Sunday, December 31, 2006
January - The Courts Service announces a 1000% rise in court fees. The cost to issue a divorce petition will now be £3000. The Lord Chancellor's Department denies that the rise is motivated by the desire to reduce court waiting times.
February - The Lord Chancellor gives himself a 1000% pay rise, but denies that this has anything to do with January's announcement.
March - The Child Support Agency announces that uncollected child support payments now total more than £4 billion. The Agency responds by cutting staff.
April - Breakaway fathers' rights group The Real Families Need Fathers 4 Justice carries out it's most audacious stunt to date when group Chairperson Ollie Nosworthy dresses up as Tony Blair and announces that this year he will be paying for his own holiday.
May - Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills decide to settle out of court. Their lawyers are spotted in a bar near the Law Courts crying into their dazzle cocktails.
June - The Child Support Agency announces that uncollected child support payments now exceed £5 billion. Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton responds by granting himself a pay rise.
July - Lord Carter is mugged by a group of tramps in Chancery Lane. Reports that the muggers were all out of work legal aid solicitors are denied by the Legal Services Commission.
August - Ollie Nosworthy is seen holidaying at Tony Blair's new villa in Tuscany.
September - The Child Support Agency announces that uncollected child support payments are now more than £6 billion. The average time between a parent claiming child support and receiving any payment is now 17 years and 11 months.
October - The House of Lords gives its judgment in the landmark case of Black v Black. On divorce, wives will now receive all of their husband's assets, save where the husband can show a 'galactic contribution', in which case he gets to keep the family pet.
November - The Child Support Agency announces that uncollected child support payments now total more than £7 billion. The agency's replacement, C-MEC, denies that recovering the arrears will prevent it from doing its job.
December - The last firm to offer a legal aid service, Messrs. Brow, Beaten & Bankrupt of Little Sodbury finally closes it's doors. The three-mile long queue of new clients reluctantly makes its way to the nearest C.A.B..
Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Much of the rest of today's announcement by Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton is not news, having been mentioned/hinted at/leaked already. However, there are some interesting points:
- Importantly, the CSA's 3.5 billion pounds of debt will not be written off - good news for those thousands of parents waiting for payment, although how much of this will ever be seen is another matter.
- The proposals include a plan to make it compulsory to have the father's name recorded on the birth certificate 'to help future enforcement', although I'm not sure exactly how this is going to work.
- Extra enforcement powers "will include the imposition of new curfews and the surrendering of passports, piloting mandatory withholding of wages as the first means of collecting maintenance and exploring [with?] the financial services sector new powers to collect maintenance from accounts held by financial institutions". So, we may have attachment of earnings without any failure to pay, and garnishee "orders".
- Removal of the requirement to apply to the courts for a liability order before taking enforcement action. It makes me nervous that the Commission will be free to take enforcement action without the independent 'check' of the court.
- Powers to recover debt from estates of the deceased. I was going to make a joke about not being able to rest in peace, but then I remembered that some parents have been driven to suicide by how much they have been required to pay.
- Lastly, the CMEC will charge the non resident parent for it's services. I'm sure this will go down well with NRPs.
Monday, December 11, 2006
What better gift to give on the anniversary of His son's birthday?
[Edit: I suppose to be PC, I should mention other religions, especially in these sensitive times. Unfortunately, however, I can't vouch for whether the God Detector will work for Allah, Zeus, Wotan or whichever other god you are waiting to hear from.]
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The report tells us that the number of parents going to prison for non-payment of child support rose to 22, from six in 2005. A hard-liner would be disgusted that only 22 out of thousands of parents who wilfully refuse to support their children are sent to prison. On the other hand, those who are more liberally-minded would be appalled that anyone has been sent to prison - after all, it is over 130 years since imprisonment for debt was abolished. Who benefits from imprisonment? Certainly not the children, who are denied contact with one of their parents.
The report also confirms that the Child Support agency has been making greater use of debt collectors to collect unpaid money, as they are apparently far better at doing this than the Agency itself. This makes me nervous. I am sure there are many reputable debt collection agencies, but there are also many unscrupulous ones that use intimidatory methods that are of dubious legality.
Lastly, the report mentions the "fear that more than £1bn owed to parents will be written off when the agency is replaced", and gives the example of one parent to whom some £10,000 is owed. This may not be much if you are a premiership footballer, but to most ordinary people (and, more importantly, their children) such a sum can make all the difference.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Of course, many non-lawyers reading this might think that £38 per hour isn't a bad rate of remuneration, but that is because they have little inkling of just how much solicitors' overheads (premises, staff, equipment, insurance etc.) are, or the fact that a large proportion of a solicitor's average working day simply isn't chargeable.
It doesn't take a genius to work out why firms are giving up legal aid work in their droves - the only surprise to me is that so many are still prepared to do it. Obviously, they must be driven by a sense of public duty rather than the profit motive, but in the end a sense of public duty won't pay the bills.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Up until now prospective members of Resolution have had to be nominated by two existing members and recommended by the relevant regional committee. However, there have been concerns that some potential members have difficulty securing two nominations, for example those from minority groups and young solicitors. The regional committee review has also been challenged as "a closed shop which is capable of serving the business interests of those sitting on the committee". Accordingly, it is proposed that both requirements will be dispensed with, and replaced by a new requirement that applicants display a greater knowledge of Resolution's Code of Practice, by having to attend a course on the Code during their first year of membership.
Adherence to the Code by Resolution members has always been a thorny issue. What do you do if you feel that a fellow member is not adhering to the Code? The Code itself is being revised to make it shorter and to emphasise the approach to be taken by members to their work, thereby making it easier for members to identify what is required of themselves and their colleagues. In addition, members are being encouraged to discuss with other members why a particular communication from them could be construed as offending a particular paragraph of the Code, with the aim of resolving the issue by discussion. In this way, it is hoped that the complaints and disciplinary process will only be used as a remedy of last resort.
Personally, I'm in favour of anything that increases membership and promotes the constructive, non-confrontational ethos of the association. Unfortunately, much work remains to be done to dispel the public's perception of family lawyers as self-serving people who only make matters worse.
Perfect for those times when you're waiting for your next appointment to show up!
Friday, December 01, 2006
Are you listening, Lord Falconer?
In another post Nick Holmes berates the use of Google ads on (most) blogs. As anyone who has been here before may know, I did run Google ads for a while, but I stopped a few months ago - why get paid peanuts for the privilege of having other people's adverts plastered all over your blog?
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
It is a basic principle of international child law that the proper forum for the resolution of disputes relating to children is the court of the country where the child habitually resides. Whilst it is regrettable that the matter could not be resolved by agreement, it is pleasing that this principle has been upheld. The case was decided by reference to the Protocol signed in January 2003 by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the then President of the Family Division and The Hon Mr Justice Sh Riaz Ahmad, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The first paragraph of the Protocol sets out the principle. However, the relevant paragraph reads:
If a child is removed from the UK to Pakistan, or from Pakistan to the UK, without the consent of the parent with a custody/residence order or a restraint/interdict order from the court of the child’s habitual/ordinary residence, the judge of the court of the country to which the child has been removed shall not ordinarily exercise jurisdiction over the child, save in so far as it is necessary for the court to order the return of the child to the country of the child’s habitual/ordinary residence.
In this case the child's mother, Louise Campbell, had been granted interim custody by the Court of Session in Edinburgh last June and therefore the Pakistan court has ordered the return of the child to Scotland, the country of her habitual residence. The problem with the Protocol, of course, is that it would not have required the child's return if her mother had not already
obtained the interim custody order, despite the fact that Scotland is clearly the country of the child's habitual residence. This problem is likely to be particularly common in England and Wales, where the 'no order principle' means that in most cases there will not be a residence order in favour of the parent with whom the child usually resides - unless that parent has had the foresight to apply for an order in case the other parent should remove the child to Pakistan without his/her consent.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I'm not sure that I'm very well placed to comment on the report. As I may have mentioned before, I have not had a lot of domestic violence work since I gave up legal aid - I'm not sure whether this is because domestic violence is more prevalent amongst the under privileged (although it is certainly not unique to them), or whether it is simply because few victims can afford to pay for private legal help. I would say, however, that it is interesting that the campaign, which is a coalition of charities, includes in it's definition of 'violence' not only domestic violence but also such obscenities as forced marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and "so-called ‘honour’ crimes and killings". These are targets that are ingrained in ethnic and religious ideologies, and will take a sustained international effort to eradicate. I wish the campaign every success.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Personally, my preference would be for some reintroduction of the court-based system (say, for cases where there had been no payment within a certain period of time), thereby giving control back to the parties. The court-based system is still in existence (although whether the courts have capacity to deal with the extra workload is another matter), and I have been doing this work long enough to remember using it regularly - it was not perfect, but a damn sight better than the Child Support Agency that replaced it. Unfortunately, the government is only concerned with cost, and therefore it is extremely unlikely that there will be any new money for legal aid to enable low-income parties to use the courts.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
The story does not state whether Mr McGuire took legal advice before issuing his claim - if he did, I hope he was advised in the strongest terms not to pursue the matter.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Amongst the advantages of transparency, it seems to me, is the opportunity to dispel the myth that there is a gender bias against fathers within the family justice system, and that the bias operates, in particular, improperly to deny non-residential fathers contact with their children. I do not doubt that there are cases in which contact between non-residential fathers and their children is not ordered when the principal reason for the breakdown of contact is the attitude of the children's mother. But in my experience, it is far more common for contact to break down due to the behaviour of the non-residential father.
And for one of the disappointed fathers: "If, in his eyes, I now join the ranks of the biased and the time-serving, the public will, I hope be in a position to judge the fallacy of that approach from the publication of the judgments of this court in his case."
To anyone aggrieved at the system, I would strongly recommend a thorough reading of this case.
One might almost be led to the view that, when it comes to post-separation arrangements for children, there are just two clouds on the horizon - either you may have a violent man or an obstructive woman. For the discussion to be framed in these terms, even when the group in question is not represented directly, demonstrates the destructive power of pressure groups and their simplistic mantras.
Strong words. I'm not sure that I am entirely comfortable with lumping these two groups together, but I certainly agree that we must not fall into the trap that so many politicians seem to fall into of making new law on the basis of who shouts loudest, without looking at the whole picture.
Friday, November 10, 2006
For an eloquent explanation of why religious commitment is not intrinsically deserving of respect see this excellent article by A C Grayling in the Guardian Unlimited.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The report of the case is interesting for Mr Justice Munby's exposition of the principle that legal proceedings should be conducted in public and should be fully and freely reported. As he points out, it has long been established (contrary to popular opinion) that this principle applies to family proceedings just as much as to other sorts of proceedings. However, as he also points out, there have also long been exceptions to the principle (including in non-family areas), one of which is proceedings relating to children - he cites Lord Shaw of Dunfermline in the 1913 case of Scott v Scott who gave the reason for this exception as that children should not suffer "the consequence of placing in the light of publicity their truly domestic affairs". He then goes through the modern statutory provisions and deals with the balancing exercise between publicity and privacy, concluding that, in this case, publicity should prevail. Of particular interest is the following passage of his judgment:
He goes on to state: "there is another important aspect of the problem that has to be taken into account: the unfortunate fact that the rule of confidentiality facilitates the dissemination of false and tendentious accounts of proceedings in family courts, which in turn tends to further undermine public confidence in the system". How very true. Whether this case helps to restore public confidence remains to be seen.
The other element of great importance, as it seems to me, in the present case, is what I have referred to as the public interest in maintaining the confidence of the public at large in the courts and, specifically, in the family justice system. This is not merely a point of general application. It has, at it seems to me, a particular resonance in this particular case. Rightly or wrongly, correctly or otherwise - and for present purposes it matters not which - the media have suggested that the parents and their children A, B and C have been, and that the parents and [the other child] are at risk of being, the victims of a miscarriage of justice. In these circumstances there is a pressing need for public confidence to be restored - either by the public and convincing demonstration that there has not been a miscarriage of justice or, as the case may be, by public acknowledgement that there has been. That is not, of course, the purpose of the current proceedings, and it is very possible that the outcome of the judicial process, whatever it may be, will not be a clarity and certainty that all will accept. But as few obstacles as possible should be placed in the way of the media doing their job.
Monday, November 06, 2006
This problem is only going to be exacerbated by the Carter legal aid reforms, with estimates that hundreds more firms will be giving up legal aid. It is heartening, therefore, to see The Law Society fighting for changes to the reforms which might encourage at least some of those firms to continue to provide a legal aid service. The Society has written to the Lord Chancellor "setting out a formula that could make the Carter reforms work", including postponing the reforms by at least twelve months "to allow a proper assessment of the impact", an immediate increase in all rates of 5% and an annual increase in line with inflation in each of the years of transition (2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10). I can't see it happening but we can only hope...
The full text of the letter can be found here.
Friday, November 03, 2006
There is one point upon which I do not necessarily agree with Bystander. He/she says that the girlfriend "will of course get the house". If by this it is meant that the house will be transferred to the girlfriend simply because the children will live with her, that is of course not the case - unless she has or can prove an interest in the house, then the fact that the children are living with her will only give her at best the right to reside there with them until they reach 18 or cease full-time education.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Firstly, celebrity lawyer Raymond Tooth is quoted as saying: "A rich man in my view should not marry a poor woman. If he does, then he must have a pre-nuptial agreement". Fair enough, advise a client to enter into a pre-nuptial, but did he really say a rich man should not marry a poor woman? Is he really so materialistic that he considers that wealth, or lack of it, should determine whether two parties marry? I find such a concept as abhorrent as the nonsense that someone from one religious or ethnic background should not marry anyone from a different background.
The second point is the claim in the article that "the average cost of ending a marriage through the British courts is about £13,000 per divorce". Where did this figure come from? I assume the programme will shed some light on this, but it surely cannot take into account the vast majority of divorces that are undefended and where all ancillary matters are resolved by agreement. For the majority of family lawyers who do not represent the rich and famous costs anywhere near this figure are a comparative rarity. Unfortunately, seeing such a figure quoted by as reputable an organisation as the BBC will strike fear into the hearts of many who are contemplating divorce, and add to the general public's loathing of the profession.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
If there is one good thing that comes out of all of this I hope it will be that the case is the best advert for the modern, conciliatory, approach to family matters - the approach taken here can surely only be a disaster for all concerned, especially the child.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
[Memo to self: must put some pictures of beaches on Family Lore!]
I'm sure the Law Commission will give considerable weight to the views of the C of E. However, what amuses me about the response is it's reference in paragraph 14 to addressing "situations that fall short of biblical ideals". Exactly what 'biblical ideals' are they referring to? Perhaps the ideal that homosexuality is a sin, or maybe even the ideal that a man should stone his wife to death if he discovers she is not a virgin? Of course, I'm certain that any member of the Church of England will say they do not agree with stoning wives (although no doubt many will still say homosexuality is a sin), but this is because of their own morality, not the teaching of the Bible. Why should the laws of this country be so influenced by the 'moral guidance' of religion?
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Only one thing I would say about all fathers' rights sites and organisations: what about all those mothers who are denied contact with their children? I know some of these sites/organisations provide help to mothers too, but a lot of mothers will be put off by the word 'dads' or 'fathers' in their names.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
- That there should be a legal presumption of reasonable parenting time for children and both parents, in the event of parental separation;
- That a shared residence arrangement should be the normal arrangement when there are two fit, capable parents;
- That there must be a good reason for delaying or preventing contact between a child and parent; and
- That those making maliciously false allegations in a family court should face the charge of perjury.
I certainly agree that there is rarely a good reason to deny a child contact with one of it's parents and that unfortunately all too often contact is opposed for no good reason (although sometimes the parent with the child genuinely but erroneously believes that there is a good reason to deny contact). However, I think that most of the professionals involved in the family courts system will take exception to the allegations by the party that they are "ignorant" or "lazy". I'm sure that there is scope to improve the system, but I wonder whether groups such as this are expecting too much from any system, when the real problem surely lies with the attitude of parents who are using denial of contact as a weapon against their former partners - an attitude that I doubt will change with the threat of criminal proceedings.
Friday, October 06, 2006
So far as divorce itself is concerned, there are the usual calls for the introduction of a no fault system, but what I found most interesting were some of the comments made regarding the recent cases on ancillary relief (to non-lawyers: financial/property cases). In particular, Lord Justice Thorpe expresses his concerns at courts rather than parliament effectively reforming the system:
Agreed, although whatever parliament says it will, of course, still be up to the courts to interpret the law. On this subject Resolution Chairman Andrew Greensmith complains that the interpretation of the law is being left to the courts to decide in the big money cases: "because it is only people in big-money cases that can afford it, we end up with a distorted picture which we then have to apply to Mr and Mrs Bloggs". Agreed again - I have commented on more than one occasion previously about the relevance of such decisions to parties of more modest means.
"I don’t think it is for judges to introduce a virtual equality presumption when dividing assets. You could say that the effect of White (White v White (2001) 1 AC 596), which introduced the “yardstick of equality”, was to introduce a sort of community of property regime. However, my position has always been that it is for Parliament to reform the law of ancillary relief."
Thursday, October 05, 2006
For the benefit of non-lawyers, a financial consent order is an order setting out the terms of an agreed financial/property settlement on divorce and, usually, dismissing all other financial/property claims, thereby ensuring that the settlement is final. Before the court makes the order it requires both parties to provide a few brief details of their financial circumstances, so that the court can ensure that the order it is being asked to make is fair and reasonable.
The problem arises when, as happens quite often, one party is perfectly happy to accept less than they might be entitled to. There could be many reasons for this that do not affect the court's decision, such as guilt at being the party responsible for the breakdown of the marriage, genuine belief that an equal division of assets would be unfair, or simply not being interested in material things. Would it not be best if the court granted such people the order they want, provided it is satisfied that they understand what they are doing, and that there has been no duress or undue influence?
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
What is it about paedophilia that causes such mass hysteria these days? It's not as if it is a new phenomenon. I've not seen any of the alleged 'pro-paedophile blogs', and nor do I know their addresses, so I don't know what they contain, but if they have been brought to the attention of Blogger then it seems that the Blogger Terms of Service ('BTS') contain everything that is required to deal with the situation, in paragraph 12:
It's been brought to my attention that Blogspot has become some what of a haven for what can only be described as "Pro-Paedophile Activists."
So far I've uncovered roughly 30 pro-paedophile blogs and have been urging others to flag them (I'll send ya a copy if you want) as Blogspot has asked me to do.
What I would like your help with, is to use your position as a member of Blogspot and put pressure on Blogspot to take action.
With great concern,
"Member agrees: ... not to use the Service for illegal purposes ... Member agrees not to transmit through the Service any unlawful, harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, or harmful material of any kind or nature. Member further agrees not to transmit any material that encourages conduct that could constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any applicable local, state, national or international law or regulation."
"Pyra [the company that owns and operates Blogger] may, at its sole discretion, immediately terminate Service should Member's conduct fail to conform with these terms and conditions of the BTS."
Surely, we must let Blogger deal with the matter in accordance with their Terms of Service, rather than resort to 'mob rule'? If these blogs contain criminal material and Pyra fails to act then it could itself be liable to criminal sanctions. If, on the other hand, the blogs contain nothing that contravenes the BTS, then we must allow them to continue, even if we don't like what they say.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Professor Dawkins devotes a whole chapter to the subject, entitled "Childhood, abuse and the escape from religion". In it he deals with a number of issues, but one of the most disturbing is the rise of faith schools in this country. He gives the example of the Emmanuel College in Gateshead, set up under the present government's policy to encourage rich benefactors to put up a relatively small sum of money to found a school, with the government paying the rest, plus all running costs thereafter. As stated on the front page of it's website the college "proudly bases its ethos upon the Christian Faith and Biblical Principles". What is not included on the website is the text of a lecture that the college's head of science gave at the college on 21 September 2001, on 'The Teaching of Science: A Biblical Perspective'. I'll repeat a couple of the quotes from the lecture that Dawkins gives:
- "...we stand firm upon the bare proposition that God has spoken authoritatively and inerrantly in the pages of holy Scripture. However fragile, old-fashioned or naive this assertion may ostensibly appear, especially to an unbelieving, TV-drunk modern culture, we can be sure that it is as robust a foundation as it is possible to lay down and build upon"; and:
- "...Christians, with very good reason, reckon the Scriptures of the Old & New Testaments a reliable guide concerning just what we are to believe. They are not merely religious documents. They provide us with a true account of Earth history which we ignore at our peril".
As Dawkins says, you have to pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming. These are the words of the head of science at a school in 21st century England! Interestingly, the text of the lecture appeared on a christian website, but was quickly removed after Dawkins publicised it in The Daily Telegraph. Unfortunately for the school, it can still be found here.
Worried about the implication that the scriptures provide a literal account of geological history, Dawkins, together with eight other senior scientists, including Sir David Attenborough, and eight bishops wrote to Tony Blair, only to receive a 'perfunctory and inadequate' reply referring to the school's good examination results and OFSTED report. As Dawkins says: "if the OFSTED inspectors gave a rave report to a school whose head of science teaches that the entire universe began after the domestication of the dog, there might just be something a teeny weeny bit wrong with the standards of the inspectorate".
Monday, October 02, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
In it's response to the Law Commission's consultation on cohabitation, Resolution suggests that if a couple have been together for two years or more, the protection should be automatic, unless they choose to opt-out of the system, but financial support should last for only three years at most, other than in exceptional circumstances. The consultation period is about to end, on the 30th September, so we must now await the Commission's Final Report, due in August 2007.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
Dawkins has today published his first book exclusively on the subject of religion, The God Delusion. To quote from the blurb, Dawkins "eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children".
Further details of the book can be found on The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science website, including a review by Joan Bakewell, here. The book can be purchased via Amazon, here.
I have just purchased the book and am very much looking forward to reading it. I may even do my own review at a later date.
Friday, September 22, 2006
The existential approach to counselling involves helping clients to realise that they are responsible for their lives, both in terms of what has happened to them and in terms of building a new life for themselves. Inevitably the realisation that we are all free to make life-changing decisions can provoke feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, and the counsellor helps the client to deal with this in a positive way.
Further information on this subject can be found on Diana Pringle's website, here.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
A typical case in point is when trying to negotiate a financial/property settlement. Instead of getting on with the negotiations, the other solicitor will embark upon a lengthy and expensive fishing expedition through my client's means, in the apparent hope that they will turn up some previously undisclosed offshore bank account. Of course, we are all under a duty to ensure we have a full picture of the other party's means before advising our client upon a settlement, but the reality is that most people have a pretty good idea of their spouse's means. Requests for information from the other side can easily be limited to those matters not within our client's knowledge, such as pension valuations. Instead, the other solicitor will demand full disclosure by way of exchange of Form E financial statements. For the uninitiated, a Form E is a 27-odd page document which goes into great detail about all aspects of that person's financial circumstances, and which requires considerable time, effort and expense to complete. It is true that before applying to the court for a financial/property settlement we are all supposed to follow a 'Pre Application Protocol', the aim of which is to ensure that "disclosure and negotiation take place in appropriate cases", and that the Protocol recommends the Form E as a guide to the format of disclosure. However, nowhere in the Protocol does it require one party to disclose matters that the other party is already fully aware of, and the Protocol does specifically state that disclosure and negotiation should be dealt with cost effectively. Don't get me wrong, I do suggest voluntary exchange of financial statements in appropriate cases; all I wish is that other divorce lawyers would stop and consider what is actually required before firing-off their demand for them, and not automatically assume my client has something to hide if I dare to suggest that they are not necessary.
Monday, September 18, 2006
The findings of the survey are interesting. Some 80% of all respondents thought that assets should be split 50-50 or that settlements should recognise the contribution of a stay-at-home parent, although 33% also thought that short marriages should result in small payouts. A huge 90% thought that poor conduct should either definitely be taken into consideration or possibly, depending on the circumstances (suggesting that current law is out of touch with most people's views) and 25% considered pre-nuptial agreements to be a waste of time because they are currently not enforceable in UK divorce proceedings. On the value of marriage 67% of all respondents agreed with the statement that ‘marriage reinforces your commitment’, although only 30% of those aged between 16-24 said they believed in the value of marriage. More worryingly, when asked which of 10 well-known figures would they want to be their divorce lawyer, the clear winner, with more than a quarter of the vote, was Sir Alan Sugar! As ASB say, when it comes to choosing a divorce lawyer "it appears that the UK public (both sexes and all ages) favours overwhelmingly the rottweiler/Grand Inquisitor approach". So much for the principles of Resolution and the Family Law Protocol...
Full results of the survey can be found on the ASB Law website, here.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I note that the new Practice Direction on court bundles in family proceedings will not apply to County Court cases listed for one hour or less. Hopefully, District Judges will follow this, and only order bundles for longer hearings.