News Update: 26th of November 2013
WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update. Hold on, it's a long one...
Family courts ‘are not a talking shop’, Ryder LJ says
He gives guidance on 'more inquisitorial process' for litigants in person [in Re C (A Child), below]. Full story: Solicitors Journal.
New Child Maintenance Service opens to all new applicants
The new Child Maintenance Service for separated parents to support their children has opened to all new applicants. Full story: Department for Work and Pensions.
2012 statutory child maintenance scheme: Aug 2013 to Sept 2013: experimental statistics
Experimental statistics on the 2012 child maintenance scheme administered by the Child Maintenance Service for Aug 2013 and Sept 2013. Full story: Department for Work and Pensions.
“Worrying lack of awareness” about divorce process risks increasing cost & stress of break-ups
Couples risk increasing the stress and cost of divorce settlements because of a “worrying lack of awareness” about a wide variety of non-court based solutions according to relationship experts, following the publication of new polling published today (25 Nov). Full story: Resolution.
'Clare's Law' to cover all of England and Wales after pilot scheme
"Clare's Law", which enables women to check the police record of a new boyfriend, will be expanded to cover all of England and Wales. Full story: BBC News.
Businessman Scot Young hid £40m from estranged wife, judge rules
Mr Justice Moor says £20m should go to Michelle Young in divorce after she claimed husband had fortune of 'a few billion'. Full story: The Guardian. See also below for the law report, articles and blog post.
Divorcee begs judge to save her from financial ruin after ex husband stole £700,000 from friends and family
Husband used bank and Betfair accounts in his ex wife's name to run a "Ponzi" scheme. Full story: The Telegraph.
Russian court rules 'abducted' children to return to UK
A north London mother has won a landmark ruling to get her children back from Russia after they were abducted by their father. Full story: BBC News.
New draft standard Financial Remedy Orders out for consultation
Latest draft standard orders for family cases released for consultation, including a comprehensive financial remedies 'omnibus' consent order. Full story: Family Law Hub.
Child Support Agency quarterly summary statistics: September 2013
A statistical report providing figures on caseloads, enforcement, appeals, collections and outstanding arrears. Full story: Department for Work and Pensions.
Hundreds of thousands of children could lose over £70 of child maintenance per year in collection charges, show latest statistics
As the government prepares to open the new Child Maintenance Service (CMS) for all new applicants, and starts the countdown to the introduction of fees to use the new CMS and the phased shut-down of all existing Child Support Agency cases, new government statistics published today show just how many children – who currently depend on the CSA to collect child maintenance – could lose out. Full story: Gingerbread.
Social workers under 'phenomenal pressure'
Child protection services in England are under more pressure than ever, the Association of Directors of Children's Services is warning. Full story: BBC News.
Britain's 130,000 estranged fathers
Study reveals one in eight divorced fathers has lost all contact with their children. Full story: The Telegraph. [The study also found that "the overall picture of contact between fathers and non-resident children is a positive one."]
The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No. 12 and Savings Provisions) and the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 15) Order 2013
This Order brings into force provisions of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 for the purpose of applying new rules for calculating child support maintenance to all cases other than existing cases.
M v M  EWHC 3372 (Fam) (1 November 2013)
Application by wife for indemnity costs followings findings amounting to serious litigation misconduct by the husband and respondent companies in proceedings under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. Applications granted. Full report: Family Law Week.
Tchenquiz -Imerman v Imerman  EWHC 3627 (Fam) (22 November 2013)
Judgment explaining reasons for disclosure order requiring beneficiaries of offshore discretionary trusts to disclose copies of documents which had been provided to them for the purposes of an application which had been made to the Royal Court of Jersey by the trustee of some of those trusts. Full report: Bailii.
Young v Young  EWHC 3637 (Fam)
Judgment in high-profile financial remedies application. Full report: Judiciary of England and Wales (PDF). HTML version: Bailii. See also the news story above and the articles and blog post, below.
C v D  EWHC 2989 (Fam) (30 September 2013)
Hague Convention proceedings brought by father seeking return of child to Spain. Return order made. Full report: Family Law Week.
L, Re (Leave To Oppose Making of Adoption Order)  EWCA Civ 1481 (21 November 2013)
Appeal by mother against refusal to grant her permission under section 47(5) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 to oppose the making of an adoption order. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.
D, Re (Leave To Oppose Making of Adoption Order)  EWCA Civ 1480 (21 November 2013)
Appeal by mother against refusal to grant her permission under section 47(5) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 to oppose the making of an adoption order. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.
C (A Child), Re  EWCA Civ 1412 (21 November 2013)
Appeal by father against order refusing direct contact, where there had been an assumption of alleged facts against father when the court had not conducted a finding of fact hearing. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above and the blog post, below.
AT & Ors v London Borough Of Islington  EWCA Civ 1505 (14 June 2013)
Application for permission to appeal against dismissal of claim for judicial review of decisions of local authority, including failure to assess the needs of two children as "children in need". Application refused. Full report: Bailii.
A & B (Children), Re  EWHC B22 (Fam) (29 January 2013)
Care proceedings in which one child had died and another had sustained injuries. Full report: Bailii.
BB (A Minor), Re  EWHC 2747 (Fam) (26 April 2013)
Care proceedings involving a Ghanaian boy who was not the child of the people who purported to be his parents. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post, below.
W, Re  EWHC 3570 (Fam) (09 October 2013)
Application for parental orders by the biological parents of children, who were carried by a surrogate mother. Full report: Bailii.
G v B  EWHC 3414 (Fam) (07 November 2013)
Judgment following hearing of wife's financial remedies application, in which she claimed that the husband had failed to disclose assets. Full report: Bailii.
C (A Child)  EWCA Civ 1491 (28 June 2013)
Application for permission to appeal a Schedule 1 order in which the M was the non-resident parent. The judge had refused her application for regular maintenance payments, provision for her to remain in the house she had shared with the child for 11 years and a lump sum to refurbish the property. The application for permission to appeal was refused. Full report: Family Law Hub.
W (Children)  EWCA Civ 1488 (20 August 2013)
Mother's appeal against an order that the child's name be changed so that his middle name was that of his father. The appeal was allowed to the limited extent that the decision should be made again, on the basis that the judge had not applied the right test. Full report: Family Law Hub.
Surrey County Council v Al-Hilli & Ors  EWHC 3404 (Fam) (04 November 2013)
Special guardianship orders made in favour of aunt and uncle of two girls whose parents were killed. Full report: Bailii.
Assoun v Assoun  EWCA Civ 1457 (16 October 2013)
Financial provision case where the H was arguing against a ruling that he was in a prosperous position and therefore could afford to pay for his W's legal costs as well as his own. H complained that the judge had failed to look into the means of the W, because H said that she did have available money to obtain legal services for the purposes of the proceedings, whilst he did not. The H's application for permission to appeal was refused but the judge said 'woe betide his wife if it turns out that the basis on which she obtained this substantial order turns out to be false'. Full report: Family Law Hub.
P (Children)  EWCA Civ 1475 (22 October 2013)
Application by M's partner for permission to appeal a finding that it was more likely than not that M's daughter had suffered a non-accidental injury and that the perpetrator was her partner. This finding was made even though the judge said that the medical evidence was equivocal. The application was granted because the judge considered not only that there was an argument with a real prospect of success but also that the seriousness of the consequences for the partner provided a compelling reason to grant permission. Full report: Family Law Hub.
Family: applications for freezing orders
"The comprehensive judgment of Mr Justice Mostyn in UL v BK (Freezing Orders: Safeguards: Standard Examples)  EWHC 1735 (Fam) is absolutely essential reading for any practitioner specialising in financial remedy applications." Full article: Law Society Gazette.
Thoughts on Case Management and Control of Evidence after Young and on the Threshold of the New Family Court
"Can the court's criticism of Mrs Young's costs be placed at its door, rather than hers?" Asks David Burrows in this article on Family Law.
Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 22 November 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.
Young v Young: The Outcome
Philip Cayford QC and Anthony Geadah, both of 29 Bedford Row, consider the outcome of the Young saga [above] and identify some of the legal issues highlighted by Mr Justice Moor in his judgment. Full article: Family Law Hub.
Are the Alarms Bell Ringing? Identifying a potential Hague Convention case and responding appropriately
Mandeep Gill, associate solicitor with The International Family Law Group LLP, considers the recent cautionary reminder given by Mr Justice Bodey that all practitioners must be able to identify whether there are potential Hague Convention implications in any children case with an international element. Full article: Family Law Week.
Inheritance Act Claims – Delay at your Peril
“Nicola Phillipson, Zenith Chambers, examines the case of Berger v Berger where the Court of Appeal refused permission to the appellant to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 almost six years out of time.” Full article: Zenith Chambers (PDF).
Rearrange these three letters – F, W, T
"This is the private law case of Re C (A child) 2013 [above], and frankly, the Court of Appeal missed a trick in not naming it Re (WTF?) 2013." Full post: suesspiciousminds.
Islamic “marriage” ceremony at home declared invalid by Court of Protection
A look at A Local Authority v SY  EWHC 3485 COP. Full post: UK Human Rights Blog.
When parents aren’t parents
The unusual features of Re BB (A Minor) 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.
The leave to oppose Tsunami
As anticipated, since Re B-S showed practitioners that the historically high (perhaps even insurmountable) test for leave to oppose adoption applications had been too high, and too heavily weighted in relation to the factor of potential disruption to the child in placement, the appeals have started to come in. Full post: suesspiciousminds.
Young v Young – a cautionary tale
Most practitioners will be familiar with the long running case of Young v Young [above] and the wife’s efforts to prove that the husband was not insolvent but rather that he had hidden substantial assets in order to defeat her claims. Full post: Family Law Blog.
The use of ISWs in care proceedings
Dr Julia Brophy's paper "Neither Fear Nor Favour: The views and practices of senior judges regarding the use and value of independent social work expertise in care proceedings". Full post: Family Law Week blog.