence in the child’s removal, and the intolerability of the child’s position if returned after settling in new country.

Full article: Family Law

Divorce in the era of cryptocurrency: Bitcoin and non-disclosure

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency developed in 2009. It is created and held electronically in a decentralized system meaning that no one and no government controls it.

Full article: Family Law

Finance and Divorce Update, January 2018

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

Full article: Family Law Week

The use of testing for drugs and alcohol in FDAC

This tenth blog about FDAC focuses on the use of drug and alcohol tests in FDAC.

Full article: Family Law

Exploring “Reasonable Financial Provision” – Lewis v Warner

On 19th December the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the case of Lewis v Warner. The case involved “unusual” and “exceptional” circumstances and was the first time that an application by a cohabitee under the Inheritance Act had reached the Court of Appeal.

Full article: Hardwicke

Jurisdiction and quantum of global maintenance order (AB v CD)

Did the court, in deciding on financial provision, have jurisdiction to make a global maintenance order? Liz Cowell, partner at McAlister Family Law, looks at the issues of ‘global’ and ‘Segal’ orders in the recent case of AB v CD.

Full article: Family Law

The European Court decision on legality of sharia divorce: what is it really about?

A European Court decision in mid-December 2017 in the context of an Islamic divorce pronounced in Syria was bound to create headlines.

Full article: Family Law