Friday, August 26, 2016

A curse, a troubled country and a couple of not-so-great ideas...


Technology, children, human rights and costs: just another week for me on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog:

The curse of email - Think twice before hitting that ‘send’ button, a moral demonstrated by the recent cases Re T and Re A (A Patient).

Returning a child to a troubled country - The High Court of Ireland case J.M. v B.M..

So the government is pressing ahead with a British Bill of Rights… - My thoughts on this great idea.

Sorry, but legal services are not like dentistry - Responding to the Legal Services Consumer Panel's suggestion that family lawyers should be forced to offer fixed fees.

Have a great summer bank holiday weekend.

Monday, August 22, 2016

News Essentials: 22nd August 2016


A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

NEWS
14th View from the President’s Chambers: Care cases: Settlement conferences and the ‘tandem’ model
The President looks at two public law initiatives. Full article: Family Law.

Draft guidance published on anonymisation of children judgments
A project funded by the Nuffield Foundation and supported by the Association of Lawyers for Children aims to develop draft guidance to assist judges in the anonymisation of children judgments in public law proceedings. Full story: Family Law.

Court of Protection judge criticises firm for ‘brutal and insensitive’ comments
A north-west firm is considering appealing a Court of Protection ruling in which it was removed as a financial deputy in a case concerning deprivation of liberty and care arrangements. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See Mrs P v Rochdale Borough Council & Anor.

Cafcass chief: Stemming care applications may require law change
Changes to legislation may be required in order to curb steep rises in the number of applications for children to be taken into care, the chief executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has said. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

CASES
W (A Child), Re [2016] EWCA Civ 804 (28 July 2016)
Appeal by child against the making of a secure accommodation order. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

A (A Patient), Re [2016] EWCOP 38 (10 August 2016)
Judgment considering various applications made by nephew of elderly lady lacking capacity. Full report: Bailii.

A (A Patient), Re (No 2) [2016] EWCOP 39 (18 August 2016)
Judgment dealing with numerous matters raised by nephew of patient, in relation to earlier judgment. Full report: Bailii.

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For more news, see here.

For more cases, see here.

To subscribe to the Family Lore Focus free weekly Newsletter (which includes links to all of the week's top family law news stories, cases, articles and blog posts), go here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Absurd, worrying, threatening and money saving...


My posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog were mostly dealing with things that were wrong, concerning, or both:

Sorry to disappoint, but the family justice system is not run by feminist zealots - Responding to the absurd comments by Philip Davies MP.

Court orders removal of Deputy for incapacitated woman - The worrying Court of Protection case Mrs P v Rochdale Borough Council & Anor.

If you’re reduced to making threats, then you’re losing the argument - A home truth, and a plea to keep the discussion about family justice civil.

A future where money, not law, determines outcomes for children - Considering the recent remarks of Anthony Douglas, Chief Executive of Cafcass.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, August 15, 2016

News Essentials: 15th August 2016


A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

NEWS
Supreme Court refers to ECJ case of transgender woman denied state pension at 60
Sec of State argues that full certificate of gender recognition is required. Full story: Family Law Week. See report, below.

Cafcass in talks with government to stem care application rises
Attempts are being made to halt rapid increases in the number of applications being made for children to be taken into care, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has said. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Care applications in July 2016
In July 2016, Cafcass received a total of 1,305 care applications.  This figure represents a 16% increase compared to those received in July 2015. Full story: Cafcass.

Cafcass private law demand
In July 2016, Cafcass received a total of 3,468 new private law cases.  This has remained at a similar level as that seen in July 2015. Full story: Cafcass.

Attendance of Solicitors at Local Authority Children Act Meetings
The Law Society has issued an updated Practice Note on attendance of solicitors at local authority Children Act meetings. It is aimed at all solicitors who work in public law Children Act proceedings. Full story: Family Law.

Section 37 Senior Courts Act 1981 injunctions can be made only in support of existing substantive powers
Court of Appeal discharges injunction to transfer pension policy. Full story: Family Law Week. See Goyal v Goyal.

CASES
MB v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] UKSC 53 (10 August 2016)
Supreme Court judgment as to whether the Council Directive 97/7/EEC on the Progressive Implementation of the Principle of Equal Treatment for Men and Women in Matters of Social Security precludes the imposition in national law of a requirement that, in addition to satisfying the physical, social and psychological criteria for recognising a change of gender, a person who has changed gender must also be unmarried in order to qualify for a state retirement pension. The appellant, a transgender woman who has not applied for a full gender recognition certificate, has been denied a state retirement pension after her 60th birthday. Referral made to the European Court of Justice. Full report: Family Law Week.

Morris v Morris [2016] EWCA Civ 812 (10 August 2016)
Appeal by husband against, inter alia, committal order made on the wife's application by way of judgment summons for maintenance arrears and variation of maintenance order. Full report: Bailii.

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For more news, see here.

For more cases, see here.

To subscribe to the Family Lore Focus free weekly Newsletter (which includes links to all of the week's top family law news stories, cases, articles and blog posts), go here.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Wasted legal aid, fathers' rights and more...


No cases this week, but I still had plenty to talk about in my posts on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog, which included:

Wasted legal aid and the benefit of hindsight - The furore over the legal aid bill in the Ellie Butler case.

Fathers’ rights: The view from Jeremy Corbyn’s rooftop - The manifesto of New Fathers 4 Justice.

Who should look after those who can’t look after themselves? - The Kathleen Danby case, which has been back in the news.

Just how effective is the new child maintenance system? - Considering the DWP's latest statistics for "effective family-based child maintenance arrangements".

Have a good weekend.

Monday, August 08, 2016

News Essentials: 8th August 2016


A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

NEWS
26% of CM Options customers last year set up family based arrangements
DWP publishes data for child maintenance arrangements. Full story: Family Law Week.

Two-year-old girl thought to be at risk of FGM returned to UK
A two-year-old girl who was thought to be at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) has been returned to the UK from Guinea, the High Court has been told. Full story: Family Law Week.

Court orders rehearing of case where social workers ‘misunderstood’ case law
The social workers were found to have misinterpreted the implications of Re B when analysing placement options for a young girl. Full story: Community Care. See W (A Child).

Amina Al-Jeffery: 'Locked up' woman must be allowed home
A Swansea woman who claims her father has kept her locked up against her will in Saudi Arabia must be allowed to return to Britain, a judge has ruled. Full story: BBC News.

Children at risk of radicalisation not ‘outwardly vulnerable’, social workers told
A Cafcass study said that children at risk of radicalisation said methods to use recruit girls are "like nothing seen before". Full story: Community Care.

CASES
R (C & Others) v London Borough of Southwark [2016] EWCA Civ 707 (12 July 2016)
Appeal against order dismissing the appellants' claims for judicial review and damages challenging the lawfulness of the accommodation and the level of financial support provided to a family by a local authority. Full report: Family Law Week.

LC (A Child) (Habitual Residence), Re [2016] EWFC 31 (08 June 2016)
Care proceedings. Judgment giving reasons for transfer of proceedings to courts of the Republic of Ireland. Full report: Bailii.

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For more news, see here.

For more cases, see here.

To subscribe to the Family Lore Focus free weekly Newsletter (which includes links to all of the week's top family law news stories, cases, articles and blog posts), go here.

Monday, August 01, 2016

News Essentials: 1st August 2016


A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

NEWS
Ellie Butler murder: Father displayed 'pattern of impulsive violence'
A man who murdered his six-year-old daughter was described as displaying a "pattern of impulsive violence" months before she died, it has been revealed. Full story: BBC News. See the judgment C (A Child), below.

Court of Protection extends pilot testing increased access for public and media
A pilot scheme which has allowed the public and media to gain greater access to Court of Protection hearings is to continue for a further 12 months. Full story: Family Law Week.

Supreme Court rules against Named Person scheme
Judges at the UK's highest court have ruled against the Scottish government's Named Person scheme. Full story: BBC News.

Final Report on Civil Court Structure published
Lord Justice Briggs has published his final report following a review of the civil courts. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Mother wins funding for her costs debt to provide her with equality of arms
In BC v DE an unmarried mother successfully claimed under Sch 1 Children Act 1989 for the father to make interim provision to meet her historic as well as future costs in both these proceedings for financial provision for the child and proceedings concerning the arrangements for that child of the parties. Full story: Family Law.

Sale under Insolvency Act 1986 s 335A should not be postponed because of respondents’ disabled child
In Grant & Another v Baker the High Court has determined that the sale of a property, sought by the trustee in bankruptcy, should not be postponed until the respondents' disabled adult child no longer resided at the property. Full story: Family Law Week. See report, below.

CASES
C (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 798 (29 July 2016)
Appeal against decision to block publication of judgment of Eleanor King J in the Ellie Butler case. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

W (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 793 (29 July 2016)
Appeal by prospective adopters against dismissal of adoption application, in favour of special guardianship order to paternal grandparents. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Goyal v Goyal [2016] EWCA Civ 792 (29 July 2016)
Appeal against an order transferring a pension annuity held in India to the ex-wife on the grounds that there was no jurisdiction. McFarlane concluded the judge had no jurisdiction to make that order, set it aside and remitted the case for consideration of a pension sharing application. Full report: Bailii, via Family Law Hub.

Grant & Another v Baker [2016] EWHC 1782 (Ch) (18 July 2
Successful appeal by the trustees in bankruptcy of the first respondent against an order that the sale of a property owned by the first and second respondents be postponed until the respondents’ disabled adult child no longer resided at the property. Full report: Family Law Week.

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For more news, see here.

For more cases, see here.

To subscribe to the Family Lore Focus free weekly Newsletter (which includes links to all of the week's top family law news stories, cases, articles and blog posts), go here.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Costs, abduction, needs and the CMS...


My posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog covered a mix of subjects, including the following:

Courts can order legal costs funding in ongoing cases - Mr Justice Cobb's decision in the recent High Court case BC v DE.

Irish court orders return of children to England - The High Court of Ireland Hague Convention case B.F. -v- S.C..

Harrods or Tesco, it’s just a matter of degree - How 'needs' are interpreted in financial remedy claims.

Child maintenance system under scrutiny - If you have something to say about it, now's your chance.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Free Law Lectures at Gresham College

When Worlds Collide:
 The Family and the Law
by
Professor Jo Delahunty QC
Gresham Professor of Law


‘Sex, Death and Witchcraft’ – What Goes On In The Family Court Room?

Thursday, 6th October 2016, 6pm – 7pm, Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N 2HH

Think of family and what comes to mind? At best, a family united by children, love, partnership; At worst: the death of love, divorce, parents feuding over money and children. But what of the situation where the dispute is not between partners but The State and The Family? A child may be removed because professionals fear that they may suffer, no longer protected by parents but at risk from them.



Is One Individual’s Radicalism Another’s Right To Free Speech?

Thursday, 24th November 2015, 6pm – 7pm, Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N 2HH

When should intervention take place to safeguard a child? Areas where harm may arise include children at risk of being radicalised; parents promoting terrorism; or planning or being groomed to travel to Syria (with or without their parents). But removal is not a ‘risk free’ option since it may appear to be victimisation; reinforce a perception of ‘them and us’; or radicalise those who were previously uninvolved. Emerging law and practice in this area will be examined.



When Legal Worlds Collide

Thursday, 26th January 2017, 6pm – 7pm, Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N 2HH

This lecture will explore and explain the difference in outcomes between cases in Crime and Care, considering the framework of ‘Beyond reasonable doubt’ versus ‘the balance of probabilities’ and the concept of the judge’s role to determine the law and the jury the facts, as against the idea that the judge determines all. Rules on disclosure, hearsay, use of expert witnesses, and time scales in court will be examined to consider why a Not Guilty verdict in Crime may not be enough, in some cases, to resume being a parent.



Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 6pm – 7pm, Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N 2HH

The issue of Shaken Baby or Natural Cause will be examined, using a case study involving a bereaved parent, the transformation of a family home into a crime scene, with the pregnant mother facing a murder trial and her baby removed at birth. Exoneration and reunification, despite a jury acquittal, did not happen until the Family Court's decision. The lecture will explore how such a decision was arrived at and the impact it has had on our understanding of Non Accidental Injury (NAI) versus undiagnosed rickets and Vitamin D deficiency that can mimic gross abuse.



Expert Witnesses: A Zero-Sum Game?

Thursday, 12th April 2017, 6pm – 7pm, Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N 2HH

The use of experts in the family courts can make a significant difference to outcomes. The debate about the use of experts in court cases reflects the conflicted stance society takes on the emotive issue of child protection. It is a gross injustice to the child and parent for social workers, backed by ‘expert’ opinion, to wrongly remove children but it is equally unacceptable for vulnerable children to be left at home to suffer abuse.



‘Two Point One Children’: Why There Is No Typical Family In The Family Court

Thursday, 4th May 2017, 6pm-7pm, Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N 2HH

This lecture will explore vulnerable parties and children in the Family Court, especially where the common denominator is frequently one of poverty - in education, income and expectations. The range of disabilities that can be involved in court will be considered, and the way that law and practice responds to seek to protect an affected person's rights. The general principles which the court has to address if it is to deliver a fair system to the most vulnerable will be outlined.