Monday, May 23, 2016

M v F: Judicial warning about covert recording of children

Mr Justice Peter Jackson
I was going to write a post about this case, which contains a serious warning from Mr Justice Peter Jackson to any parent considering making covert recordings of children involved in family proceedings. However, upon reflection I have realised that I cannot summarise the case any better than Mr Justice Jackson did in his succinct judgment. I therefore urge readers to read the judgment in full, rather than any summary I could write. Parents who are contemplating placing a recording device on a child for the purpose of gathering evidence in family proceedings are particularly encouraged to read the judgment.

News Essentials: 23rd May 2016


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

NEWS
President declares that UK law should give single parents through surrogacy the same rights as couples
Sir James Munby, the President of the High Court Family Division, has made a formal declaration that UK law discriminates against single parents with children born through surrogacy and is incompatible with their human rights. Full story: Family Law. See Z (A Child) (No 2), below.

Public Guardian practice note: Family care payments
The Office of the Public Guardian has published a practice note on family care payments, also known as gratuitous care payments. Full story: Family Law.

Guidance: Liaison between Courts in England and Wales and British Embassies and High Commissions Abroad
This guidance note describes procedures which are to be followed when a court in England and Wales exercising family jurisdiction seeks to invoke diplomatic assistance. Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

Adoption law reform aims to speed up placements
A shake-up of adoption rules in England aims to move more children more quickly from the care system to family life. Full story: BBC News.

Council to pay £17,500 damages to 14 year old for human rights breaches
A High Court judge has ordered a county council to pay £17,500 in damages to a 14-year-old girl in care for breaches of her human rights. Full story: Local Government Lawyer. See Kent CC v M and K (Section 20: Declaration and Damages), below.

‘Private matter’ boy shared with social worker should be withheld from parents, judge rules
Court finds sharing "very private" information against wishes of boy involved in care proceedings could damage his trust in professionals. Full story: Community Care. See Local Authority X v HI & Ors.

Evidence obtained illegally in family and civil proceedings
Bar Council issues revised advice. Full story: Family Law Week.

CASES
Z (A Child) (No 2) [2016] EWHC 1191 (Fam) (20 May 2016)
Surrogacy. Father refused parental order on the basis that the court cannot make an order on the application of a single parent. Application for a declaration of incompatibility. Full report: Bailii.

Davies & Anor v Davies [2016] EWCA Civ 463 (19 May 2016)
Appeal by parents against amount of award to daughter in respect of successful proprietary estoppel claim. Full report: Bailii.

E (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 473 (19 May 2016)
Appeal against findings of abuse made against a father and his teenage son in the course of care proceedings. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Kent CC v M and K (Section 20: Declaration and Damages) [2016] EWFC 28 (13 May 2016)
Judgment dealing with final hearing of care proceedings concerning a 14 year old girl, and a claim on her behalf that the LA had breached her Art 6 & Art 8 rights. 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, May 20, 2016

Government plans, conspiracy theories and more...


In my posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog I look with trepidation at government plans for reform, debunk a conspiracy theory and, for good measure, look at an Irish case involving the alleged abduction of a child from England:

When the government wants to ‘tip the balance’, should we be worried? - The government's planned adoption reforms.

No, family lawyers are not involved in a conspiracy - Sorry to disappoint the theorists.

Irish court refuses return of child to England - The Hague Convention from the other side.

What did human rights ever do for family law? - Quite a lot, actually.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers May/June 2016


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

In this issue

  • Data protection – Eduardo Ustaran asks whether the new US-UK Privacy Shield is adequate
  • Resources – Joe Ury describes four recent projects to broaden and supplement BAILII's existing collections
  • Security – Allan Carton of Inpractice proposes 10 steps you should take to achieve "cyber resilience"
  • Marketing – Sue Bramall of Berners Marketing on why to consider outsourcing your marketing and how to go about it
  • Resources – Delia Venables offers a selection of the best blogs of use to lawyers, derived from her web pages
  • Social media – Sir Henry Brooke describes how he uses Twitter and his blog for personal development
  • Devices – Alex Heshmaty summarises the issues arising from the practice of Bring Your Own Device
  • Data – Nick Holmes offers some tips on working with spreadsheets and data

Access the Newsletter online

News Essentials: 16th May 2016


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

NEWS
President issues guidance on international family law
Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, has issued guidance on family cases with an international aspect. Full story: Family Law.

Cafcass private law demand
In April 2016, Cafcass received a total of 3,557 new private law cases.  This is a 24% increase on April 2015 levels. Full story: Cafcass.

Care applications in April 2016
In April 2016, Cafcass received a total of 1,221 care applications.  This figure represents a 28% increase compared to those received in April 2015. Full story: Cafcass.

CoramBAAF expresses concern about use of Special Guardianship Orders
SGOs are too often made ‘without sufficient background checks’. Full story: Family Law Week.

CASES
PH v AH [2016] EWHC 1131 (Fam) (09 May 2016)
Application by a father for the return of his daughter to Poland. Full report: Bailii.

Local Authority X v HI & Ors [2016] EWHC 1123 (Fam) (12 May 2016)
Application by a Guardian for an order restraining a local authority from disclosing to the parents of a child in care a piece of information which that child has shared with professionals. Full report: Bailii.

X (Foreign Surrogacy: Child's Name), Re [2016] EWHC 1068 (Fam) (21 January 2016)
Application for a parental order in respect of child born following surrogacy arrangement in Nepal. 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, May 13, 2016

Sponsored posts and advertising standards guidance



Just a quick post to confirm a point that has long been mentioned in my Advertising Policy, but which clearly needs to be emphasised, as a number of (potential) advertisers appear to be missing it, despite being asked to read the policy.

In order to comply with advertising standards guidance (rules, in fact), all paid-for sponsored posts must be labelled as sponsored - see, for example, here. The reason, should it need to be explained, is to let readers know that what they are reading is an advert, not one of my posts. Views expressed in my posts are mine, and are not paid for.

As I state in my advertising policy, I am prepared to consider sponsored posts, preferably on a topic relevant to the subject of the blog, but all sponsored posts must be clearly labelled as such.

A little light reading...


My efforts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog included:

A formula-based divorce system that could work

If you can’t agree a valuation, then why not split the difference? - A good question.

Lessons from another judgment summons application - Mr Justice Mostyn's judgment in Migliaccio v Migliaccio.

Court grants application to withdraw medical treatment from woman - The case Re O (Withdrawal of Medical Treatment).

Have a good weekend.

Monday, May 09, 2016

News Essentials: 9th May 2016


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

NEWS
Court rules surgeons can give hysterectomy to schizophrenic woman
Judge says surgery is in best interests of woman, who has ovarian cancer. Full story: The Guardian.

Resolution submits evidence to Bach Commission on Access to Justice
Resolution has recently submitted evidence to the Bach Commission on Access to Justice as part of its continued campaigning work on legal aid in the aftermath of LASPO. Full story: Resolution.

Serious case review to probe whether toddler battered to death by foster mother could have been saved
Social services are facing questions after a “barbaric” woman beat an 18-month-old girl in her care to death, inflicting 200 injuries on her and trying to blame her eldest son for the child’s death. Full story: The Telegraph.

Mother who tried to move family to Syria ordered to give up children
The high court has ruled that the three children of a Leicester woman who tried to take them to Isis-controlled territory must live with their grandmother. Full story: The Guardian. See Leicester City Council v T, below.

CASES
Migliaccio v Migliaccio [2016] EWHC 1055 (Fam) (26 April 2016)
Wife's application for a judgment summons against the husband in respect of arrears of child periodical payments and an unpaid costs order. Full report: Bailii.

Singha v Heer [2016] EWCA Civ 424 (16 February 2016)
Appeal by wife against order declaring that third party held a 50% interest in former matrimonial home. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Family Law Week.

Leicester City Council v T [2016] EWFC 20 (28 January 2016)
Care proceedings in respect of three children whose mother was believed to be intending to take them to Isis-controlled territory. 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.

Government should think again on British Bill of Rights


The House of Lords EU Justice Committee has today published its report on the Government’s proposal to introduce a UK Bill of Rights.

The Committee says the evidence they received makes ‘a forceful case’ for the Government to think again on the policy.

The report says that the Government’s proposals:

  • Will not depart significantly from the existing Human Rights Act.
  •  
  • Are likely to “affirm” in a Bill of Rights all the rights contained within European Convention on Human Rights [as Stated by the Secretary of State], making the necessity of a Bill of Rights unclear.
  •  
  • May damage the UK’s standing within the Council of Europe and the EU, and its moral authority internationally.
  •  
  • May, lead to an increasing reliance on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK courts if the scope of the Human Rights Act is reduced.
  •  
  • Risk constitutional upheaval with the devolved nations, with the consequence that the proposed UK Bill of Rights could end up as an English Bill of Rights.

Commenting Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws, Chairman of the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee, said:

“Our evidence from the Secretary of State for Justice was the first time the Government has explained why it wants to introduce a British Bill of Rights. The arguments seemed to amount to restoring national faith in human rights and to give human rights a greater UK identity. The proposals he outlined where not extensive, and we were not convinced that a Bill of Rights was necessary.

“Many witnesses thought that restricting the scope of the Human Rights Act would lead to an increase in reliance on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK courts, which has stronger enforcement mechanisms. This seemed to be a perverse consequence of a Bill of Rights intended to give human rights greater UK identity

“We heard evidence that the devolved administrations have serious concerns about the plans to repeal the Human Rights Act. If the devolved Parliaments withheld their consent to a British Bill of Rights it might very well end up as an English Bill of Rights, not something we think the Government would want to see.

“The more evidence we heard on this issue the more convinced we became that the Government should think again about its proposals for a British Bill of Rights. The time is now right for it to do so.”