Monday, December 05, 2016

ONS divorce stats release: Resolution response

Nigel Shepherd
The Office of National Statistics’ latest figures on divorce in England and Wales show there were 111,169 divorces in England and Wales in 2014, a drop of 3.1% compared to 2013. The divorce rate has also fallen by 5.3% from 2013 to 2014, to 9.3 divorces per thousand men and women.
 
Analysis of the 2014 figures shows that roughly 60% of all divorces in England and Wales cite either adultery or unreasonable behaviour (66,588).
   
Responding to the data, Nigel Shepherd, National Chair of campaigning family law organisation Resolution, said:
 
"The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that both divorce numbers and the divorce rate have fallen. As the ONS highlight, this could be due to both the rise in the number of cohabiting couples, and the reduction in the number of weaker relationships progressing to marriage as a result.
 
"For those 111,169 of couples that did divorce however, we know that nearly two-thirds will have apportioned blame – whether they wanted to or not. At Resolution, we believe in a better way for separating couples that allows them to divorce without blame, conflict or argument. Over 90% of our members support a move to No Fault Divorce, and last week 150 family lawyers gathered in Parliament to meet with MPs and lobby for change.
 
“We are pleased with the positive reception our calls for no fault divorce received among MPs and we will continue our call for this much required, widely supported legislative change.
 
"Other statistics recently released shows that the number of cohabiting couples has also risen - this means it is even more important that they have some basic rights under the law should they separate."

News Essentials: 5th December 2016


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

NEWS
Lawyers overwhelmingly hostile to settlement conferences in care proceedings
Family lawyers have turned overwhelmingly hostile to settlement conferences in public law cases but are equally largely in favour of the process in private law children cases. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Lord Chief Justice concerned by number of LiPs in the family courts
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, has expressed concern over the number of LiPs involved private family law disputes. Full story: Family Law Hub.

150 Resolution members gather in Parliament to call for No Fault Divorce
The Government will come under increasing pressure to introduce ‘No Fault Divorce’ today (Wednesday 30 November), as 150 family lawyers and other professionals come to Parliament to meet with MPs and Peers on the subject. Full story: Resolution.

Court hears rare treatment withdrawal application for minimally conscious patient
Mr Justice Charles criticises Legal Aid Agency for advancing any argument ‘to avoid paying legal aid’. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Cobb J sets out core principles for conducting re-hearings
Court re-hears fact-finding into life-threatening injuries to child. Full story: Family Law Week. See Re AD and AM (Fact-finding: Rehearing).

Resolution introduces new Code
Resolution has launched a new Code of Practice for its members. Full story: Family Law.

CASES
A (A Child : permission to permanently relocate) [2016] EWHC 2691 (Fam) (23 September 2016)
Application by mother for permission to permanently relocate with child to USA. Application granted. Full report: Bailii.

V (A Child), Re [2016] EWFC 58 (01 December 2016)
Private law proceedings regarding arrangements for 7 year old child. Judgment concerning the role and practice of local authorities when involved in allegations of abuse by one parent against another. Full report: Bailii.

RD & Ors (Duties and Powers of Relevant Person's Representatives and Section 39D IMCAS) [2016] EWCOP 49 (04 August 2016)
Five joined cases considering how RPRs and s.39D IMCAs should decide whether to bring an application to the Court of Protection under s.21A of the MCA to challenge a standard authorisation under Schedule A1. Full report: Bailii.

Robert v Woodall [2016] EWHC 2987 (Ch) (25 November 2016)
Trustee in bankruptcy was seeking to renew his application for permission to appeal against an order striking out his claim for a lump sum or a property adjustment order under ss.23 & 24 MCA. Cross-appeal to set aside an order in so far as it gave the Trustee permission to appeal against the decision striking out his claim that the payments were transactions at an undervalue pursuant to s.339 of the Insolvency Act 1986. Full report: Bailii, via Family Law Hub.

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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, December 02, 2016

Never mind the width, feel the quality...


Or something. Hopefully, you will find my posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog were of a reasonable quality. They included:

Section 91(14) orders: restricting children applications - Barring orders, and the guidelines for making them,

It’s not the amount of contact it’s the quality - Are some non-custodial parents more concerned with achieving parity of time with their children, rather than the quality of the time they spend with them?

Has the Resolution Code of Practice passed its sell-by date? - A few thoughts...

What is a clean break, and why is it important? - I attempt to answer the questions.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, November 28, 2016

News Essentials: 28th November 2016


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

NEWS
Litigant in person’s ‘misconceived’ applications an abuse of process
Munby J rejects serial litigant’s ‘scurrilous’ allegations. Full story: Solicitors Journal. See Akester v Fitzgerald, below.

Law Society practice note: Court duty scheme for private law family clients
The Law Society has issued a practice note for family practitioners intending to set up or provide advice at a court duty scheme for private law family cases. Full story: Family Law.

Court of Appeal gives important judgment about witnesses’ rights to appeal in family proceedings
Witnesses subject of adverse judicial findings may challenge judge’s findings on appeal. Full story: Family Law Week. See Re W (A Child).

CASES
Goddard-Watts v Goddard-Watts [2016] EWHC 3000 (Fam) (23 November 2016)
Rehearing of wife's financial remedy application, the previous final order having been set aside by because of the husband's non-disclosure in respect of his interest in two trusts. Full report: Bailii.

P (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 1127 (28 July 2016)
Application for permission to appeal by mother against orders refusing her application for contact and under section 91(14) Children Act 1989. Full report: Family Law Week.

Akester v Fitzgerald [2016] EWHC 2961 (Fam) (21 November 2016)
Judgment dealing with application by litigant in person, seeking to stay execution of an order made in the course of financial remedy proceedings. 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.

Resolution introduces new Code


Resolution has launched a new Code of Practice for its members.

The organisation, which represents 6,500 family justice professionals who are committed to supporting couples to reach constructive solutions to family disputes, says it chose to revise the Code of Practice to reflect the changing family justice environment.

Nigel Shepherd, Chair of Resolution, said:

“This is a further significant development in Resolution’s evolution.

“When we first began in the 1980s, the world of family justice was very different. If you were getting divorced, you almost always ended up in court, and it was invariably acrimonious.

“Resolution’s founder, John Cornwell, had the vision to recognise that there had to be a better way, and from those initial meetings that he had with a number of like-minded family lawyers our organisation – and subsequently our Code of Practice – was born.

“Now the environment in which we all work is changing beyond recognition and our Code needed to be updated in order to reflect the way in which all our members support people.

“I’m proud of the way our members have come together to draft and launch this new Code, which for the first time now also explains to the public how the Code helps them.”

Since its inception, Resolution has been at the forefront of promoting best practice, as well as launching and promoting new ways to support people through separation, including mediation, collaborative practice, and more recently, family arbitration.

It has also campaigned on issues such as legal aid – for family and care work - domestic violence, no fault divorce, rights for cohabitants and court closures.

Welcoming the new Code of Practice, Resolution members have today taken to social media with the hashtag #abetterway to share in their own words what being a Resolution member means to them.

Mr Shepherd added:

“The new Code is an important step forward for our organisation, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to supporting our members, and the clients they help, to promote those values espoused by John Cornwell and others more than 30 years ago.

“The Code also been written to reflect the changing face of our organisation. Although we started as a membership organisation primarily for family lawyers, we’re now proud to have family mediators, financial planners, counsellors and family therapists among our ranks.

“If you subscribe to our principles and are passionate about the work Resolution does, you are welcome in our organisation.”

The new Code of Practice is being launched as part of Resolution’s Good Divorce Week, an annual awareness raising week to promote constructive resolutions to family issues. In addition to the launch of their new Code, Resolution is organising a major lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 30 November that will see 150 of its members meet with MPs in Westminster to promote their campaign for no fault divorce and rights for cohabiting couples.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Don't Believe A Word



OK, I've just broken my rule not to headline a blog post with a song title. Still, there weren't any clich├ęs in my posts this week on the Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog, which included:

What is a specific issue order, and what is it for? - Two questions I attempt to answer.

Not just another failed contact application - The case Re K.

I may be wonderful*, but the system certainly isn’t - Or, don't believe everything you read in comments.

The phenomenon of the obsessive litigant - As in the case Akester v Fitzgerald.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, November 21, 2016

News Essentials: 21st November 2016


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

NEWS
Court of Appeal gives important judgment about witnesses’ rights to appeal in family proceedings
Witnesses subject of adverse judicial findings may challenge judge’s findings on appeal. Full story: Family Law Week. See Re W, below.

Orders made to secure 14 year old's wish to be cryo-preserved upon death
Court was not approving or encouraging cryonics: Peter Jackson J. Full story: Family Law Week. See Re JS, below.

English councils confirm they set targets for number of children to be adopted
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by The Transparency Project to 172 councils, 12 English councils have confirmed, sent or published documents showing that they use numerical targets for adoption. Full story: Family Law Week.

Legal Aid Agency rapped over approach to damages payable to ward of court
A High Court judge has severely criticised the Legal Aid Agency's actions in a case concerning a ward of court to whom a local authority had agreed to pay damages for the unauthorised release of information. Full story: Local Government Lawyer. See P v A Local Authority, below.

Shorter care proceedings improving placement stability, research says
A research study into a pilot conducted before the introduction of the 26 week Public Law Outline also found it shortened the time it took for children to find a placement. Full story: Community Care.

London council children's services data breach as court bundle lost
A London council has been warned to strengthen its protection of personal information after a social worker left court documents on the roof of her car and drove off. Full story: Family Law Week.

Pension sharing not available in relation to a foreign pension
Wife's claim for a pension sharing order failed in long-running dispute. Full story: Family Law Week. See Goyal v Goyal.

CASES
JS (Disposal of Body), Re [2016] EWHC 2859 (Fam) (10 November 2016)
Judgment concerning issue of whether the body of a terminally ill 14 year old girl should be cryogenically frozen. Full report: Bailii.

W (A Child), Re [2016] EWCA Civ 1140 (17 November 2016)
Appeal concerning issue of whether a witness in Family proceedings, who is the subject of adverse judicial findings and criticism, and who asserts that the process in the lower court was so unfair as to amount to a breach of his/her rights to a personal and private life under ECHR Art 8, can challenge the judge's findings on appeal. Full report: Bailii.

P v A Local Authority [2016] EWHC 2779 (Fam) (04 November 2016)
Human rights claim by 17 year old in local authority accommodation against the authority for disclosing personal information about him. 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, November 18, 2016

Posting potpourri


My posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog may not have been fragrant, but they certainly covered a varied a mixture of topics:

A rare example of a ‘modest means’ appeal - The case C v C.

What exactly is ‘unreasonable behaviour’? - My attempt to answer the question.

An alternate future for the family - I look into my crystal ball...

The welfare checklist, Irish style - A comparison of the Irish and English/Welsh versions of the welfare checklist.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers November/December 2016


The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published.

In this issue
  • Legal practice – Jordan Furlong argues for the development of the technology-enabled, "intangible" law firm
  • Digital marketing – Gavin Ward of Moore Legal Technology suggests how firms should use website analytics
  • Copyright – Laurence Kaye explains why EU copyright law will remain central to UK digital business
  • Legal software – Delia Venables provides an overview of her A to Z of legal software suppliers
  • Current awareness – Paul Magrath of the ICLR describes a number of useful legal email alerts for practitioners
  • Internet – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains and illustrates the concept of Net Neutrality
  • CPD – CPD for barristers in 2017
  • Publishers – The IALS Open Book Service for Law
  • Future of law – Nick Holmes on upgrading the law and lawyers

Access the Newsletter online

Monday, November 14, 2016

News Essentials: 14th November 2016


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

NEWS
Court of appeal upholds decision to keep Oxford mother's child in care
Judges heard how the three-year-old ‘Child B’ moved uncontrollably and ran into traffic. Full story: The Guardian. See Re S (Children), below.

New guidance issued on facilitating participation of ‘P’ and vulnerable persons in Court of Protection proceedings
Mr Justice Charles has issued guidance on facilitating participation of ‘P’ and vulnerable persons in Court of Protection proceedings. Full story: Family Law.

Government rejects recommendation that divorce fee rise should be rescinded
The Government has rejected the recommendation of the House of Commons Justice Committee that the increase in the divorce petition fee to £550 should be rescinded. Full story: Family Law Week.

Private law cases received by Cafcass in October up 9% on a year ago
3,505 new private law cases received. Full story: Family Law Week.

Care applications to Cafcass in October 5% up on a year ago
Rate of increase lower than in recent months. Full story: Family Law Week.

Brexit may be final straw for some couples, say divorce lawyers
The stress of Brexit is adding to pressure on couples on the brink of divorce, according to the head of the UK’s largest family law organisation. Full story: The Guardian.

Lord Chief Justice concerned by volume of public and private law cases before the Family Court
Annual report highlights workload problems in the Family Court. Full story: Family Law Week.

CASES
B (A Child), Re [2016] EWCA Civ 1088 (13 September 2016)
Application by father for permission to appeal various orders made in private law children proceedings, including an order allowing publication of judgment in relation to father's contact application. Full report: Bailii.

A & B (Children), Re [2016] EWCA Civ 1101 (09 November 2016)
Appeal by parents against care orders in respect of their children, in particular against findings of fact made within the care proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

AS v TH (No 2) (Jurisdiction to Make Final Orders) [2016] EWHC 2825 (Fam) (04 November 2016)
Child arrangements proceedings concerning two children brought to England from Scotland by their mother, including consideration of issue of jurisdiction. Full report: Bailii.

H v H (Maintenance Pending Suit) [2015] EWHC B30 (Fam) (03 December 2015)
Applications by wife for maintenance pending suit and legal services order. Full report: Bailii.

S (Children), Re [2016] EWCA Civ 1090 (08 November 2016)
Appeal by mother against care and placement orders in respect of the middle of three children. Appeal dismissed. 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.