Friday, February 17, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

News Essentials: 13th February 2017

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

Munby to step down next year
The most senior family judge in England and Wales, renowned among practitioners for his outspoken views, is to step down next year. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Cafcass private law demand
In January 2017, Cafcass received a total of 3,356 new private law cases. This is a 17% increase on January 2016 levels. Full story: Cafcass.

Care applications in January 2017
In January 2017, Cafcass received a total of 1,119 care applications. This figure represents a 7% increase compared with those received in January 2016. Full story: Cafcass.

Cohabiting partner wins pension fight in Supreme Court
Nomination requirement added nothing to evidential hurdle concerning cohabiting relationship. Full story: Family Law Week.

Court orders man to increase payments to wife who lost bulk of divorce settlement with 'poor financial decisions'
A wife who lost the bulk of her divorce settlement by making "poor financial decisions" has been awarded larger monthly payments from her ex-husband despite calls from his lawyer for maintenance limits to reflect "social change". Full story: The Telegraph.

Health Secretary urged to end GPs’ charging for legal aid ‘domestic violence’ letters
Guardian reports call from 16 police and crime commissioners. Full story: Family Law Week.

X (A Child), Re [2017] EWHC 158 (Fam) (27 January 2017)
Application by father for a without notice location order and disclosure of information order, in case where the mother had removed the child from Scotland to England. Full report: Bailii.

EE & ME (Children) (Habitual Residence) [2016] EWHC 3363 (Fam) (20 December 2016)
Judgment considering issue of whether the court has jurisdiction to hear an application by a father in respect of two children who were removed to Latvia by the mother. Full report: Bailii.

Norman v Norman [2017] EWCA Civ 49 (08 February 2017)
Application by wife for extension of anonymity order in relation to financial remedy proceedings. Application 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.

Friday, February 10, 2017

From everyone’s favourite family law blogger...

...or maybe not. Whatever, my posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog included the following:

Yes, the welfare of the child is still paramount - Contrary to what some may believe (they also believe I am everyone's favourite family law blogger). Looking at the proposed amendments to PD 12J.

Court rules that child should have cataract surgery - In the case Re EQ.

A non-sequitur from Sir Paul Coleridge - Don't laugh, but Sir Paul thinks that Brexit will reverse the decline in marriage.

What exactly is a consent order, and why do I need one? - I try to answer that question.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, February 06, 2017

400th Newsletter!

I have just sent out the 400th edition of the Family Lore Focus Newsletter. For those who don't know, the Newsletter is a free weekly email sent to subscribers and containing links to all the the top family law news stories, cases, legislation, articles and blog posts that were reported on Family Lore Focus that week. The links come from across the web, and are all free to view. In this way, the Newsletter is intended to keep the reader up to date on developments in family law, with the minimum of effort.

You can subscribe to the Newsletter here - all that is required is your name and email address.

News Essentials: 6th February 2017

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

Court of Appeal applies Wyatt v Vince in 'delay' case
Husband’s claim that court had paid insufficient regard to wife's delay rejected. Full post: Family Law Week. See Briers v Briers.

Consent ‘not required’ for section 20 accommodation, judge says
The Court of Appeal has said good practice guidance set out by Sir James Munby should still be followed, but not meeting it doesn't necessarily mean there is an 'actionable wrong'. Full story: Community Care. See London Borough of Hackney v Williams & Anor.

Munby: court did not ‘cave in’ over release of jailed 71-year-old
The senior family judge has insisted the Court of Appeal has not ‘caved in’ at the ‘first sign of obduracy’ following the release of a 71-year-old jailed for contempt. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See MM (A Patient), below.

Court makes landmark ruling on deprivation of liberty and medical care
The judgement was made in the case of a woman with Down's syndrome and learning disabilities, who died in intensive care in 2013. Full story: Community Care. See Ferreira, R (On the Application Of) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner South London.

Court bans children from seeing transgender parent because it is 'incompatible' with their Ultra-Orthodox Jewish faith
A transgender woman has been banned from seeing her five children after a family court ruled it was not compatible with her ex-wife's ultra-orthodox Jewish background. Full story: The Independent. See J v B, below.

S (A Child), Re [2017] EWCA Civ 44 (02 February 2017)
Appeal by mother against findings of fact made in the context of private law proceedings concerning 8 year old child. Full report: Bailii.

J v B (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender) [2017] EWFC 4 (30 January 2017)
Contact application by transgender father of children belonging to Charedi Jewish community. Full report: Bailii.

MM (A Patient) [2017] EWCA Civ 34 (30 January 2017)
Appeal against order requiring appellant to sign documentation to facilitate the return of the patient from Portugal. 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, February 03, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

News Essentials: 30th January 2017

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

Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill receives its second reading
Baroness Deech’s private member’s bill seeks to replace section 25(2) of the MCA 1973. Full story: Family Law Week.

DfE evaluation of the family drug and alcohol court (FDAC) national unit published
National Unit perceived to have had critical role in the set-up of new FDACs. Full story: Family Law Week.

Divorce order set aside after ‘procedurally unfair’ mistakes
The Court of Appeal has overturned remedy orders in a divorce case after finding a string of procedural errors with how the matter was handled. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See Iqbal v Iqbal, below.

Former banker ordered to hand over foreign pension income to ex-wife in landmark divorce ruling
A former banker who blew his fortune on spread-betting was yesterday ordered to hand over income from a foreign pension to his ex-wife, in what lawyers said was a landmark ruling stopping divorcing spouses concealing assets offshore. Full story: The Telegraph. See Goyal v Goyal, below.

Mr Justice Bodey departs from equality on basis of unmatched contributions
Judgment gives wife 37.5% of £36.95 million. Full story: Family Law Week.

Judge criticises local authority practice in 148 week care proceedings
A total of six social workers were involved in the case leading to failures in working with the family. Full story: Community Care.

London Borough of Hackney v Williams & Anor [2017] EWCA Civ 26 (26 January 2017)
Appeal by local authority against finding of breach of Art 8 rights of parents in care proceedings. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

X v X (anonymisation) [2016] EWHC 3512 (Fam) (16 December 2016)
Judgment concerns an issue about the anonymisation, or not, of a financial remedy judgment. Full report: Bailii.

Iqbal v Iqbal [2017] EWCA Civ 19 (25 January 2017)
Appeals by husband against various orders made in financial remedy proceedings, including interim periodical payments, judgment summonses and final order. Full report: Bailii.

Briers v Briers [2017] EWCA Civ 15 (25 January 2017)
Appeal by husband against financial remedies order. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

DB v PB [2016] EWHC 3431 (Fam) (22 December 2016)
Final hearing of applications for ancillary relief, for provision pursuant to Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, and for an order for sale of the former matrimonial home pursuant to section 17 of the Married Women's Property Act 1882. Full report: Bailii.

Bezeliansky v Bezelianskaya [2016] EWCA Civ 76 (24 January 2017)
Applications by husband for permission to appeal against variation of capital provision in consent order and to appeal against three committal orders. Full report: Bailii.

N (Hague Convention: Habitual Residence), Re [2017] EWHC 63 (Fam) (24 January 2017)
Application by mother, seeking return of 3 year old daughter to Canada. Application dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Goyal v Goyal (No. 3) [2017] EWFC 1 (16 January 2017)
Further judgment in long-running ancillary relief proceedings, dealing with outstanding issues, including the variation of a periodical payments 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.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Family Mediation Week highlights £48 billion cost of family breakdown to the taxpayer as charity calls for mediation

  • 2% of marriages now expected to end in divorce, which is costing the taxpayer billions
  • The charity Family Mediators Association is calling on parents to put children first and try to avoid lengthy legal battles, as research reveals that despite a change in law just 14% were aware of family mediation alternatives when splitting up
  • Family Mediation Week is running from Monday 23rd-Friday 27th January and aims to raise awareness of the benefits of and law behind family mediation

LONDON - The “Cost of Family Failure Index” 2016 has revealed that the cost of family breakdowns to the taxpayer had risen by £1 billion to £48 billion, and is still going up. Meanwhile, despite mediation being a legal requirement for separating couples before they can apply for an expensive court order, just 14% of parents were aware of family mediation when they were separating.

At the start of Family Mediation Week (23-27 January 2017), the Family Mediation Association is calling for greater public understanding of the divorce process to better protect children and other at-risk parties, as well as reduce the burden on the taxpayer.

There is a legal requirement to speak to a mediator before applying to the family courts, which was introduced in 2014, because the government and the courts believe that mediation and other forms of dispute resolution can help many more families resolve their differences in a constructive and more cost effective way than bitter court battles.

However, every year thousands of families are still torn apart by expensive and emotionally charged courtroom showdowns, with parents often agreeing on major financial decisions, but arguing over relatively trivial matters. This spirals the costs and increases the damage to any children affected.

Family Mediation Association spokesperson, Beverley Sayers added: “Family Mediation Week helps raise awareness amongst separating couples that lawyers and courts aren’t their only divorce option. If both parties can stay patient and open minded, there are much better and cheaper alternatives to going to court, including mediation, and collaborative family law and arbitration. These are usually quicker, cheaper and less confrontational than the traditional court process, making a big difference to any kids involved in what is a hurtful time for everyone in the family.”

Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, Sir Oliver Heald said: "I am a strong supporter of mediation and the way in which it can help couples reach agreements and reduce the stress of separation.

“In many circumstances Family Mediation has great benefits for those seeking to resolve disputes away from court. I am very keen to see improved information and signposting, so that more people are aware of how mediation can help dispute resolution.”

Day 2 – Mediation: A Safer Space
FMC Code of Conduct 2.3: family mediators have a special duty to try to help couples end their marriage or relationship in a way that minimises their distress, and the distress of any children involved, and in a way that promotes as good a relationship between parents and children as possible.

Day 3 – Mediation: Please Listen 
FMC Code of Conduct 5.7.1: family mediators have a special duty to encourage parents to consider the children’s wishes and feelings and that all children and young people aged 10 and above should be offered the opportunity to have their voices heard directly during the mediation.

Day 4 – Mediation: Put Your Children First 
FMC Code of Conduct 5.7.2: mediators have a special duty to pay particular attention to the welfare of any children involved and to encourage all parents to focus on the needs and interests of the children.

Day 5 – Mediation: The Positive Choice
FMC Code of Conduct 2.1 and 6.19: mediators have a special duty to help families work together to reach decisions the family considers appropriate to their own particular circumstances, decisions that are fully informed and freely made, and to help families understand the consequences of those decisions for themselves, their children and other relevant family members.

To find out more about Family Mediation Week, visit

News Essentials: 23rd January 2017

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

Proposed changes to Practice Direction 12J – Child Arrangement and Contact Orders: Domestic Violence and Harm
Women’s Aid welcomes recommendations of Cobb Review. Full story: Family Law Week.

Sir Oliver Heald QC outlines LASPO review timetable
Justice minister working ‘within straitjacket’ of UK’s finances. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Practice Direction: Family Court – Duration of Ex Parte (Without Notice) Orders
This Guidance was originally issued on 13 October 2014. This revised Guidance, issued on 18 January 2017, supersedes the previous Guidance. Full story: Family Law Week.

Children unnecessarily removed from parents, report claims
Dossier indicates drive to increase adoptions is punitive for low-income families and alternatives exist. Full story: The Guardian.

MOJ publishes report on implementation of Law Commission proposals
The Ministry of Justice has published their 2015-2016 Report on the implementation of Law Commission proposals. Full story: Family Law.

A v B (jurisdiction : Brussels II) [2016] EWHC 2982 (Fam) (16 August 2016)
Application for a s.8 order by mother, in respect of a child living in Dubai. Judgment dealing with issue of jurisdiction. Full report: Bailii.

Egeneonu v Egeneonu [2017] EWHC 43 (Fam) (18 January 2017)
Application by mother for declaration that father's contempts in relation to his failure to return children from Nigeria were criminal, so that she could seek father's extradition. Full report: Bailii.

A & Ors (Children : Scottish adoptions) [2017] EWHC 35 (Fam) (17 January 2017)
Judgment dealing with procedural points in cases involving English adoption of Scottish children. 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.