Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just found this on Wikipedia...

Re Davies: Family found in contempt for failure to comply with location order

Only yesterday I wrote a post on the Marilyn Stowe Blog about the ECHR case Pakhomova v Russia, which involved a father taking the child from the mother and refusing to disclose the child's whereabouts. 'Anonymous', obviously with a fathers' rights chip on his shoulder, commented on that post by suggesting that such a case would not be noted if it were the mother taking the child, as it is considered that "this is just fine".

It most certainly is not, as a mother's family have found to their cost in Re Davies [2013] EWHC 3294 (Fam), reported today on Bailii.

The case concerned a five year old girl whose parents were not married. A contact order was made in favour of the father in June 2011. In March 2011 the mother applied for a cessation of contact, claiming that she had to move abroad to find work. Sometime after that, she left the jurisdiction, taking the child with her. Enquiries by the Tipstaff suggest she flew to Russia.

The father attempted to enforce the contact order, and subsequently applied for wardship. Eventually, on the 8th of October 2013 the High Court made a location order. The maternal grandmother was ordered to attend court to give all and any information within her knowledge as to the current whereabouts of the child and of the mother.She attended court along with her husband and gave evidence to the effect that she had no idea where her daughter was, and had no means of contacting her.

The location order was then served upon the mother's sister by the police, who suspected she was in breach of the order and indicated that they were minded to arrest her. The maternal grandparents were called to look after the sister's child. At that point, the Police Sergeant explained to all three of them the reason they were there and urged them to provide any information in order to prevent the arrest of the sister. The Police Sergeant stated that the grandmother then said loudly, 'I can't, I can't, I won't. They'll take the baby away'.

All three were subsequently arrested and brought before Mr Justice Keehan. After hearing their evidence he was in no doubt that they were all lying, for one reason: they knew full well where the mother and child were, but refused to tell the court because they did not want to assist in any respect in the attempt to try and secure the return of the child to the jurisdiction of the court. He was satisfied that they also had the means of communicating with the mother but they had sought to obfuscate that position and they had not told him the truth about the communications that they had had with her.

Accordingly, he found all three to be in contempt of court. Sentencing was adjourned, to enable them to obtain legal representation. Meanwhile, all three were remanded in custody, with the proviso that if any of them wished to provide the information as to the mother's whereabouts that Mr Justice Keehan was sure they had, they were entitled to apply to purge their contempt.

Now THAT is a scary Halloween costume...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Family Lore Clinic: What is the difference between a consent order and a financial order?

A straightforward one this week.

Technically, a 'consent order' is any order that is made 'by consent', i.e. with the agreement of both parties.

However, the term 'consent order' is most often used to refer to orders setting out the agreed financial/property settlement on divorce. Used in this way, therefore, a consent order is a financial order, although obviously the term 'financial order' can also refer to orders that are not made with the agreement of the parties - i.e. orders imposed by the court.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

News Update: 29th of October 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

'Disastrous' drop in out-of-court mediation for divorcing couples
The number of divorcing couples using special out-of-court sessions to settle disputes over property and children has collapsed in the wake of legal aid cuts. Old news perhaps, but interesting that it is now being picked up by a national newspaper. Full story: The Telegraph.

Tougher requirements for independent social work providers rejected
The government has dismissed calls to strengthen requirements for GP-style social work practices to employ registered social workers. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

The President sets out need for cultural change
The President has highlighted the need for cultural change in the family courts in his latest View on the progress of reform [see under Articles, below]. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Welfare benefits cap may force domestic violence victims to stay with their abusers
Research led by the Chartered Institute of Housing into the initial impact of the welfare benefits cap in Haringey has suggested that there are unintended consequences for domestic violence victims. Full story: Family Law Week.

New bulletin for children and young people’s advocates published
The first edition of the Local Government Ombudsman's bulletin for children and young people's advocacy organisations is now available. Full story: Family Law Week.

Hague Child Support Convention Explanatory Report published
The Hague Conference on Private International Law has published the Explanatory Report on the Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. Full story: Family Law.

Jail social workers who take children without telling parents why, says Britain's top family judge
The country’s most senior family judge yesterday launched a furious attack on social workers who failed to tell parents why their children were being adopted – and suggested that in future the same offence could carry a jail term. The Daily Mail's take on Re W (A Child). For another, possibly more accurate, take see this post on Pink Tape and this story on Family Law Week..

Japan to accede to Hague Convention on Child Abduction on 1st April 2014
The Japan Times reports that the Japanese government proposes to accede to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction on 1st April 2014. Full story: Family Law Week.

Professionals risk failing to spot abuse if they rely on children talking about it
Practitioners' need to build trusting relationships with children emphasised by research project. Full story: Family Law Week.

NSPCC helpline receives 50 calls about neglect each day
Referrals about 18,345 neglected children were made to social services or police in 2012/13 following calls to the NSPCC free, 24-hour helpline, according to report. Full story: Family Law Week.

Family courts sign CPS joint protocol for information sharing
The CPS has published a joint protocol for information sharing in child abuse cases. Full story: Family Law.

Re K (Contact Order: Posed Risk by Father) [2013] EWCA Civ (18 Oct 2013)
Appeal by father against dismissal of residence application and supervised contact order, where the judge had found that he posed a risk to the child. Appeal dismissed. Report: Family Law.

Matthews v Matthews [2013] EWCA Civ (21 October 2013)
Appeal by wife against refusal to make a nominal maintenance order. Appeal dismissed. Report: Family Law.

X Local Authority v Trimega Laboratories & Ors [2013] EWCC 6 (Fam) (04 October 2013)
Application by four parties to care proceedings for wasted costs orders against Trimega Laboratories Ltd, arising out of an error made by Trimega in a report following blood alcohol testing. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post below.

R (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1240 (6 September 2013)
Application by mother for permission to appeal against care and placement orders. Application granted in part. Full report: Family Law Week.

S (A Child), Re [2013] EWCA Civ 1254 (24 October 2013)
Residence proceedings. Appeal by step-father against findings of fact against him. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

F (a child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1277 (23 October 2013)
Second appeal against the making of a placement order. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post below.

A v D [2013] EWHC 2963 (Fam) (1 August 2013)
The mother, who was the victim of very serious domestic violence, sought an order revoking the father's parental responsibility. Held, the high threshold for terminating the father's parental responsibility had been met. Report: Family Law. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post below.

View from the President's Chambers 7
The process of reform: changing cultures. Full article: Judiciary of England and Wales (PDF).

Children: Public Law Update (October 2013)
John Tughan, barrister, of 4 Paper Buildings reviews important recent cases of which all public law practitioners ought to be aware. Full article: Family Law Week.

Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 25 October 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

‘Family Law Reform: Some Missing Views’ by Rebekah Wilson
"I fear there is another view not being talked about so forcefully within the reform of family justice and in particular care proceedings. These are the views of the current Lord Chancellor, Mr Chris Grayling." Full post: Garden Court Family Law Blog.

Human error in the lab
X Local Authority v Trimega 2013 [above] (this one may make you shudder, as you think of all the cases where scientific results have played a part in the decision). Full post: suesspiciousminds.

A v D: Traversing the threshold to terminate parental responsibility
A brief summary of A v D (Parental Responsibility) [2013] EWHC 2963 (Fam) [above]. Full post: Family Lore.

Placement orders v Court of Appeal part 8
Re F (A child) 2013 [above] - Another Placement Order overturned on appeal (not sent back for re-hearing this time). Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Unravelling the Triad
The judgment of Mostyn J in Lancashire County Council and R 2013. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Monday, October 28, 2013

News Podcast: For the week to the 28th of October 2013

A summary of the top family law news stories from the last week, in the usual short, easy-to-listen, format.

(If you can't see the audio player above, try refreshing your browser. Alternatively, you can listen to the podcast here.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Something for the Weekend: The Marmalade - Reflections Of My Life

I heard this on the radio recently, for the first time in a long while. It seemed to strike a chord.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A v D: Traversing the threshold to terminate parental responsibility

Mr Justice Roderic Wood
A brief summary of A v D (Parental Responsibility) [2013] EWHC 2963 (Fam).

It is not often that a father's parental responsibility is revoked, but that is what happened in A v D.

The facts were that the parents were not married. There is one child of the relationship, A, who was born on the 13th of January 2009, although both parents have other children. The father acquired parental responsibility for A when the mother registered him as the father on A's birth certificate.

According to the mother, the parents' relationship swiftly deteriorated, with the father becoming increasingly controlling and, at times, violent. In 2009 the father was convicted of assaulting the mother and in December 2011 he subjected the mother to a "prolonged and vicious" assault, including stabbing and strangling her. He also threatened to kill her and to have the house shot at with the children in it if she went to the police. Following the assault the mother fled her home and whilst she was away it was burgled and a police car that was placed outside it for the protection of the family was set on fire. On the 28th of December 2011 the father was arrested and in June 2012 he was sentenced to two years' immediate imprisonment for causing grievous bodily harm with intent and three years' imprisonment for false imprisonment of the mother. He also had a string of previous convictions for various offences, including ten offences against the person.

Needless to say, the mother's heath was affected by the father's behaviour. Amongst other things, she has been diagnosed as suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. The child had also been affected, suffering from nightmares, displaying highly distressed behaviour and self-harming. Above all, said Mr Justice Roderic Wood hearing the case, he had a need for continuity and stability.

The mother and child are now living at a confidential address. However, she had been advised by the police that when the father is released from prison she would face a real risk to her life and limb if he found her. Accordingly, in an attempt to protect herself and the child and make sure they were not traceable, the mother applied for a residence order, an order permitting her to change the child's name and an order revoking the father's parental responsibility.

The father did not oppose the applications. An email and a fax that he sent to the court were regarded as not being a full consent. Both Cafcass and the court attempted to persuade him to attend court to give his views, but he declined.

As to the law on termination of parental responsibility, Mr Justice Wood followed the authority of Mr Justice Baker in CW v SG [2013] EWHC 854 (Fam), namely that before such an order was made he should be satisfied:
1. That if the father did not have parental responsibility it is inconceivable it would now be granted to him; and
2. That there is no element of the bundle of responsibilities that make up parental responsibility which this father could, in present or foreseeable circumstances, exercise in a way which would be beneficial for the child.
Mr Justice Wood was so satisfied. In fact, he said that:
"The mother has effortlessly traversed the high threshold required to lead me to terminate the father's parental responsibility, and has done so fulfilling the necessary burden of proof and standard of proof."
He went on:
"To leave the father as a joint holder of parental responsibility would lead to the mother having perforce to have dealings with the father which would, on any objective view of the evidence, be intolerable to her, and which would more probably than not lead to a profound instability for her, with the inevitable consequences for the deterioration in the arrangements for the children as she sought to combat the seriously undermining effects upon her of such an intrusion."
As to the name change:
"Anything proportionate which reduces the chance of revealing to the father A's and thus her whereabouts is to be avoided. A change of name from his currently unusual ones will help achieve that end..."
Lastly, as to residence, Mr Justice Wood stated that strictly an order was not necessary, but he felt that it would be appropriate because it recognised the reality of the care arrangements and would give the mother a sense of security as to the court's approval of her arrangements.

What I've been writing about this week on the Marilyn Stowe Blog

My posts on the Marilyn Stowe Blog from the last seven days:

What are family lawyers talking about this week? - a review of last week's top family law news stories.

Mittal: Clarifying where divorce proceedings should take place - a look at the Mittal v Mittal case.

Taylor v Taylor: looks can be deceptive - a discussion of Taylor v Taylor.

Married tax breaks, for better or worse - a look at the topical issue of tax breaks for married couples.

Helping litigants in person - with particular reference to A Handbook for Litigants in Person, recently published by the judiciary.

Marilyn Stowe is the founder and senior partner at Stowe Family Law and is also the founder of Stowe Family Law Settlements, a specialist ADR practice.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Family Lore Clinic: I have a letter of consent from 3 yrs ago allowing me to take my child to Australia. Is this still valid?

It is not clear whether this relates to taking the child to Australia for a holiday, or to permanently relocating to Australia. In either event, I would say that the answer must be "no".

If you wish to take your child abroad you must first obtain the written consent of the other parent (and anyone else with parental responsibility), or failing that the approval of the court. (If you have a residence order in your favour, you may take the child abroad for less than one month, without requiring consent/approval.)

I can't recall any law on the subject (although I would be happy to be told of any), but no matter how it might be worded, my view is that any consent given by one parent can only be valid for a limited time. Certainly, I don't think that it should still be valid after three years. A lot can change in that time, and the other parent may obviously have changed their mind - relying on consent given three years ago runs the risk that a court will say the consent is invalid.

Please note that taking a child abroad without a valid consent from the other parent or the court's approval is a criminal offence.

Taking children abroad, particularly permanently, is a serious issue. This post only takes a very brief look at the subject. If you require further information then you are strongly advised to seek the advice of a specialist family lawyer.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

News Update: 22nd of October 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Children’s Services Directors respond to Ofsted’s criticisms of children’s services
The Association of Directors of Children's Service has responded to Ofsted's National Social Care Report in which it described a lack of stable leadership in may authorities' children's services. Full story: Family Law Week.

Married tax break will leave over a million couples just £1.35 a week better off, new study shows
More than one million couples will be only £1.35 a week better off under David Cameron’s flagship proposal for a married couples tax allowance, according to new research. Full story: The Independent.

Millionaire divorce: 'Yes I own a $3m apartment - it doesn't mean I'm rich'
A husband battling to convince courts he is "bust" during a bitter divorce has told a top judge: "Yes I own a $3.3m apartment - it doesn't mean I'm rich." Full story: The Telegraph.

Court of Appeal upholds English courts’ discretion to stay divorce proceedings under forum conveniens
The Court of Appeal last week handed down an important judgment, confirming that the English courts have power to stay divorce proceedings in England and Wales where there are concurrent proceedings in another non-European country with which the parties have a closer connection. The Mittal case [below]. Full story: Family Law Week.

New adoption scheme launched to help ‘overlooked’ children
A new scheme, developed by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies, is intended to identify and train more adoptive parents for children who, for reasons of age and ethnicity, might currently be overlooked in the adoption system. Full story: Family Law Week.

President considers refusals of permission to oppose adoption prior to Re B-S
Final adoption orders should be deferred to allow time for parents’ appeal. See the W (A Child) case below. Full story: Family Law Week.

Essex courtroom fight heightens security concerns
A violent courtroom incident in which a man attacked his wife and was restrained by the judge has heightened concerns about court security as more litigants appear without legal representation. Full story: The Guardian.

Protocol for sharing information about vulnerable children published
CPS, family courts, social services and schools will cooperate in new initiative. Full story: Family Law Week.

Name-and-shame culture is driving child protection professionals out of the sector
Improvement must be driven from within children's services, not imposed by ministers and Ofsted, the leader of the Local Government Association has warned. Full story: The Guardian.

Reform of the Court of Protection - The President's address
Jordans was honoured to welcome Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division and the Court of Protection to speak at the annual Court of Protection Practice Conference on 14 October 2013. Full story: Family Law.

Independent provider plans could lead to 'privatisation' of social work, warn experts
Allowing all local authorities to hand responsibility for services to GP-style social work practices risks leading to the privatisation of child protection and looked-after children services, it has been claimed. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Lord Neuberger: Legal aid cuts threaten to deny justice
Proposed cuts to legal aid could deny justice to those who need it most, the UK's top judge has warned. Full story: BBC News.

Proportion of babies born in wedlock falls to new low of just 53 per cent
The proportion of babies born to married couples has reached a new low, making up just over half the total number of births last year. Full story: The Independent.

Child protection 'inadequate', Ofsted chief warns
One in seven councils in England are "inadequate" at caring for some of the most vulnerable children in society, the watchdog Ofsted has warned. Full story: BBC News.

Walsall MBC v KK & Anor [2013] EWHC 3192 (Fam) (07 October 2013)
Application in care proceedings for a transfer of the proceedings, and the children themselves, to Slovakia pursuant to the provisions of Article 15 BIIR. Application refused. Full report: Bailii.

A Local Authority v ED & Ors [2013] EWHC 3069 (CoP) (04 October 2013)
Proceedings under the Mental Capacity Act to determine the capacity of a woman in her 30s with a learning disability to make certain decision on her behalf. Full report: Bailii.

C (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1257 (18 October 2013)
Care proceedings. Appeal by maternal grandparent, who had applied for special guardianship, against care and placement orders. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post, below.
W (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1177 (16 October 2013)
Judgment concerning two separate appeals against orders refusing parents leave to oppose the making of adoption orders in relation to their children. Both appeals allowed. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above and the blog post, below.

Lancashire County Council v R [2013] EWHC 3064 (Fam) (11 October 2013)
Care proceedings. Judgment concerning issue of whether injuries to the child were accidental or caused by her father assaulting her. Full report: Bailii.

Mittal v Mittal [2013] EWCA Civ 1255 (18 October 2013)
Appeal by wife against order staying her divorce petition in favour of a petition issued by the husband in India. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii. See also the news item above and the articles, below.

AK and MK (Fact Finding : Physical Injuries), Re [2013] EWHC 3158 (Fam) (15 October 2013)
Fact finding hearing in care proceedings to establish the cause of injuries sustained by one of the children. Full report: Bailii.

MM (A Child : Long Term Fostering / Placement With Family Members : Wishes and Feelings), Re [2013] EWHC 2697 (Fam) (22 August 2013)
Care proceedings. Judgment considering whether the child should be placed in long term foster care or with members of his family. Full report: Bailii.

S-K (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1247 (22 July 2013)
F was appealing against residence and contact orders. The residence order, in favour of M in relation to where the children lived, was appealed on the basis that the older child had expressed a wish to live with him rather than M. The original contact order had given him contact with the children one weekend every 2 weeks but this was reduced to once a month. Permission to appeal was granted in respect of the amended contact order. Full report: Family Law Hub. See also the blog post, below.

Taylor v Taylor [2013] EWCA Civ 1241 (25 March 2013)
Financial provision case where the W complained that a second charge on the FMH in favour of the H's mother was not effective, and that throughout the proceedings the H had failed to make adequate disclosures and had concealed assets. The W was applying for permission to appeal various orders but her application was refused on the basis that there was no reasonable prospect of success. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Re R (Committal) [2013] EWCA (10 October 2013)
Appeals by parents against committal orders for contempt for failure to deliver the child or to inform the tipstaff of his whereabouts. Appeals dismissed. Report: Family Law.

Re M (Care Order: Findings Against Father) [2013] EWCA (4 October 2013)
Appeal by father against findings against in care proceedings. Appeal dismissed. Report: Family Law.

M-T v T [2013] EWHC 2061 (Fam) (15 October 2013)
Judgement in proceedings arising from a dispute as to whether the parties had entered into a valid marriage in Nigeria. Full report: Bailii.

Mittal v. Mittal: English Family Courts Still Open for Business in the Wider World
Tim Amos QC and Duncan Brooks of Queen Elizabeth Building, counsel for the respondent, consider the issues and implications of the Court of Appeal's important judgment in Mittal v Mittal [above]. Full article: Family Law Week.

Alcohol Testing - What are the options?
Julie Stather, barrister, of 42 Bedford Row and Farooq Ahmed, barrister, of 7 Bedford Row consider the advantages and disadvantages of the various methods available for alcohol testing. Full article: Family Law Week.

The Solicitor’s Charge and Sears Tooth
The purpose of this note is to ask whether, in the light of the solicitors' statutory charge (Solicitors Act 1974, s 73(1)), there is ever any need for clients to sign a ‘Sears Tooth' agreement; or, as it is termed in Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, s 22ZA(4)(b) ‘a charge over any assets recovered in the proceedings'. Full article: Family Law.

The Court of Appeal upholds English discretionary forum against Owusu
After much controversy and debate about whether Owusu applied to divorce and related family law proceedings, the Court of Appeal has firmly said that it does not. The Mittal case [above]. Full article: Family Law.

Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 18 October 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

What’s holding back family mediation?
Changes must be made so that more lawyer referrals lead to mediation for disputing couples. Full article: Law Society Gazette.

‘Nothing else will do' - why the ‘last resort' won't necessarily be the last word ...
Following the decision of the Supreme Court in Re B (Care Proceedings: Appeal) [2013] UKSC 33, [2013] 2 FLR (forthcoming) particularly the judgment of Baroness Hale in relation to proportionality and the Court of Appeal in Re B-S (Adoption: Application of s 47(5)) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146, [2014] 1 FLR (forthcoming) the phrase 'nothing else will do' will be one which peppers documents, questions, submissions and judgments in any case involving placement orders or permanent separation from a parent. Full article: Family Law.

It isn’t Re JB, it is Re C
The Court of Appeal case I talked about at the weekend, which decided that the original Judge had not been wrong in making a Placement Order (and thus showing that the Court of Appeal aren’t just going to say “no” to every single Placement Order) is now out on Bailli and is Re C (A Child) 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

No wonder you’re late – why this watch is exactly two days slow
Yet more quest for perfection from the President. Mark this well. Re W (A Child) 2013 [above] . Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Court orders MMR vaccine for children
The High Court has ruled that two sisters must receive the MMR vaccine against their wishes and the wishes of their mother. The F v F case. Full post: UK Human Rights Blog.

The effect of litigation upon children
A summary of the judgment in S-K (Children) [above]. Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog.

“Dual-planning in final care plans– does it exist post Re B-S?”
Cases in the County Court don’t often make it onto Bailii law reports (though at some impending future time they all will), but this one is interesting and potentially important, not least because it identifies a conflict between two existing Court of Appeal authorities - Re D-R (Children) 2013. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Monday, October 21, 2013

News Podcast: For the week to the 21st of October 2013

A summary of the top family law news stories and cases from the past week, in the usual short, easy-to-listen, format (once again, apologies if I sound somewhat nasal - I've not yet shaken that cold!).

(If you can't see the audio player above, try refreshing your browser. Alternatively, you can listen to the podcast here.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

What I've been writing about this week(-ish) on the Marilyn Stowe Blog

OK, I've been meaning to do this every week, but time flies when you're having fun, and it has already been nearly three weeks since I started writing for the Marilyn Stowe Blog. What have I been up to?

Here are my posts from the last two weeks:

Child contact centre campaign - a look at the campaign to promote the statutory provision of funding to child contact centres.

Where is the family court? - a search for the new single family court.

Take the money and… apply for retrospective approval - a look at the Court of Protection case MJ and JM v The Public Guardian.

Silver divorces and faux friends - a post about meddling children of 'silver splitters'.

What are family lawyers are talking about this week? - well, last week, actually.

MMR vaccination and the welfare of children - a look at F v F.

The scourge of the credit card - the effect of credit card debt upon relationship breakdown.

Justice in an age of austerity? - a summary of Lord Neuberger's speech.

The effect of litigation upon children - a look at the S-K (Children) case.

Marilyn Stowe is the founder and senior partner at Stowe Family Law and is also the founder of Stowe Family Law Settlements, a specialist ADR practice.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Review: The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus

The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus

20 Years of Cartoons from the Times 1993-2013

Alex Steuart Williams

£9.99 (paperback) - Published by Law Brief Publishing: October 2013

The Queen's Counsel cartoons by Alex Williams will be familiar to pretty well every lawyer, having appeared on the law pages of The Times since 1993. The cartoons poke gentle fun at the legal profession, in a not dissimilar way to the Babybarista books by Tim Kevan, that I have previously reviewed here and here. Indeed, Tim has written a Foreword to the Omnibus, which is a collection of the author's personal favourite cartoons from the past twenty years, in which he rightly describes the cartoons as "irreverent, funny, intelligent, mischievous and above all hugely likeable".

The book has the cartoon strips arranged in chapters under appropriate headings, such as 'Law School', 'Junior Bar', 'Law Firm Partners', 'In The Courts' and 'Clients'. As an example of what to expect for those few who do not already know I have taken the great liberty (not to mention blatant breach of copyright) of including an example cartoon here, relevant to the subject of this blog (I trust that neither the author nor the publisher will mind):

There is the occasional cartoon strip repeated in more than one chapter, but other than that there is nothing that I could possibly say against the Omnibus. Whether you have read the cartoons previously or not and whether you are a lawyer or just have an interest in the law, dipping into its pages will not just amuse but also produce the odd wry smile when a familiar situation is encountered, such as the holiday file note that should definitely not be read out to the client.

In short, if you want some light relief from all those tedious legal text books, there is no reason why you should not treat yourself to The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus.

The legal profession is often criticised for taking itself too seriously, but the fact that Queen's Counsel is still popular enough to be read by lawyers after all these years should reassure some that at least some of us can take a joke. Alas, The Times is now hidden behind the Great Paywall of Murdoch, but you can still enjoy the cartoons online for free at the Queen's Counsel Cartoon website.

 The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus can be purchased from Amazon, here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Is all fair in marriage and divorce?

I have received the following news release from Goldsmiths, University of London:

Is all fair in marriage and divorce?

Divorce settlements are sometimes fairer on women than marriage, according to research by Professor Carrie Paechter, Head of the Department of Educational Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The research, Concepts of Fairness in Marriage and Divorce, questioned ideas of ‘fairness’ in both marriage and divorce and found that men and women have different, sometimes conflicting, ways of thinking about fairness.

Following extensive research into the literature around fairness in marriage, and from studying the divorce support website Wikivorce, Professor Paechter found that wives tend to think of fairness in terms of equality in marriage – expecting their husbands to work an equal number of hours as they do.

Husbands, on the other hand, tend to think that bigger contributions in one area (particularly bringing more earnings into the marriage) can buy them out of other tasks like cleaning or childcare – an equity-based way of thinking.

Professor Paechter commented: “English and Welsh divorce law has an equality-based approach to fairness, with husbands and wives treated as having contributed equally in their different ways. It could be said that divorce law rebalances some of the unfair situations that women find themselves in when married.”

The research also found that, although wives do more housework and childcare than husbands (even when working full-time), both parties will tell ‘stories’ that rationalise their marriage as ‘fair’. Such stories include: placing more value on jobs traditionally done by men than those done by women; or by saying that the man’s paid work is more stressful than the woman’s.

Professor Paechter identifies four ways in which these differing views of fairness can cause tension around divorce negotiations:
1) They come to divorce with an equity-based notion of fairness which discounts elements of a spouse’s work – such as looking after children being easy work.

2) Differing views around equality. For instance some may expect to have a large amount in assets as compensation if they have scaled back on their career and earning potential to look after children.

3) The question of equality when children are involved, particularly the question over whether the equality should be between two parents, or one parent and the parent-and-children as a unit.

4) Some divorcing partners see their marriage as a contract to behave in particular ways. Upon breach of that contract (particularly adultery) they want to extract penalties for breach of contract.
*          *          *
You can find the full report here.

Family Lore Clinic: Can you appeal against a shared residence order?

A shared residence order is an order stating that a child shall live part of the time with one parent and the rest of the time with the other parent. Presumably, the person who asked this question feels that in their case the court should have made a sole residence order in their favour, possibly with a contact order in favour of the other parent.

I am going to answer the question by making four points that apply to all appeals:

Firstly, you can't generally appeal against an order you have consented to. Accordingly, if the questioner agreed to the joint residence order (and many joint residence orders are agreed), they cannot usually appeal against the order. If they no longer think that the order is in the best interests of the child/children, they can ask the court to vary the order.

Secondly, you will usually require the permission of the court to pursue the appeal. Permission will only be granted if the court considers that the appeal has a real prospect of success, or if there is some other compelling reason why the appeal should be heard.

Thirdly, the appeal court will usually accept any findings of fact by the court below (for example, a finding that an allegation made by one parent is or isn't true). You will not therefore be able to challenge those findings, unless something went very obviously wrong with the process that led to the findings.

Finally, to succeed on an appeal you will have to show either that something went so seriously wrong with the procedure that it made the decision unjust, or that the decision was outside the 'bracket' of reasonable decisions and therefore plainly wrong. As to the latter, it is likely to be extremely unusual to be able to show that a shared residence order was plainly wrong.

Obviously, the above is only a very brief summary of the law on appeals. If you are considering appealing any family court order, you should consult a specialist family lawyer.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

News Update: 15th of October 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Campaign for reform of child neglect law gathers momentum
A campaign to reform the law on child neglect is strengthening in the run up to the second reading of the Child Maltreatment Private Members' Bill on 22 November 2013. Full story: Family Law.

Peer makes fresh attempt at cohabitation rights bill
Lib Dem peer Lord Marks has introduced a new cohabitation bill, just two years after the government decided not to act on the recommendations of the Law Commission. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Court approves Sch 1 compromise agreement despite mother’s breach of terms
Mr Justice Keehan has approved a compromise agreement in respect of a mother's application under Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 notwithstanding that she acted in breach of the agreement. The TW v PL case - see below. Full story: Family Law Week.

Britain's married minority
Married couples have officially become a minority in the UK after the number of people choosing not to tie the knot surged by 3.6 million in just 10 years, final results from the census show. Full story: The Telegraph.

High Court orders two sisters must receive MMR vaccine
A judge has ruled that sisters aged 15 and 11 must have the MMR vaccine even though they and their mother do not want it, BBC Newsnight has learned. The F v F case - see below. Full story: BBC News.

High Court Judge slams 'astonishing' cost of six year Court of Protection battle over
High court judge hits out at legal costs as family fights council decision for six years. Full story: The Independent.

Young carers to receive more support under changes to Children and Families Bill
The government has tabled an amendment to the Children and Families Bill to help improve services for young carers. Full story: Family Law Week.

Baby P council apologises for failings in Child T abuse case
Haringey council says it should have intervened more swiftly in case of toddler who at one point had 50 bruises on his body. Full story: The Guardian.

Kill off outdated family law, says retiring Coleridge
The private sector should take the lead in developing more innovative and ‘daring’ alternatives to the ‘bloodshed, time and cost’ of court, according to a retiring family judge. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Child death reviews: improving the use of evidence
A study investigating how to make better national use of the information collected through the child death review processes. Full story: Department for Education.

Silver splitter surge leaves divorce lawyers with new headache – the meddling children
It is a job which has always required the skills of a diplomat, conflict negotiator, property expert and financial whizz all rolled into one. Full story: The Telegraph.

Ofsted launches new single inspection for children’s services
Ofsted's new single framework for the inspection of local authority services for vulnerable children will come into effect from November 2013. Full story: Family Law.

Cafcass chief wary over recent fall in care applications
The head of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has dampened hopes that a recent decrease in new care applications represents the start of a sustained fall in children needing protection. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Charity chiefs back 'once-in-a-generation' change to fostering law
An alliance of 40 charity chiefs and experts is today urging members of the Lords to seize a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to change the law to give young people in foster care the same start in adult life as their peers. Full story: The Telegraph.

Cafcass private law demand
In September 2013, Cafcass received a total of 3834 new private law cases. This is a 6% increase on September 2012 levels. Full story: Cafcass.

Care applications in September 2013
In September 2013, Cafcass received a total of 830 applications. This is the second lowest month this year and a 6% decrease compared to those received in September 2012. Full story: Cafcass.

Civil Partnerships in the UK, 2012
This bulletin presents annual statistics on civil partnerships that were formed in the United Kingdom in 2012. Full story: ONS.

D - R (Children), Re [2013] EWCC 5 (Fam) (10 October 2013)
Application by local authority for care orders in respect of 6 children, where it had been found that one child had suffered a serious non-accidental injury but the perpetrator had not been identified. Full report: Bailii.

F v F [2013] EWHC 2683 (Fam) (05 September 2013)
Application by father for a declaration and a specific issue order that the children receive the MMR vaccination. declaration made. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above.

LCC v A & Ors (Minors By Their Children's Guardian) [2011] EWHC 4033 (Fam) (26 May 2011)
Application by a local authority to invoke the inherent jurisdiction seeking declarations regarding immunisation injections for children who are in their care. Declarations granted. Full report: Bailii.

TW v PL [2013] EWHC 3078 (Fam) (21 August 2013)
Judgment confirming agreement reached settling Schedule 1 claim was binding notwithstanding that the mother had breached a term that was intended to be included as an undertaking. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above.

W (A Child) v Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council & Ors [2013] EWCA Civ 1227 (11 October 2013)
Appeal by mother against care order made on the basis of a care plan with which the judge did not agree and where the order was opposed by both the local authority and mother.Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post, below.

M-D (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1219 (21 August 2013)
F's application to appeal against a fact-finding judgment, in the context of an application for contact between F and the child, where the judge found that he had inappropriately touched his daughter. Application refused. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Matthews v Matthews [2013] EWCA Civ 1211 (20 August 2013)
Application to appeal various orders in financial remedy proceedings. The W's application to appeal one decision, namely that the judge failed to make an order of nominal spousal maintenance for a limited period in her favour, was allowed. The other grounds were dismissed. Full report: Family Law Hub.

D (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1217 (6 September 2013)
Application by the F to stay a judge's order that the child lives with the M, in circumstances where the local authority's psychiatric assessment of the M was said not to be as comprehensive as it should be. Application granted. Full report: Family Law Hub.

O v O [2013] EWHC 2970 (Fam) (21 August 2013)
Applications by the mother for the return of the child to the USA. Return order made. Full report: Bailii.

TB v DB [2013] EWHC 2075 (Fam) (25 April 2013)
Fact-finding hearing in residence proceedings, dealing with allegations made against the father by the mother. Full report: Bailii.

AW (A Child: Application to Revoke Placement Order: Leave to Oppose Adoption) [2013] EWHC 2967 (Fam) (16 August 2013)
Application by local authority to revoke placement order, and application by parents for leave to oppose the adoption. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post, below.

MJ and JM v The Public Guardian [2013] EWHC 2966 (COP) (22 April 2013)
Application by deputies of person lacking capacity for the retrospective approval of a number of gifts they made from that person's funds. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post, below.

The Public Guardian v C [2013] EWHC 2965 (COP) (22 January 2013)
Application by the Public Guardian for the court to revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney ('LPA') and to direct him to cancel the registration of the LPA. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post, below.

Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 11 October 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

Judicial Window Dressing and Balance Sheets – Where is adoption post-Re B-S?
Andrew Pack, care lawyer with Brighton & Hove City Council, considers the effect on adoption of the Court of Appeal’s landmark judgment in Re B-S. Full article: Family Law Week.

Stuart Clark on International Family Law: Owusu in the Court of Appeal (An Update)
We reported last month that the question of how the ECJ decision in Owusu relates to family law, especially divorce, was due to be heard by the Court of Appeal. It has previously only been considered at High Court level. This note is intended by way of update. Full article: Family Law.

The Gatekeeping and Allocation – Care Proceedings Pilot: Evaluation by Manchester Metropolitan University
A summary of the evaluation of the Greater Manchester Gatekeeping and Allocation Pilot, which ran between April 2012 and July 2013. Full article: Family Law.

Serious case reviews feed the blame culture
The reviews describe rather than analyse what happened, and so the outcomes are of limited value, says Ray Jones, professor of social work at Kingston University and St George's, University of London. Full article: The Guardian.

Suesspiciousminds may have missed out on an award last week, but he's got a full house this week:

We’re going to need a bigger bundle”
The Court of Appeal decision in Re W (A child) v Neath Port Talbot Council 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Yet more Serious Case Reviews
Whatever the collective noun for Serious Case Reviews is (a flurry, a murmuring, an avalanche, a papering, an omphaloskepsis*, a whitewashing?) that’s what we’ve had over the last few weeks. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

A head-scratcher
The decision in Re AW (A Child : Leave to revoke Placement Order : Leave to oppose adoption) 2013 [above] and why it made me blink incessantly whilst trying to figure it out. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

You say “Investing”, I say “embezzling”, let’s call the whole thing off
Suesspiciousminds looks at the Court of Protection case The Public Guardian v C 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Being a deputy is not a licence to loot
A Court of Protection case has recently tackled the issue of a person with considerable financial means but no capacity to manage her affairs, and the deputies appointed by the Court having made extensive ‘gifts’ from her financial estate and seeking retrospective approval for them: MJ and JM v The Public Guardian 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Are we learning anything?
A discussion on Serious Case Reviews, Keanu Williams and Professor Ray Jones. Full post: (you've guessed it) suesspiciousminds.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Anonymous: The triumph of hope over experience

Just a quick post to praise the tenacity of my most prolific commenter Anonymous, who continues to send me spam comments every day, despite having to go through word verification and despite the fact that they are NEVER published. Most are automatically removed by Blogger, and those that get through are deleted by me when I moderate them.

Way to go, Anonymous - blogging would be so much poorer without you.

News Podcast: For the week to the 14th of October 2013

A summary of the top family law news stories and cases from the past week, in the usual short, easy-to-listen, format (apologies if I sound slightly nasal - I appear to have a cold!).

(If you can't see the audio player above, try refreshing your browser. Alternatively, you can listen to the podcast here.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Something for the Weekend: Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Constitutional Peasants

I don't know whether it was the Labour Party conference or what, but I was reminded of this recently. As amusing now as it was all those years ago:

Friday, October 11, 2013

TW v PL: A concluded agreement is binding (again)

Ah, Edgar v Edgar, a case that will bring back pleasant memories of many a family lawyer's student days. Or maybe not.

The brief judgment in TW v PL [2013] EWHC 3078 (Fam), published on Bailii today, dealt with the issue of whether an agreement reached between the parties amounted to an 'Edgar agreement' and was therefore binding upon the parties.

The facts of TW v PL can be stated quickly: the parties agreed to settle the mother's Schedule 1 claim, and a draft order was drawn up by the father's solicitor. The mother then gave an interview to a popular magazine in which she made reference to the father, and to his approach towards the child, of whom he had denied paternity, until a DNA test proved otherwise. The father then sought to withdraw from the agreement, on the basis that the interview given by the mother to the magazine was in breach of various undertakings that the parties had agreed should be incorporated into the agreement.

The matter came before Mr Justice Keehan (as he now is - the TB v DB case I reported upon yesterday was heard just before he was appointed a Justice of the High Court), who found that the mother could not have breached any undertaking, as the agreement had not been signed by the father or approved by the court.

However, the agreement did fall within Edgar (and Xydias) - it was a concluded agreement to which the parties were bound and, as there were no vitiating factors, the father had no grounds for seeking to renege on it.

Mr Justice Keehan therefore approved the agreement and made it into a court order. He did, however, give a warning to the mother:
"She must fully understand this agreement now having been made a court order, those undertakings that she has given are binding upon her and are enforceable and if in further course a court finds that she is in breach of one or more of those undertakings, then she exposes herself and will be liable to punishment by the court either by way of a financial penalty or, at the extreme, by way of imprisonment."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"The dinosaurs have had their day" - Sir Paul Coleridge

Kill off outdated family law, says retiring Coleridge - Law Society Gazette, 19th October 2013

TB v DB: A mother's campaign against the father

A very quick post to mention a case that has just popped up on Bailii, TB v DB [2013] EWHC 2075 (Fam).

The judgment concerns a fact-finding hearing within residence proceedings relating to a five year-old boy, and the case is a sad example of the lengths that a parent will go to to deny the other parent a proper relationship with their child.

The parents separated in July 2009, when the mother left the matrimonial home with the child. The father had to make an application to discover their whereabouts, but eventually achieved contact, in April 2010. Proceedings have continued since.

During the course of the matter the mother made a number of extremely serious allegations against the father and his brother, including that the father had raped her, that his brother had attempted to rape her and that his brother had sexually abused the child. She had also involved both social services and the police in her attempts to pursue those allegations.

Mr Michael Keehan QC conducted the fact-finding hearing to determine the truth of the allegations, and found against the mother on all points. He concluded:
"I regret to find that her actions were not borne of acting in [the child's] best interests but were part of her concerted and long-standing campaign against the father."
We are not told the outcome of the subsequent welfare hearing.

Don't believe a word*

We have all long been cynical about the way that politicians manipulate the news for their own purposes. We even have a word for it: 'spin'. Who could forget the government spin doctor who suggested that September the 11th 2001 would be a good day to bury bad news?

But politicians don't just bury bad news, they also create 'good' news stories that show them and their policies in a favourable light. Unfortunately, politicians are not the only ones...

Part of what I do is monitor family law news stories for inclusion in Family Lore Focus. Call me naive, but I used to think that what I was monitoring was all genuine news - after all, most of the sites I was monitoring were entirely reputable, such as broadsheet national newspapers.

Sadly, this is far from the case.

Lawyers (and, no doubt, many other businesses) regularly manufacture news as a means of advertising themselves. You can see why - after all, how much would it cost to place an advert in a national newspaper?

The 'news' stories typically take one of two forms:

Firstly, there is the story about the survey that the firm commissioned which comes up with results that are sooo interesting. I have already commented about this caper in my last Friday Review.

Secondly, the story that the firm comes up with from their own experience. Someone at the firm notices something that once happened on one of their files, mentions it at a meeting of the firm's advertising department, and that 'something' is 'expanded' into a whole new trend in divorce work, worthy of national coverage.

How does one spot these stories? Well, my advice is to be wary when you see, usually about half way down the page, the Senior Partner at x Firm giving their expert views. Check to see whether the story emanated from their firm. Of course, I have no problem with a lawyer being asked to comment upon a genuine news story, but when they comment upon their own story...

I'm sure the newspapers are fully aware that they are being used, but they get a free news story that they can publish on a quiet news day, so everyone wins.

Or do they?

*Damn, just broken my rule never again to use a song title for a post headline.

Family Lore Clinic: In the UK is the mistress ever required to pay maintenance?

Well, I can only speak for England and Wales, but the answer is simple: no. A 'mistress' (which I take to mean a woman who is in a sexual relationship with a married man) can never be liable to pay maintenance to that man's wife, or for his children.

To give a little more detail (and I will only deal with spousal maintenance, as child maintenance is normally paid via the Child Support Agency), a court cannot order a 'mistress' to pay maintenance to the wife. She is not a party to the proceedings, and the wife cannot claim maintenance from her.

However, if the wife claims maintenance from the husband, the court will take into account the husband's outgoings. If he is living with the 'mistress' and the mistress is working, then that may reduce the husband's outgoings, and therefore increase the amount he has available to pay maintenance for the wife. In those circumstances, the husband could be ordered to pay more maintenance than if he were not cohabiting.

If you require any further details regarding the issue of maintence, then you should consult a specialist family lawyer.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

News Update: 8th of October 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Domestic abuse victims should have right to keep address secret, say campaigners
A woman is calling for new laws to allow victims of domestic violence to withhold their addresses in court to protect them and their children. Full story: The Telegraph.

Birmingham struggles to recruit social workers
More than a fifth of frontline social worker posts are unfilled in Birmingham, it has been revealed. Full story: BBC News.

Local authority tried to move vulnerable teen from residential school without her consent
The Local Government Ombudsman has determined that social workers at Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council caused undue distress to a vulnerable teenager when they tried to force her to move from the residential school she attended. Full story: Family Law Week.

'There's no more learning left to be done', says child protection expert, in wake of Hamzah Khan death
Studying past cases of child neglect is a 'big distraction' for child protection professionals, a leading professor of social work has said, a day after a jury convicted a mother of starving her young son to death. Full story: The Telegraph.

Child Contact Centres Campaign
Napo, the trades union and professional association for Family Court Advisors and Probation Officers, is supporting a campaign to promote the statutory provision of funding to Child Contact Centres and the adoption of minimum standards for the training, support and supervision of Child Contact Centre co-ordinators. Full story: Family Law.

Child protection experts react to Keanu Williams SCR findings
The National Children’s Bureau has called for an urgent review of how best to support children within the child protection system in the wake of the serious case review findings into the death of Keanu Williams. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Clash between wife and mother-in-law behind £10m divorce battle
A personality clash between a millionaire dentist and her "highly controlling" mother-in-law is at the centre of a £10 million divorce battle. Full story: The Telegraph.

Keanu Williams murder: Opportunities missed to save two-year-old
There were "a number of significant missed opportunities" to save a two-year-old boy from being beaten to death by his mother, a report has found. Full story: BBC News.

Cafcass FCA pilot improves care case outcomes
A CAFCASS pilot in Warwickshire and Coventry that introduced Family Court Advisors at pre-proceedings stage has made significant reductions in the number of cases reaching court and reduced the length of care proceedings. Full story: Family Law.

Wife of fallen tycoon to cross-examine Philip Green in £400m divorce battle
The Topshop boss will be questioned by Michelle Young about £80,000 cheques he said he paid to an estate agent. Full story: The Independent.

Tamer Salama jailed again over missing daughter Elsa
A father who has refused to arrange the return of his daughter to his ex-wife has been jailed again. Full story: BBC News. See also the case reports, below.

£100 million to support the education of children in care
Funding to support the education of children in care is to more than double from April 2014, announces Children’s Minister Edward Timpson. Full story: Department for Education.

Majority of girls and young women unaware of domestic violence signs
Three quarters of girls and young women aged between 11- and 21-years-old are unaware of the signs of domestic violence, according to new research launched by Girlguiding. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

New Lord Chief Justice
Sir John Thomas will become the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from today, following the retirement of The Rt Hon The Lord Judge yesterday. Full story: Family Law.

Button v Salama [2013] EWHC 2474 (Fam) (02 July 2013)
Application by a mother to commit the father of their child to prison for contempt of court in relation to the breach of an order requiring him to return the child to England and Wales. Full report: Bailii.

M (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1181 (9 July 2013)
Appeal in respect of a fact finding hearing where the F, who had been found to have abused his daughter, complained that the judgment was deficient. Full report: Family Law Hub.

M (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1170 (04 October 2013)
Appeal by Children's Guardian against refusal of first instance judge in residence proceedings to make findings against the intervener in relation to alleged incidents of abuse. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

A Local Authority v TZ [2013] EWHC 2322 (COP) (31 July 2013)
Judgment in proceedings brought in the Court of Protection as to whether a 24-year-old man has the capacity to consent to sexual relations. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post, below.

Button v Salama [2013] EWHC 2972 (Fam) (27 September 2013)
Application by a mother to commit the father of their child to prison for contempt of court in relation to the breach of an order requiring him to return the child to England and Wales. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above.

S (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1073 (20 August 2013)
Appeal by mother against care and placement orders. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

ET v TZ [2013] EWHC 2621 (Fam) (06 August 2013)
Applications by mother for return of child to Poland and for a declaration of enforcement of a Polish residence order. Full report: Bailii.

H (Father) v B (Mother) [2013] EWHC 2950 (Fam) (23 September 2013)
Wardship application by father where the children had been resident in Bangladesh for five years and there were already proceedings there. Held, jurisdiction had not been established. Report: Family Law. Full report: Bailii.

Wilmot v Wilmot [2013] EWCA Civ 1160 (25 July 2013)
A final order in ancillary relief proceedings was made in 2001, then set aside in 2005 after H's successful appeal, before being reinstated in 2006. A consent order was made in 2007. H applied to have the consent order set aside on the grounds of fraud, to reinstate his appeal against the original 2001 order and to pursue that appeal. Application refused. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 4th October 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

There’s a Ghost in the Matrimonial Home and it’s not the Ex
David Hodson in his international family law opinion piece describes the possible effect of a haunting of the matrimonial home on the divorce financial outcome, as set out in a judgment from a federal magistrate's decision in Sydney, Australia. Full article: Family Law.

Finance and Divorce October 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 September. Full article: Family Law Week.

Capacity to consent to sexual intercourse
Another useful case on this issue from Baker J sitting in the Court of Protection: A Local Authority v TZ 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Low pain threshold
Lucy Reed considers the guidance on drafting threshold documents. Full post: Pink Tape.

Challenging adoption order using human rights
Where a Court has already made an order that a child may be placed for adoption and that has happened and the prospective adopter has applied for an Adoption Order, in what circumstances can a parent seek to stop it going ahead? Full post: UK Human Rights Blog.

“Eggs, eggs, damn all eggs!”
Judicial wrath about the pervasiveness of the word “concerns” in a care case, and the word being used to mask the lack of substantiated evidence or allegations. Re Avon, North Somerset and Gloucestershire Public Law Case 2013. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

When adoption without consent breaches human rights
Re B-S (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146 is the latest Judgment of the Court of Appeal on non-consensual adoption since the Supreme Court authorized a closer scrutiny of first instance decisions in Re B. Full post: UK Human Rights Blog.