Wednesday, July 31, 2013

PM v MB & Anor: The father who blamed everyone... but himself

Lord Justice Ryder
A summary of PM v MB & Anor [2013] EWCA Civ 969, which involved a father's appeal against the refusal of parental responsibility and the making of a s.91(14) order. It is a warning to fathers in particular that they should look to themselves before blaming others, and that turning their case into a campaign against the family justice system can be counter-productive.

Very briefly: The father's applications for parental responsibility and direct contact were dismissed and a s.91(14) order made. The father was granted permission to appeal regarding the parental responsibility and s.91(14) decisions. His appeal was dismissed.

In a little more detail, the child 'M', a boy, was born in 2002 and is therefore now eleven. The parents, who were not married, separated in February 2007. The father continued to have a "significant relationship" with M until December 2008, when he removed M from school without notice, and disappeared with him, returning him to school the next day. The mother then applied for residence. The father had supervised contact until February 2011, but refused to participate in the hearing that month, and M has not seen him since.

In March 2012 the father applied for contact and parental responsibility. The applications were heard in October 2012. The court accepted the evidence about the father from a psychologist, which was as follows:
"the father presents as an individual who is rigid and inflexible in his thinking, being egocentric and preoccupied, displaying a certain degree of paranoia, traits that are likely (to be) linked to his personality functioning…

The father appears to be an individual who can be defiant, unco-operative and difficult to get along with when he perceives others disagreeing with his views or if they fail to meet his needs in some way…He believes that others are persecuting him, being unable to reflect upon his own actions or responsibility…

When his relationship with the mother broke down, the father struggled to accept this, remaining enmeshed, attempting to seek to have his needs met by the relationship, albeit in a different form. …the father continues to display narcissistic, paranoid tendencies and remains unable to see issues from any perspective other than his own. He continues to see himself as blameless, portraying himself as a victim of parental alienation and a corrupt system in which professionals are biased and take sides and his rights as a father are violated. […]

the locus of enmeshment may well now have shifted to [M] as the father has evolved an idealised view of their relationship and is now preoccupied with the 'fight' to have contact with him."
The father's oral evidence to the judge confirmed the psychologist's evidence:
"He said that he was angry and outraged at the suggestion there should be any supervision of his contact for which he saw no reason. He found it demeaning. He said he would never give up his struggle to see [M] and that he had become a campaigner for children."
As indicated above, the judge refused the parental responsibility application, ordered indirect contact only and made a s.91(14) order for two years. The father sought to appeal, but permission was limited to the parental responsibility and section 91(14) decisions.

Giving the leading judgment on the appeal, Lord Justice Ryder said that:
"This is not a case where the court, the professionals or the mother are, as father believes, "conducting a witch-hunt against him" with biased, unprofessional or dishonest material. Quite the contrary, it was clear on the material before [the judge] and at that time that it was father who represented a risk to his own child and would continue to do so until he realised he needed help or otherwise came to accept the un-contradicted expert evidence about him that existed."
On the parental responsibility appeal, Lord Justice Ryder found no error on the part of the judge. It is telling (and surely not untypical in cases such as this) that the judge identified the 'key issue' as the father's reasons for making the application:
"the father spoke of wanting to exercise his "rights" in respect of [M] and, while the existence of such an order would not entitle the father to intervene in [M's] day-to-day life, I am satisfied that the father would not see it in that way and that his principal aim would be to seek to exercise control over [M] and thereby, indirectly, over the mother"
How many family lawyers have not heard similar?

On the s.91(14) appeal, Lord Justice Ryder was succinct:
"In coming to the conclusion that an order would be proportionate the judge took account of M's present wishes and feelings and father's evidence that this is a crusade that he would never give up. The guardian's evidence which the judge accepted was that M needed to be free of the burden of litigation as did mother ... The judge's reasoning for the order he made was properly constructed out of the evidence he accepted about father. The risk from which the judge sought to protect M was lucidly described and the judge was right to attribute responsibility to father for the heightened risk caused by the use of internet discussion media to campaign about this litigation. In my judgment the section 91(14) order was made in accordance with principle and was neither disproportionate as a response to the facts nor in its nature and extent."
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed. Lord Justice Beatson and Lord Justice Lloyd gave concurring judgments.

Family Lore Clinic: How often is a prohibited steps order granted?


Something slightly different this week, as the questioner is not seeking actual legal advice.

A prohibited steps order is a type of "private law" (i.e. not involving the local authority) children order, as are residence, contact and specific issue orders. A prohibited steps order is "an order that no step which could be taken by a parent in meeting his parental responsibility for a child, and which is of a kind specified in the order, shall be taken by any person without the consent of the court". Examples of prohibited steps orders are orders preventing one parent from removing a child from their school, or from taking them abroad.

The latest court statistics (for the first quarter of this year) indicate that 17 per cent of children involved in applications for private law orders were involved in applications for prohibited steps orders. However, prohibited steps orders were only made for 11 per cent of children involved in orders actually made.

Note, however, that applications for one type of order can result in a different type of order being made, so not all prohibited steps orders were necessarily made following applications for prohibited steps orders.

Notwitstanding that, the above figures suggest that prohibited steps orders are not actually made in a large proportion of applications. Of course, this does not mean that no order at all was made - the court may have made a different type of order.

Having said that, the kind of things covered by prohibited steps orders varies considerably, so I'm not too sure that it would be valid to draw any definite conclusions from the figures.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

News Update: 30th of July 2013


WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

NEWS
Financial 'agony aunt' left penniless after losing court battle over ex-husband’s fortune
A financial agony aunt left penniless and on the brink of homelessness has lost her battle to get more money from a man she divorced more than 20 years ago. Full story: The Telegraph.

Child Maintenance Service reaches next stage
The new Child Maintenance Service (CMS) will open today (29 July 2013) to new applicants with 2 or more children. Full story: GOV.UK.

Lord Justice Thorpe retires
Lord Justice Thorpe, Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales, retires from the judiciary on 30 July, his 75th birthday. Full story: Family Law Week.

Local authorities’ financial support of foster carers must not discriminate against family and friends
The Fostering Network has welcomed a Court of Appeal ruling (X, R (on the application of) v London Borough of Tower Hamlets - see below) that local authorities in England may not discriminate against family and friends foster carers in the financial support they provide in line with requirements previously published by the Government. Full story: Family Law Week.

Council takes two years to respond to complaint about children’s services
Derbyshire County Council has taken more than two years to respond to a woman's complaint, despite assuring the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) three times that it would investigate. Full story: Family Law Week.

Online sperm donor ordered to pay maintenance for child after judge rules he is the father
A sperm donor who fathered a child with a woman he met through an unofficial website has been ordered to pay for maintenance after a judge ruled he is the biological father. The M case - see below. Full story: The Telegraph.

Judge begs couple to end 'financial suicide' in £850,000 divorce battle
A High Court judge told a divorcing couple they had committed “financial suicide” after running up legal bills of more than £850,000. The Sekhri v Ray case - see below. Full story: The Telegraph.

Young children who witness domestic violence show later aggression
Social workers need to consider the longer term effects of exposure to violence, research suggests. Full story: Family Law Week.

BAAF urges government for post-adoption support
The British Association for Adoption & Fostering is calling upon the government to make the provision of post-adoption support a statutory requirement of adoption agencies across the UK. Full story: Family Law Week.

David Cameron's tax breaks are "symbolic", IFS says
David Cameron's tax breaks for married couples are largely "symbolic" because marriage provides little benefit to the development of children, according to leading economists. Full story: The Telegraph.

Decline of marriage has led to family breakdown, senior judge warns
Sir Paul Coleridge, a High Court judge who started the Marriage Foundation, argues that the decline of marriage has contributed to the doubling of family breakdown since the 1980s. Full story: The Telegraph.

Fears for independent social workers as 80% consider leaving the profession
The controversial fee cap for expert witnesses has forced 80% of independent social workers to find alternative sources of work or consider leaving the profession altogether. Full story: Community Care.

Tug-of-love mother 'acted on instinct' when she ran away with her children
A British mother embroiled in an international tug-of-love dispute was acting on “instinct” when she abducted four of her five children, the High Court heard. Full story: The Telegraph.

STATUTE
Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013
An Act to make provision for the marriage of same sex couples in England and Wales, about gender change by married persons and civil partners, about consular functions in relation to marriage, for the marriage of armed forces personnel overseas, for permitting marriages according to the usages of belief organisations to be solemnized on the authority of certificates of a superintendent registrar, for the review of civil partnership, for the review of survivor benefits under occupational pension schemes, and for connected purposes.


STATUTORY INSTRUMENT
The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No. 11 and Transitional Provisions) 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 certain applications made on or after 29th July 2013 and certain cases linked to those applications.

PRACTICE GUIDANCE
Protocol of 19 July 2013: Communications between judges of the Family Court and Immigration and Asylum Chambers of the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal
On 19 July 2013, the Senior President of Tribunals and the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice issued a protocol on communications between judges of the Family Court and Immigration and Asylum Chambers of the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal. Full story: Family Law.

CASES
K v London Borough of Brent & Ors [2013] EWCA Civ 926 (29 July 2013)
Aplication by grandmother for permission to appeal against care order. Application granted and appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

K (A Child: Wardship: Publicity) [2013] EWHC B11 (Fam) (25 July 2013)
Wardship proceedings. Judgment dealing with issue of whether the parents could discuss the case with the media. Full report: Bailii.

Surrey County Council v A-H (Children) & Ors [2013] EWHC 2190 (Fam) (22 July 2013)Care proceedings. Judgment addressing issue of the circumstances in which representatives of the media should be excluded from attending family proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

Surrey County Council v A-H (Children) & Ors [2013] EWHC 2299 (Fam) (26 July 2013)
Care proceedings involving two children whose parents were killed. Full report: Bailii.

D-L (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 936 (22 May 2013)
Appeal in a contact case where the local authority and guardian had made recommendations as to the level of contact between the children and F, but the judge had departed from the experts' recommendations without explaining why. Appeal allowed. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Sekhri v Ray [2013] EWHC 2290 (Fam) (23 July 2013)
Dispute concerning whether the court had jurisdiction to entertain the wife's petition, in a case where both parties were resident in Singapore. Held, the court did have jurisdiction. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story, above.

TB v DB [2013] EWHC 2274 (Fam) (25 April 2013)
Fact finding hearing in connection with residence application, dealing with allegations made by the mother. Full report: Bailii.

TB v DB [2013] EWHC 2275 (Fam) (26 April 2013)
Judgment following fact finding hearing, dealing with whether a shared residence order should continue, or a sole residence order be made in favour of the father. Full report: Bailii.

N v N (BIIR: Stay of Maintenance Proceedings) [2012] EWHC 4282 (Fam) (5 October 2012)
Application by Dutch wife for periodical payments under s.27 MCA, from Swedish husband. Husband asked the court to decline jurisdiction. Jurisdiction declined. Report: Family Law.

CtL, CmL, TLP, ARP, MM and JB (Children) (Fact Finding: Protection From Sexual Harm), Re [2013] EWHC 2133 (Fam) (01 March 2013)
Care proceedings. Fact finding hearing relating to allegations concerning six children. Full report: Bailii.

CtL and CmL (Children) (Welfare Hearing: Expert Report), Re [2013] EWHC 2134 (Fam) (21 June 2013)
Care proceedings. Welfare hearing following lengthy fact finding hearing. Full report: Bailii.

X, R (on the application of) v London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2013] EWCA Civ 904 (24 July 2013)
Appeal by local authority against declaration that their policy on payments to foster carers was unlawful in that they discriminated on the grounds of pre-existing relationship with the child between family and unrelated foster carers. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story, above.

M [2013] EWHC 1901 (Fam) (05 July 2013)
Application by mother for a declaration under s.55A of the Family Law Act 1986 that the respondent is the legal parent of her child. Application granted. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story, above.

CB v CB [2013] EWHC 2092 (Fam) (10 April 2013)
Child abduction. Application by mother for return of child to Australia. Application dismissed, on the basis of the child's objection to being returned. Full report: Bailii.

V (Children), Re [2013] EWCA Civ 913 (23 July 2013)
Care proceedings. Appeal by local authority against refusal of adoption and placement orders. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

ARTICLES
Marriage (Same Gender Couples) Act 2013 - Top ten guide
This is an Act [see above] to make provision for same sex couples in England and Wales and about gender change for married persons and civil partners. Full article: Family Law.

Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 26 July 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

Serious case reviews have become too costly and complex
Reviews should help child protection, not disrupt it, says Professor Ray Jones, in this article in The Guardian.

Transparency in the family courts guidance
Joanne Clarke discusses the President's draft guidelines outlining a proposed new approach to the publication of family judgments, in this article on Family Law.

Children: Public Law Update (July 2013)
John Tughan, barrister of 4 Paper Buildings, examines some important recent judgments of particular interest to public law children lawyers. Full article: Family Law Week.

Japan has responded to the EU review, so have you?
David Hodson urges international family practitioners to respond to the Balance of Competences Review, in this article on Family Law.

BLOG POSTS
Truly Exceptional
"A while back I made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Legal Aid Agency for figures in relation to applications for exceptional funding under s10 LASPO." Lucy Reed tells us the result of her latest FOI request, in this post on Pink Tape.

Enforcement tips and tricks – part one
In the current economic climate and the international age in which we work, family practitioners increasingly face the need to enforce (both within this jurisdiction and abroad) orders made in financial remedy proceedings. Full post: Family Law Blog.

Monday, July 29, 2013

News Podcast: For the week to the 29th of July 2013

A brief summary of the top family law news stories and cases from the last week.



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

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Something for the Weekend: Not The Nine O'Clock News - Gerald the gorilla

As a small tribute to the late and much lamented Mel Smith, here is one of my favourite sketches from Not The Nine O'Clock News:

Friday, July 26, 2013

TB v DB: A concerted campaign to thwart contact

A short note regarding TB v DB, a residence dispute in which the mother carried out a "concerted campaign against the father and to thwart contact between the child and the father".

The judgment is in two parts: the first regarding a fact finding hearing concerning various serious allegations of abuse made by the mother against the father and his brother. All of those allegations were found to be unsubstantiated.

The second part of the judgment deals with the issue of whether the present shared residence order should continue or whether the father should be granted sole residence. Mr Michael Keehan QC, hearing the case, found firmly in favour of the latter. He said:
"I found ... against the mother, particularly involving as extensively as she did [the child] in some of the most serious allegations that can be made against a father and against a family member (which I found to be part of a sustained campaign against the father enjoying a full and unbroken relationship with his child) are extremely serious findings. If they were to be repeated in whatever form in the future they would undoubtedly and increasingly cause serious emotional and psychological harm to the child."
He considered that if the shared residence order were to continue then the risk of repetition was too great:
"I regret that I have no confidence at all that if the shared residence order remained in force there would not be some event, some action or some allegation that would be made by the mother that would bring this matter back to this court. And, in the meantime, once again, the relationship between [the child] and his father will have been disrupted."
Accordingly, he granted the father sole residence, with contact in favour of the mother.

Sekhri v Ray: "A story of human tragedy"

This case has already received considerable attention in the media (see, for example, here), but I thought it was still worth a mention here, at least in respect of the remarks of Mr Justice Holman regarding the parties' "financial suicide" concerning costs.

The case is yet another example of a jurisdiction dispute, with the wife wanting to issue here, in the hope of getting a more favourable settlement than in India, where the husband was hoping to obtain a divorce. Unfortunately, the jurisdiction dispute and litigation about their child, Ishaan,has run up an eye-watering £860,000 in combined costs. I will quote what Mr justice Holman has to say on the matter of costs in full:
"Since [the parties separated] they have each spent the staggering sum of about £430,000 on worldwide legal costs in England, Singapore and India - a combined total of over £860,000 (a significant part of those costs relates to litigation about Ishaan). At a hearing on 15 May 2013 I begged these parties to resolve their differences, and I referred in paragraph 12 of my short judgment to financial suicide. At paragraph 4 of my formal order that day I urged and beseeched the parties to travel to London and attend the present hearing "so that … they can be helped to settle all or as much as possible of the financial issues in this case". Neither party was personally present on 15 May 2013, each being in Singapore, but they will have seen the order and the transcripts of the judgment and, indeed, of the whole hearing.

At the outset of, and again during the course of, the present hearing I have repeatedly urged the parties to stand back from the fray and to focus on settling the relatively straightforward financial issues. There is very little dispute about the income or assets, and I expressly pointed out that during the hearing there was obvious litigation risk for each party as to the outcome on jurisdiction. It was thus a particularly good moment to seek to compromise. I made the same point on 15 May - see the transcript of my judgment at internal page 78. They have not been able to do so. The sustained forensic struggle throughout the hearing was painful to observe.

Paragraph 11 of my judgment of 15 May records that at that date the estimated combined costs worldwide, to the end of the present hearing, was £600,000. So actually have already exceeded that estimate by a staggering £260,000. Mr Timothy Scott QC, on behalf of the husband, commented to the effect that costs estimates are notoriously unreliable. This is not marginal unreliability. This is a costs overshoot of no less than a quarter of a million pounds in the space of just two months. These parties are successful and prosperous, but they are not multi-millionaires. Their total net wealth is around £4 million. That they have already committed nearly one-quarter of that wealth to highly charged litigation, and an atmosphere of intense emotion day after day in the courtroom, merely serves to underline the tragedy.

During the course of his oral evidence, the husband acknowledged that the present battleground as to jurisdiction was motivated by his "perception as to the pay-out". Of course, there is an equal perception by the wife that she would receive more financial provision after a divorce here than in India, where the husband is seeking to litigate and obtain a divorce. Wherever they are divorced, there are obvious both strengths and weaknesses to any financial claim by the wife. The obvious weaknesses are that the marriage was a very short one and such wealth as there is is almost all in investment properties already owned by the husband before the parties ever met. The strengths are the dependence now of Ishaan upon the wife and the undoubted severe, even if temporary, setback to the wife's career that has flowed from the marriage and the move to Singapore and from its breakdown. Somewhere the husband will have to make fair provision for the wife. How tragic that instead of concentrating on that need and issue so much of the firepower has been directed to the issue of jurisdiction."
After that, it seems almost incidental to say that Mr Justice Holman found that the parties were domiciled in England and Wales and that therefore the court has jurisdiction to entertain the wife's petition.

Friday Review: Of endings and beginnings


Notable things this week:

After the euphoria of the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act last week, back to (un)reality: Patriarch Kirill (left, image: Kremlin.ru), has informed his congregation at Kazan Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square that the legal recognition of same-sex marriage is "a very dangerous sign of the apocalypse". Quite why this should be so is unclear to me, but then I am clearly not as learned as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Whatever, you have been warned that the end is nigh (no doubt the Patriarch will be unimpressed by our hero Dave Cameron's promise to export gay marriage around the world).

Family lawyers returned en masse to the Supreme Court on Monday to argue the mother's appeal in the child abduction case In the matter of A (Children) (AP). She is appealing against the decision of the Court of Appeal that the court had no jurisdiction to order the return of her youngest child to this country, as that child had never lived here, and was not habitually resident here. For further details regarding the Supreme Court appeal, see this news item on Family Law Week.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that the Institute for Fiscal Studies is to say that David Cameron's tax breaks for married couples are largely "symbolic" because marriage provides little benefit to the development of children. Needless to say, this has provoked the expected response from the dinosaurs at the Marriage Foundation, with Sir Paul Iknowbest saying that the IFS has "got it wrong", as what really matters is that married couples stay together. But isn't it the case that the 'type' of couples that get married are also the 'type' that are more likely to stay together - in other words, the signing of a marriage certificate makes no difference to them? Sir Paul also appears to lament the fact that, since the reforms of the 1960s, the divorce rate has increased enormously, but who would want to return to the bad old days of forcing unhappy couples to spend the rest of their lives shackled together?

I suppose I should mention the coming of a certain royal baby. As a republican, I found the circus surrounding the parturition to be both absurd and distasteful. In particular, watching the coverage on BBC News was excruciating (I could only stand a few minutes at a time). Still, I did find some amusement on Twitter, ranging from the silly:
...to the serious:
I also added my own take (not that the idea was original):

And finally, I must draw your attention to this e-petition that I came across during the week: 'FAMIL COURT OVERHAUL URGENTLY NEEDED'. I am tempted to sign...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Family Lore Clinic: Can my ex stop me from selling the former matrimonial home if the court has approved it?


Before I answer this, I will assume that by 'approved it' you mean that there is a court order stating that the property should be sold. If so, the order should specify how the sale should proceed (how the property should be marketed, how the sale price should be determined, who should have conduct of the sale, etc.).

If there is such an order, then the short answer is that your ex can't stop you from selling the property.

Of course, your ex may try to obstruct the sale, e.g. by refusing to agree the sale price, or by refusing to sign the sale documents. If they do, you can if necessary return to the court to sort out the problem - the court will expect its order to be complied with. For example, if your ex refuses to sign the sale documents, a judge can sign them for your ex.

As usual, the above is only a brief summary of the law. If you require further information or detailed advice, you should consult a specialist family lawyer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A couple of interesting cases...


A couple of interesting, but quite unrelated, cases have just popped up on Bailii, and I think are worth a look.

Chronologically first comes CB v CB [2013] EWHC 2092 (Fam), a child abduction case involving the mother's application for the return of a 14 year-old child to Australia. The interesting point is that the mother's application failed because of the 'child objection' defence under Article 13 of the Hague Convention:
"The Judicial or Administrative Authority may also refuse to order the return of the child if it finds that the child objects to being returned and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views."
The second case is M [2013] EWHC 1901 (Fam), which involved an application by a mother for a declaration under s.55A of the Family Law Act 1986 that the respondent ('Mr F') is the legal parent of her child. As Mr Justice Peter Jackson said:
"The central dispute between the mother and the father is whether the conception was the result of artificial insemination (as he says) or sexual intercourse (as she says). If conception was the result of sexual intercourse (known as natural intercourse or NI) Mr F will be the legal parent of the child, but if it was the result of artificial insemination (AI) the question of parentage depends on the effect of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008."
...he found in favour of the mother.

News Update: 23rd of July 2013


WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

NEWS
Supreme Court hears appeal concerning habitual residence in child abduction case
On the 22nd and 23rd July the Supreme Court will hear the mother's appeal from the judgment in Re A, reported in the Court of Appeal as ZA & Anor v NA [2012] EWCA Civ 1396. Full story: Family Law Week.

High Court revisits ‘real prospect of success’ test when considering appeals
In H v G (Adoption Appeal) [2013] EWHC 2136 (Fam) [see the law report and the blog post, below], Mr Justice Peter Jackson has considered again the test in rule 30.3(7) of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 that in order for the court to grant permission to appeal, an applicant must show 'a real prospect of success'. Full story: Family Law Week.

Children over 5 take more than a year longer to be adopted than younger children
The Department for Education has published the Adoption Survey for quarter 3 of 2012-2013 [see below] which provides analysis of data covering the characteristics of children at any stage in the adoption process and analysis of their progress in the system. Full story: Family Law Week.

Equal marriage bill for England and Wales given Royal Assent and is now law
The equal marriage bill for England and Wales was today given Royal Assent, and is now officially law. Full story: PinkNews.

Family expert attacks judiciary on reforms
Social workers and CAFCASS can't replace experts in courts, says head of professional group. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Doncaster stripped of children's social care responsibility
Children's services in Doncaster are to be temporarily hived off from local authority control and instead run by an independent trust as part of a radical plan to turn the troubled department around. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Quarterly Adoption Survey: update for quarter 3 of 2012 to 2013
Analysis of data covering the characteristics of children at any stage in the adoption process and analysis of their progress in the system. Full story: GOV.UK. See also the other news story above and the blog post, below.

STATUTORY INSTRUMENT
The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) Order 2013
This Order comes into force on 3rd January 2014. It revokes and replaces the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973 and revokes the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) (Variation) Order 1993.

CASES
H v G (Adoption Appeal) [2013] EWHC 2136 (Fam) (13 June 2013)
Appeal by mother against adoption order. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii. See also the news item above and the blog post, below.

NP v KRP [2013] EWHC 694 (Fam) (27 March 2013)
Application by wife for declaration of non-recognition of Indian divorce. Application dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

C (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 848 (24 April 2013)
Care proceedings. Appeal by father against findings of abuse in respect of allegations made by the mother's nephew. Appeal allowed. Full report: Family Law Week.

A (A Child), Re (Vulnerable Witness : Fact Finding) [2013] EWHC 2124 (Fam) (15 July 2013)
Fact-finding hearing to determine the truth or otherwise of a vulnerable witness's allegations of abuse by the father, as the first step in considering whether the child and her father should be permitted to resume a normal and unrestricted relationship. Full report: Bailii.

RCW v A Local Authority [2013] EWHC 2129 (Fam) (16 July 2013)
Adoption order made in favour of visually impaired adopter. Full report: Judiciary of England & Wales (PDF). For an HTML version, see here.

DL v EL [2013] EWCA Civ 865 (16 July 2013)
Judgment on appeal considering what remedies are available to the parent whose child is removed from the country of habitual residence pursuant to a return order made on a successful application under the 1980 Hague Abduction Convention, which is subsequently set aside by an appellate court. Full report: Family Law Week.

J & MM (Children), Re [2013] EWHC 1820 (Fam) (26 June 2013)
Hearing of care application, following finding that the parents had being reckless and incompetent in their management of the child's asthma. Full report: Bailii.

MI (A Child), Re [2013] EWHC 1073 (Fam) (29 April 2013)
Final hearing of an application for a care order, the issue between the parties being whether the child should return to the care of his mother or whether he should be placed in the family of his maternal great uncle, who live in Belgium. Full report: Bailii.

K v D (Committal - Application to Strike Out) [2013] EWHC 796 (Fam) (02 April 2013)
Application to strike out a committal application arising from a child abduction. Full report: Bailii.

ARTICLES
Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 19 July 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

Self-Help Disclosure - Imerman v Tchenguiz: from ‘cheat’s charter’ to ‘damp squib’? (Some guidance, at last, in UL v BK)
Andrze Bojarski of 36 Bedford Row examines the law and the latest guidance [UL v BK] relating to self help disclosure. Full article: Family Law Week.

BLOG POSTS
“You’ve lost your lipgloss honey”
Whether the test is “wrong” or “plainly wrong” for an Appeal, and we shall know definitively after Re BS, when deciding whether to give permission, where is the bar set? Suesspiciousminds looks at H v G (Adoption Appeal) [2013] EWHC 2136 (Fam) [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant”
Transparency, openness and the family Courts, and the President’s proposal for changes. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

A statistical analysis of recent adoption trends, and the pursuit of a financial agenda
The government has today published the latest round of adoption statistics for England and Wales. See the news items, above. Full post: Family Matters.

Monday, July 22, 2013

News Podcast: For the week to the 22nd of July 2013

A summary of the top family law news stories and cases 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.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Review: Guide me, O thou great Redeemer


Notable things this week:

I have already mentioned the latest missive from our esteemed President, View from the President's Chambers 4, together with its sundry annexes. I will not comment further upon the tidal wave of guidance under which family lawyers are now being drowned, save to say that I am glad that I am no longer practising as I would be scared to do anything, for fear of contravening the latest set of instructions upon the subject. I will, however, recommend that you read this post by Lucy Reed on Pink Tape, which gives some excellent guidance for the style of family blogs. I may follow it myself.

I have also already mentioned the research by Exeter University into enforcement of contact orders. Obviously, we will have to wait until the full report is published in September before coming to any firm conclusions, but it is interesting that the results seem to be broadly supportive of the very difficult job that the courts are doing in this area. If so, I suspect that this will not be music to the ears of some. It was particularly interesting to note this comment regarding the research on Twitter from Lucy Reed:

Meanwhile, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed its Third Reading in the House of Lords on Monday and has now received the Royal Assent. I know the Bill may not be all that some had hoped for, but thankfully at least those who tried to wreck it failed. Or have they? I found this on Twitter:

Credit: Tom Freeman.

Lastly, more good news came this week with the judgment in the RCW v A Local Authority case, in which a prospective adopter who lost her sight after the removal of a brain tumour was granted the adoption order she sought. I do love happy endings.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Equal Marriage Bill passed


"churches claimed marriage has been “stripped” of its meaning" - The Telegraph, 17th July 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Family Lore Clinic: Can I cancel a decree nisi?


The decree nisi is the point in divorce proceedings when the court pronounces that the person(s) seeking the divorce (usually the petitioner - i.e. the person who issued the divorce petition) is entitled to the divorce. The decree nisi does not finalise the divorce - that does not happen until the court makes the decree absolute.

Sometimes, the person who obtained the decree nisi may want it cancelled because they and the other party have effected a reconciliation and they do not therefore want to proceed with the divorce. In this situation, either party can apply to the court for the decree nisi to be cancelled (the legal term is 'rescinded'), provided that the other party consents.

It is also possible for a decree nisi to be rescinded where there has not been a reconciliation, but such cases are rare.

As usual, if you require any further advice regarding this issue, you should consult a specialist family lawyer.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

News Update: 16th of July 2013


WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

NEWS
Equal marriage bill passes Third Reading in House of Lords
The equal marriage bill for England and Wales has passed its Third Reading in the House of Lords, following a brief and impassioned final debate. Full story: PinkNews.

Fourth View from the President’s Chambers updates the reform process
In his fourth View from the President's Chambers [see under 'Articles', below], Sir James Munby provides an update of the reforms to the family justice system. Full story: Family Law Week. See also the blog post, below.

Court of Appeal to consider the test for challenge by parents who have not consented to adoption
Lord Justice McFarlane has given permission to a mother to appeal against a refusal to allow her to oppose an application for the adoption of her two eldest children. The B-S (Children) case - see below. Full story: Family Law Week. See also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

Kingston Council's children's care still 'inadequate'
A council criticised for not stepping in before a father murdered his partner in front of their toddler has been deemed "inadequate" by Ofsted a second time. Full story: BBC News.

Bill to reform criminal law of child neglect fails to receive second reading in Commons
The Children's charity Action for Children is calling on MPs not to ignore the needs of vulnerable neglected children after a bill to reform the law on child neglect failed to get a hearing in parliament. Full story: Family Law Week.

Research paper explores family courts’ response to applications for enforcement of contact orders
The Nuffield Foundation has published a briefing paper which summarises findings from research into how and why the family courts respond to applications for enforcement of a contact order following alleged non-compliance. Full story: Family Law Week.

Online Family Court Guide to public law proceedings published
The Judiciary website has published a Family Court Guide, constituting a framework of good practice which sets out Presidential Guidance, the rules and Practice Directions of the court and associated web based resources for those using and working in the family justice system. Full story: Family Law Week.

Most babies born out of marriage by 2016, trend suggests
The majority of babies born in three years' time will have parents who are not married, official figures suggest. Full story: BBC News.

Wasted costs order made against non-party local authority
LA directed to prepare section 37 report is ‘closely connected’ to private law proceedings. The HB v PB case - see below. Full story: Family Law Week.

Pre-proceedings involvement of family court advisers helps the avoidance of care proceedings, finds pilot study
The Cafcass Pre-Proceedings Pilot which sought to test the added value of the family court adviser in pre-proceedings practice in public law cases is now complete in Coventry and Warwickshire and sufficiently progressed in Liverpool that the researchers are able to report on the initiative. Full story: Family Law Week. See also the article and the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

STATUTORY INSTRUMENT
The Child Support and Claims and Payments (Miscellaneous Amendments and Change to the Minimum Amount of Liability) Regulations 2013
These Regulations make a consequential amendment to Schedule 1 to the Child Support Act 1991 arising from the increase to the flat rate of child support maintenance from £5 to £7 for cases in which liability for child support maintenance is calculated under Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the 1991 Act, as amended.

CASES
Re W [2013] EWHC 1957 (Fam) (22 May 2013)
Application by Local Authority for permission to invoke the inherent jurisdiction, with a view to the Local Authority seeking the revocation of an Adoption Order. Permission refused. Full report: Family Law Week. See also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

Re SK [2013] EWHC (COP) (24 May 2013)
Judgment in proceedings under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 concerning a mentally incapacitated adult aged 56, concerned with the question of his residence. Full report: Family Law Week.

B-S (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 813 (14 June 2013)
Application by mother for permission to appeal against refusal of permission to oppose adoption after placement order. Application granted. Full report: Family Law Week. See also the news story above and the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

Re A (Fact-Finding Hearing: Non-Accidental Injury) [2013] EWCA (4 July 2013)
Appeal by local authority against finding that it was not possible to conclude that injuries to the children were non-accidental. appeal dismissed. Report: Family Law.

HB v PB [2013] EWHC 1956 (Fam) (09 July 2013)
Application by father in private law children proceedings for a costs order against the local authority, which had been directed to file a s.37 report. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above and the blog posts, below.

Tattersall v Tattersall [2013] EWCA Civ 774 (09 July 2013)
Appeal by husband against ancillary relief order dividing the capital unequally and ordering him to pay periodical payments. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Re P (Prohibited Steps Order: Removal From Jurisdiction) [2013] EWCA (2 July 2013)
Appeal by mother against prohibited steps order preventing her from removing the child from the jurisdiction. Appeal dismissed. Report: Family Law.

ARTICLES
Piercing the corporate veil
"The unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court in Petrodel Resources Ltd v Prest led to a media circus. Now the dust has settled, we have more clarity on the repercussions of the case for those involved in family and company law." Says Nicholas Bennett, in this article in the Law Society Gazette.

View from the President's Chambers 4
The process of reform : an update. Full article: Judiciary of England & Wales (PDF).

Evidence, Practice and Procedure: Consent orders and costs guidance from the Court of Appeal
Emezie v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWCA Civ 733 was an appeal allowed against a costs order - ‘no order as to costs' - made by Mostyn J in a judicial review housing case, where the housing authority settled a judicial review case after issue by the applicant. Full article: Family Law.

Effecting change in local family justice systems? Findings from the Cafcass Pre-Proceedings Pilot
Dr Karen Broadhurst of Lancaster University explains the findings of a recently completed pilot involving family court advisers in public law pre-proceedings practice. Full article: Family Law Week.

BLOG POSTS
It’s as plainly wrong as the nose on your face
"In Re BS (Children) 2013 [above], Permission was granted by MacFarlane LJ for an appeal from a decision of Parker J to refuse leave to oppose an adoption hearing, and it seems, from the reading of his decision, that he probably would have refused permission to appeal prior to Re B." Says suesspiciousminds, in this post.

New guidance on allocation, transparency and family orders
The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has issued his fourth View from the President’s Chambers [see under News and Articles, above] which includes new guidance on standardisation of family orders, allocation and gate keeping, and transparency in family proceedings. Full post: Family Law Blog.

Voice of the child in pre-proceedings work
Suesspiciousminds discusses the pre-proceedings pilot [see above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Here comes my nineteenth nervous (adoption) breakdown
Suesspiciousminds looks at Re W [2013] [above]: "A quirky little case, considering what happens when an adoptive placement breaks down to the point where all concerned would really like to effectively delete the adoption order." Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Making costs orders against a non-party – is that the sound of floodgates opening?
"The High Court have determined in Re HB, PB and London Borough of Croydon 2013 [above], that a Court may legitimately make an order for wasted costs against an agency who was not a party to proceedings." Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Crunchy numbers
The prolific suesspiciousminds examines how many care cases a lawyer has to do to cover his wages, in this post.

Costs orders against local authorities in private law proceedings
A High Court Judge has taken the unusual step of ordering a local authority to pay a parent’s legal costs [HB v PB, above]. Full post: Family Matters.

Stories from the conflict zone
Being ‘conflicted out’ of a case is 
a challenge you must deal with quickly 
and cleanly, before it goes too far 
says Marilyn Stowe, in this post.

International Surrogacy - Is a global response achievable?
A report published this week examines the legal structures relating to surrogacy across the EU Membership. Full post: Family Matters.

Contact after Adoption - Is it still the exception?
A Judge in the High Court has taken the unusual step of making an order providing for an adopted child to have a continuing relationship with his birth family [the MF v LB of Brent case]. Full post: Family Matters.

Monday, July 15, 2013

News Podcast: For the week to the 15th of July 2013

A summary of the top family law news stories and cases from the last week, in a in a (reasonably) 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.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Briefing published regarding research on enforcement of contact orders

Exeter University Law School have prepared a briefing upon research they have been carrying out, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, into the enforcement of child contact orders. Entitled Enforcing contact orders: are the family courts getting it right?, it is stated to be "the first ever empirical study of enforcement" and is based on case file analysis of a national sample of 215 enforcement cases.

Key points are:

1. Relatively few contact cases return to court seeking enforcement – about 1,400 each year - but they are difficult cases for both policy makers and courts to address.

2. The public perception of enforcement cases is of implacably hostile mothers deliberately flouting contact orders and the courts failing to get tough and ensure compliance. The reality in practice is rather more complex.

3. Implacably hostile mothers do exist, but they are a small minority of enforcement cases. The most common type of case involved parents whose conflicts with each other prevented them from making a contact order work reliably in practice. The second largest group was cases with significant safety concerns, followed by cases where older children themselves wanted to reduce or stop contact.

4. The approach of the court appeared broadly determined by the case type. A ‘coparenting support’ approach was mostly used with conflict cases as a means to set a clearer framework and help parents communicate. A ‘protective approach’ was used mainly with risk cases. A punitive approach was used primarily with the few cases we classified as implacably hostile.

5. Cases were generally processed quickly over a shorter period and with fewer hearings than the original proceedings, especially for the ‘parental conflict’ cases. That brevity can mean absence of delay in getting contact restarted but it also signaled that some cases were dealt with rather cursorily, with limited attention to the underlying causes and effects of the ongoing dispute.

6. There were a small number of cases where the court could have been more robust in dealing with a non compliant parent but equally there a few cases where a punitive approach turned out to be inappropriate. There were rather more cases where the court appeared to minimize safety concerns.

7. Adequate punitive sanctions are in place, are mostly used when needed and can secure compliance. Policy attention should now focus on developing more effective measures to support safe contact across the full range of enforcement cases, particularly high conflict cases where both parents need more help to work together to implement an order.

The briefing can be read here. A full report will be published in September.

Yet more from our President...


The outpourings from the pen of our prolific President continue apace. Appearing today on the FLBA website (for some reason, the FLBA seem to get these things even before they appear on the Judiciary of England and Wales website) are the following further delights:

  • View from the President's Chambers (4) - The process of reform : an update
    - In which our esteemed leader brings us up to date regarding the single Family Court, the PLO, transparency, Family Orders and bundles.
  •  
  • Draft Practice Guidance on Transparency in the Family Courts and Court of Protection
    - In which the President makes up for the lack of Guidance he has recently given to the profession, by giving us guidance on (you've guessed it) transparency.
  •  
  • Family Orders Project House Rules
    - In which rules are set out for the standardisation of orders.

Enjoy!

*          *          *

UPDATE: There's more guidance! Missing from the FLBA website but now available on the Judiciary site are two further annexes to the View, containing the President's guidance on allocation and gatekeeping, and a schedule to that guidance. Get reading...

Friday Review: The oxygen of publicity


Notable things this week:

We all need to have something to look forward to, and so fathers' rights group Fathers4Justice are promising more attacks on the nation's much-loved artworks, according to this article in The Independent on Sunday. Seems like a good way to get people on your side. I particularly liked the part in the article where the group's founder, Matt O'Connor, tells the paper that part of their new policy is not to engage with the media at all: ""We're trying to let the actions speak for themselves," he said, before talking [to the paper] for another 20 minutes."

Meanwhile, Lucy Reed at Pink Tape has posted about a story she received regarding "An encouraging development supporting the IFLA family finance arbitration Scheme". I also received this story, from a certain family law arbitrator. Perhaps I am just a cynic, but when someone asks me to publish a 'news story' that supports their business position I get a little suspicious, the 'story' appearing to me more like an advertisement than real news. Accordingly, I chose not to publish it myself, save as a paid 'advertorial' (which offer was declined). In any event, as Lucy subsequently points out, the 'development' is nothing more than a "statement of the bleeding obvious", confirming my suspicion that it was not real news.

On Monday we had what is becoming a monthly repetition from Cafcass: an increase in both care and private law applications (are private law applications continuing to rise despite the abolition of legal aid?). Quite when it will end, and what state the family justice system will be in when it does, is anyone's guess.

On a related subject, I was interested to see this tweet from Foster & Partners on Wednesday:
I don't know where this evidence comes from, but no longer practising myself I obviously don't have any personal experience of how things are 'at the coal face', so any information is welcome. The increase in LiPs has already been noted elsewhere, but I've not seen the collapse in mediation mentioned previously. I presume this is due to the lack of guidance and 'mellowing influence' of lawyers who, contrary to opinion in some quarters, are not always 'just in it for the money' and do encourage their clients to settle. It certainly drives a coach and horses through the government's "mediation is the panacea" policy.

So you want to get your firm some national publicity, but how to do it? Well, a great (although certainly not original) idea is to commission some divorce-related survey and get a national newspaper to run a story about the results. I am not, of course, saying that publicity was in the mind of the firm referred to in this story that appeared in the Daily Fail on Thursday, in which a divorce lawyer recommends that people in unhappy marriages will be better off if they get divorced. Not that that would make divorce lawyers better off...

Finally, we are told  that by 2016 the majority of babies will be born out of wedlock. The answer to this impending national disaster according to our hero Tim Loughton is... [drum roll]... tax breaks for married couples!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cheap


AT THE OFFICES of Messrs. Venal & Grabbit, Solicitors, it is eight o'clock on Monday morning. Sir Edgar Venal and his partner Ebenezer Grabbit are opening the post.

"Did you see that Payne Hicks Beach are being sued by a client over their billing?" Asks Ebenezer, slicing through an envelope and its contents with his letter-opener.

"Yes I did. Nasty business." Replies Sir Edgar. He frowns momentarily when he realises that the letter he has just opened is from the SRA, before filing it in the waste bin.

"The client has the temerity to complain that they billed her for every second of their time." Continues Ebenezer, as he sellotapes back together the halves of the court order he has just sliced in two.

"And what is wrong with that?" Asks Sir Edgar, putting a letter from a particularly difficult client on the pile of the trainee, D'Arcy Downtrodden.

"Nothing whatsoever." Replies Ebenezer, as he attempts to unsellotape his fingers. "One is quite entitled to charge for every second of one's time. Payne Hicks Beach's conduct is beyond reproach."

"Well, I wouldn't quite go that far." Says Sir Edgar, putting a large cheque from a client on to his post pile, despite the fact that it was addressed to D'Arcy.

"Oh really?" Queries Ebenezer, also using the waste bin for filing, this time for a fee note from counsel.

"Yes." Says Sir Edgar. "They only charged her £600 an hour."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Family Lore Clinic: I am redundant - what happens to consent order payments to my ex wife?


The answer to this question depends upon what type of payments they are. A consent order (i.e. an order setting out an agreed financial/property settlement on divorce) can include provisions for various types of payments. However, for the purpose of this post I will assume that you are referring either to maintenance payments for your spouse (as against for any children) or instalments of a lump sum order.

If they are maintenance payments, then you can apply to the court for the maintenance to be reduced (and for any arrears to be remitted), or even for the maintenance order to come to an end, whatever is appropriate. Note that you will still be liable for the full amount of the order until it is reduced - your liability did not automatically change when you were made redundant.

You could also ask the court to 'capitalise' the maintenance, i.e. stop it in return for a lump sum payment to your ex-wife, for example if you received a redundancy payment.

If the payments are instalments of a lump sum order, then the situation is different, as the court's powers to vary such orders are more limited. Essentially, the court may alter the arrangements for the payment of the instalments (for example by giving more time to pay), but will only cancel instalments or vary the amount of the lump sum in exceptional circumstances. Once again, note that you will still have to comply with the original order, until such time as it is varied by the court.

The above is, of course, only a brief summary of what can be a complex area of law. If you require further information or detailed advice, you should consult a specialist family lawyer.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

News Update: 9th of July 2013


WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

NEWS
Cafcass care applications continue steady rise
In June 2013, Cafcass received a total of 849 applications. This is a 5% increase on June 2012. Full story: Cafcass.

Continued increase in private law demand
In June 2013, Cafcass received a total of 4,267 new private law cases, a 29% increase on June 2012 levels. Full story: Cafcass.

Court grants opposed post-adoption contact order
Lord Justice Ryder has granted a contact order in favour of a grandmother when making an order for the adoption of a 7 year old boy. The MF v LB of Brent case - see below. Full story: Family Law Week.

Judicial Working Group publishes recommendations to assist with expected surge in litigants in person
Information for LiPs, judicial training, rule changes and McKenzie Friends considered by group. The Group's report can be read here. Full story: Family Law Week.

Fiona Shackleton's law firm is sued over 'ridiculous' divorce bills
Payne Hicks Beach, which represented Sir Paul McCartney in his divorce, is being sued by another client, Mortimer Whealon, the property mogul and socialite. Full story: The Telegraph.

The terrible toll of making divorce easier: Children are more likely to be violent, take drugs and have underage sex
Children who encounter family break-up are far more likely to be violent, unhappy and feel unfulfilled throughout their lives, according to an NHS study. Full story: Daily Mail.

Social workers to get tool to improve care applications from next week
Template, developed by Cafcass, will drastically shorten care applications and help social workers focus on key issues. Full story: Community Care.

Multi-agency child protection inspections to start in 2015
Children's services directors welcome the decision by Ofsted but raise concerns about failure to commit to review of current system. Full story: Community Care.

One word Ofsted judgements 'ludicrous', says top children's director
Association of Directors of Children's Services president calls for narrative judgements used by coroners to improve inspections of children's services. Full story: Community Care.

President publishes revised PLO guidance and documents
The President of the Family Division has a issued a revised Public Law Outline and pilot practice direction, as well as a number of supporting guidance documents. Full story: Family Law. See also the PD Annex, below.

Substance misuse family courts to be expanded
At least two new specialist substance misuse family courts are to be set up thanks to £150,000 of government funding. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Former Miss Malaysia asks London court to settle £500 million divorce
A former Miss Malaysia is seeking Britain’s biggest ever divorce payout of £500 million has began an attempt to have her case heard in London. Full story: The Telegraph.

Joint Committee on Human Rights publishes scrutiny report on Children and Families Bill
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has published its legislative scrutiny report on the Children and Families Bill which received its Second Reading in the House of Lords on the 2nd July. Full story: Family Law Week.

Expat tycoon argues hatred of British weather makes him immune from divorce courts
The estranged wife of an expatriate property tycoon has failed in her bid to secure part of his fortune, after he successfully argued that his loathing of the British climate earned him immunity from the UK divorce courts. Full story: The Telegraph.

Family Justice Young People’s Board launches video to support children whose parents are separating
The Family Justice Young People’s Board has created a video that helps to explain the family court process to children whose parents are separating or divorcing, when Cafcass is involved. Full story: Cafcass.

Key features of the single family court explained in Joint Statement
The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, and the HMCTS London region have released a joint statement in respect of the single Family Court. Full story: Family Law Week.

'Cruel beyond imagination': Father back in jail for refusing to tell mother where daughter is living
Egyptian Tamer Salama removed Elsa Salama from care of English mother while all three were visiting Egypt, High Court told. Full story: The Independent.

PRACTICE DIRECTION ANNEX
The Children Act 1989. Annex to PD 36C
The Children Act 1989. Annex to PD 36C (Revised Public Law Outline from 1st July 2013). Practice Direction Annex: Family Law.

CASES
C (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 791 (14 June 2013)
Application for permission to appeal an indirect contact order, and a prohibited steps order. The F sought direct contact with his child, and the discharge of the prohibited steps order. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Chaudhary v Chaudhary [2013] EWCA Civ 758 (1 May 2013)
Appeal against order that the appellant had no interest in a property purchased by her step-son as a home for her and her late husband. Appeal allowed. Full report: Family Law Week.

MF v LB of Brent & Ors [2013] EWHC 1838 (Fam) (28 June 2013)
Adoption application relating to seven year old child in respect of whom care and placement orders had been made in 2008. Full report: Family Law Week. See also the news story, above.

HJ (A Child) [2013] EWHC 1867 (Fam) (02 July 2013)
Application by the Health Services Executive of Ireland for the English court to assume jurisdiction in care proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

S (A Child) & Ors v Nottingham City Council & Ors [2013] EWCA Civ 771 (02 July 2013)
Appeal by Children's Guardian in respect of findings of fact relating to who perpetrated non-accidental injuries that were sustained by the youngest child. Full report: Bailii.

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

Evidence, Practice and Procedure: Declarations in the family law context
"CM v Exor of the Estate of EJ (deceased) and HM Coroner for the Southern District of London [2013] EWHC 1680 (Fam), Cobb J reminds family lawyers of the important remedy of declaration." Says David Burrows, in this article on Family Law.

Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 5 July 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

Ministry of Justice review of EU powers in family law
"The Ministry of Justice is presently conducting a review of the extent of the powers and laws of the EU. This includes family law where the influence of the EU is very keenly felt by practitioners dealing with international families." Says David Hodson, in this article on Family Law.

BLOG POSTS
Cafcass Data
Lucy Reed examines data she has received about Cafcass under Freedom of Information Act requests, in this post on Pink Tape.

Doc, Doc,Doc Doc Doctor Beat
When Judges disagree with doctors – I’ve been interested in this for a little while now, and another case of this type has just flitted across my screen, so, a quick run down of the recent reported cases where the Courts have, in considering an NAI case, gone against the medical evidence (or at least some of the medical evidence) to find that the parent had not caused the injury. Full post: suesspiciousminds (who else, with a post title like that?).

Arbitrate Me Baby
Apparently, in relation to a post-award consent order lodged at a county court, the solicitor for one of the parties requested a judicial view on the question: ‘What effect should the fact of an arbitration award have on the exercise of judicial discretion in deciding whether to approve the terms of a Consent Order.’ Full post: Pink Tape.

View from the President’s Chambers – part 3
"The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, recently handed down his third View from the President’s Chambers, focusing on the reform of expert evidence." Says Geraldine Morris. Full post: Family Law Blog.

You be frank, I’ll be earnest
Suesspiciousminds looks at the judgment in Re L and M (Children) [2013], in this post.

Family Law - some recent developments in childcare law
An update on SOME of the recent developments in child care family law. Full post: Law and Lawyers.

CW v SG: the law and terminating parental responsibility
"Refusal to grant PR to a father by a mother is one of the thorniest issues in family law." Says Marilyn Stowe, as she looks at the recent case of CW v SG. Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog.

Case Comment: Re B (a child) [2013] UKSC 33
Tessa Buchanan comments upon the Supreme Court case of Re B (A Child). Full post: UKSC blog.