News Update: 13th of August 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Job insecurity leaves marriage the preserve of middle-class couples - study
Marriage is becoming the preserve of middle-class couples as growing job insecurity leaves blue-collar workers reluctant to commit to long-term relationships, new research suggests. Full story: The Telegraph.

High workloads jeopardise care for vulnerable children
Heavy caseloads mean many independent reviewing officers are unable to fulfill their potential to help children in care, a study has found. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Forced marriages: School holidays prompt warning
Teachers, doctors and airport staff need to be alert to the problem of forced marriages over the school holidays, the government has warned. Full story: BBC News.

Latest Cafcass figures for private law and care applications published
Cafcass has issued figures for the number of private law applications and care applications received in July 2013. Full story: Family Law Week.

Court awards £54m to wife in biggest ever divorce payout
A divorced wife was today awarded £54 million by a judge — the biggest payout in a contested marriage split. Full story: London Evening Standard.

Funding boost in search for adopters
Adoption charities in England are to be given an extra £16m to help tackle a backlog of children in care waiting for an adoptive family. Full story: BBC News. See also this press release from the Department for Education.

Daughter taken from parents after social workers 'misunderstood' information
Social workers and police swooped on a family home and removed a gravely ill little girl from her loving parents' care, after what was termed by judge as a 'feeding frenzy' of misinformation. The Re E case. Full story: The Telegraph.

Marriage a secondary consideration for would-be parents, poll shows
Only a minority of young people who plan to start a family intend to get married first, a study shows. Full story: The Telegraph.

Research indicates women become much happier after divorce
Men feel ‘slightly happier’ after divorce, according to Kingston University project. Full story: Family Law Week.

Sikh woman asks court not to annul marriage to mentally disabled man
A woman who was subjected to an arranged marriage with a man who has severe mental disabilities begged a High Court judge not to annul the union because it would consign her to permanent spinsterhood and ostracism by the Sikh community. The Sandwell MBC v RG case. Full story: The Telegraph.

Woman with learning difficulties will be forcibly checked for possible cancer, judge rules
A woman with severe learning difficulties who has refused to undergo medical examinations for a possible cancer of the uterus will be sedated and forcibly treated, a High Court judge ruled today. Full story: The Independent.

‘Silver’ divorces show marked increase since the 1990s
Divorce statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics show that the number of people getting divorced each year has been falling steadily since the mid-1990s. However, the number of people aged 60 and over divorcing has been rising during this period. Full story: Family Law Week.

M (A Child), Re [2013] EWCA Civ 1007 (26 June 2013)
Care proceedings. Application by mother for permission to appeal against refusal of application for residential assessment direction and refusal to discharge interim care order. Application refused. Full report: Bailii.

Smith v Bottomley & Anor [2013] EWCA Civ 953 (29 July 2013)
Appeal against order that cohabitee entitled to a share in property owned by appellant. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii. See also the article below.

G (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1017 (9 July 2013)
F's appeal against orders which refused direct contact between him and his children, imposed a s.91(14) order for a period of five years and that F, who was a litigant in person before the court, should pay the mother's costs. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Family Law Hub. See also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

Cart v Cart [2013] EWCA Civ 1006 (07 August 2013)
Application for permission to appeal against refusal of application for permission to appeal out of time against ancillary relief order and of application to set aside that order on grounds of material non-disclosure. Application refused. Full report: Bailii.

A NHS Trust v Dr. A [2013] EWHC 2442 (COP) (27 March 2013)
Application by NHS Trust in respect of a man who is on hunger strike in the Trust hospital. The relief sought by the Trust is a declaration that he lacks capacity to litigate and to make decisions in respect of his nutrition and hydration; and that it is lawful for the Trust to administer artificial nutrition and hydration. Full report: Bailii. See also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

An NHS Foundation Trust v M & K [2013] EWHC 2402 (COP) (24 May 2013)
Application by the NHS Foundation Trust for declarations in relation to the medical treatment of a young man who was born with a congenital abnormality of the brain. Full report: Bailii.

Re A (Abduction: Children’s Objections: Domestic Violence) [2013] EWCA (23 July 2013)
Appeal by father against refusal of return of children to Norway, based upon the objections of the children, who had witnessed an incident of domestic violence upon the mother. Appeal dismissed. Report: Family Law.

Re B (Looked After Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 964 (30 July 2013)
Appeal by local authority against decision that a child was a looked after child following the grant of an interim residence order in favour of the grandparents. Appeal allowed. Report: Family Law.

Mediation: reasonable growth
The government is introducing measures which it says will take pressure off the courts and tribunals, and in the case of family law disputes fill the gap left by cuts to legal aid. But many practitioners say the policies have not been properly thought through – and may actually hinder the use of mediation. Full article: Law Society Gazette.

Full pleading of a claimant’s case; and detrimental reliance
"Smith v Bottomley and Coach House Properties Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 953 [above] is an object lesson in penalties for parties for inadequate pleading; and (perhaps) reminds family lawyers of the strict application of rules as to implied trusts - especially in relation to detrimental reliance to establish a constructive trust." Says David Burrows, in this article on Family Law.

Finance and Divorce August 2013 Update
Jessica Craigs, senior solicitor and David Salter, Joint Head of Family Law at Mills & Reeve LLP analyse the financial remedies and divorce news and cases published in July. Full article: Family Law Week.

Kinship foster carers’ allowances
On 24 July 2013 the Court of Appeal handed down a landmark decision for kinship foster carers, confirming that they should not be paid less than unrelated foster carers simply on the basis of a familial relationship. Full article: Law Society Gazette.

This week suesspiciousminds continues his push towards a well-deserved Commentator of the Year Award:

“Man of Straw and costs”
Making a costs order in private law proceedings against a man with no ability to pay – the Court of Appeal decision in Re G (Children) 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Inherently nothing, nothing inherently
A (hopefully short) discussion about the inherent jurisdiction, particularly as it applies to adults. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Deprivation of liberty and force-feeding
The Court of Protection grappled with a difficult issue in A NHS Trust v Dr A 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Open justice but closed mouths?
"The juggle to balance calls for a more transparent and open system of family justice against the rights of families and children to privacy has been the subject of significant debate in recent years." Says Sarah Wright. Full post: Family Law Blog.

Laying down a marker – the Court of Appeal speaks on analysis of welfare checklist
Suesspiciousminds examines G (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 965 (30 July 2013). Full post: suesspiciousminds.

“Capacity to marry”
Sandwell MBC and RG, GG and SK and SKG 2013 and whether an arranged marriage where the individual had no capacity should endure or be dismantled. Full post (you guessed it): suesspiciousminds.


  1. Am I alone in being appalled at the suggestion that airport staff should "watch out" for signs that a forced marriage is intended?

    When you fly out, you present your tickets and passports to an airline clerk whose job is to be sure that they are in order and that you will be admitted where you are going - or have a return ticket if you are not. It is not that clerk's business why you are flying and such a question is rightly met with the answer "Mind your own business". The same is true of the "agent" at the gate - often the same personn.

    The only public official you encounter is the one who - sometimes - gives a cursory look at your passport. If you are an adult and you have a valid passport then in the absence of clear intelligence that e.g. you are on bail you have a right to travel; and if your child has a valid passport that is conclusive too.

    Imagine the uproar, imagine the allegations of racial stereotyping, imagine the possible claims for damages, if a family going about their legitimate business missed their flight because some busybody check-in or gate clerk or immigration officer got the wrong vibes!

    If the youngster concerned started shouting No, Help, They are trying to marry me off - that is another story. That would call for intervention. But failing that - come on. Let's get real.

    1. I certainly wouldn't want that to be added to my job description!


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