Showing posts from June, 2015

Disappointing government mediation data highlights role of judges in boosting take-up

The family court system has an ace to play to help salvage government plans to increase the take-up of family mediation, says a leading family charity after new official data showed mediation has yet to return to pre-legal aid cut levels.

New Ministry of Justice figures show fewer separating couples now attend family mediation than before the devastating legal aid changes of 2013, despite government measures of the past 12 months aimed at encouraging people to seek settlements away from courtrooms.

“In their bid to boost the take-up of mediation, Ministers have already played a number of cards yet the national mediation data remains doggedly low,” said Jane Robey, CEO of National Family Mediation (NFM).

“Ministers are right to seek culture change so that mediation becomes the first port of call for divorcing couples.

“Family court judges must be more willing to embrace mediation, using the powers they already have to direct people who come before courts towards alternative means of s…

[Insert post title here]

Posts attributed to me this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog included:

Respecting the human rights of a terror suspect is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of what makes us better - Well, that was my original title of the post anyway, as prompted by the 'ankle tag' case DD v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

“It is not enough to show that a child could be placed in a more beneficial environment for his upbringing.” - My original title for a post on the “unusual and difficult case” of Re S & T (Children).

Lord Chancellor gives speech - As I thought I got the hang of writing post titles, but clearly didn't, a few words about the first speech of our new Lord Chancellor.

Gove ignites pro bono debate - Finally  I do get the hang of writing posts titles. Twitter reacts to Mr Gove's suggestion that successful lawyers should do more pro bono work.

Have a good weekend.

Of course...


Carl Gardner's no fault divorce Bill

My long-term fellow legal blogger, friend and occasional Twitter sparring-partner Carl Gardner has drafted a no fault divorce Bill, which you can peruse here.

The Bill was prepared at the suggestion of campaigner and policy researcher Ellie Cumbo, who explains her thinking here.

As I have often said, we really need no fault divorce, to reduce unnecessary animosity and bring our system into line with the modern world. Carl's Bill does a great job, much simpler and better than the ill-fated Family Law Act 1996 (not that that's difficult!).

I commend it to the House.

It's all about the children

It's all about the children in my posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog, which included the following:

Are the terms ‘custody’ and ‘access’ really degrading? - It has been suggested that continued use of the pre-Children Act terms is degrading. Is that really so?

Re H and relief from sanctions - A short note on the subject of relief from sanctions, prompted by the Court of Appeal decision in Re H (Children).

Unconventional - A father in a Hague Convention case comes up with an ingenious plan...

It’s about the child, not the parents - As demonstrated in the case RC (Mother) v AB (Father), amongst many others.

Have a good weekend.

Good times ahead


Priceless Father’s Day gift for divorcing Dads who open their eyes to alternative to court

Dads who face the misery of divorce or separation can secure a priceless gift this Father’s Day, says a national charity.

“Most fathers think the only way to manage their divorce is a solicitor-led courtroom battle with their ex,” says Jane Robey, Chief Executive of National Family Mediation.

“Dads who open their eyes to a different way of doing things will find a Father’s Day gift tailored not just for them, but for all members of the family.

“If you go to court you’re likely to still be battling it out NEXT Father’s Day, because statistics show it can take an average of 435 days to resolve a divorce taking that route.

“All this time you’ll experience heat, bluster, resentment and, ultimately, a settlement that could suit nobody. If you use mediation, things can be settled long before winter sets in, with solutions geared to your family’s needs.

“Taking the chance to influence the shape of your separated family for the next few years is a gift that money can’t buy,” she added.


An amusing week

It has been an amusing week for me on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog, with one of my posts in particular causing quite a stir:

The transparency delusion - Why the devotees of transparency are knocking their heads against a brick wall.

The guardian of standards - I.e., the court, as demonstrated in Medway Council v A & Ors (Learning Disability; Foster Placement).

What is the point of the fraud and contempt warnings on Form E? - A question raised in the light of the Sharland and Gohil appeals, being heard by the Supreme Court this week.

Criminal consequences - The remarkable case of Kaur v Randhawa.

Have a good weekend.

Hundreds of children to benefit from innovative pro bono legal project

Top global law firms Allen & Overy and DLA Piper have teamed up with leading children's legal charity Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC) to launch a new collaborative legal project that will help hundreds of children currently without legal support to access their rights.

The project will provide quality, free-of-charge legal representation so that children with a right in law to become British citizens can exercise that right.

The Children’s Pro Bono Legal Service will be led by a solicitor at CCLC, who will supervise volunteer lawyers from the partner firms in undertaking pro bono legal casework. Unlike many other pro bono projects, this ground-breaking new service will offer end-to-end legal representation to children and families so that their cases are seen through to full completion.

Many of the children and families assisted by the project are amongst the most vulnerable in the UK and would otherwise be unable to access any legal assistance in an area of law where no …

Book Review: At A Glance 2015-2016

At A Glance
Essential Tables for Financial Remedies
£60 - Published by Class Legal
Can it really be a year since I reviewed the last edition of At A Glance? Well, no, it's just over eleven months, actually. I know the years seem to get shorter as you get older, but quite why the last one was a month less for this publication, I can't say.

Moving swiftly on, At A Glance needs no introduction. Notwithstanding this, I shall give it one anyway, albeit a brief one. At A Glance has been published annually since 1992, with the intention of putting essential facts and figures at the fingertips of financial remedies practitioners, in one handy volume (which, unlike most legal texts, attempts to remain handy by not increasing in size every year). Such has been its success that it occupies a spot on the bookshelf or in the briefcase/bag of every family law judge or lawyer worth their salt.

So, what is new or different about this edition (save, of course, for the updating of the conte…

Travels with myself

This week I travel to India, to Dublin and then into the past, before ending up on a smug note on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog:

Unpicking family arrangements - In the case Gadhavi v Gadhavi.

Lessons for parents from Dublin - In the Irish Court of Appeal case M.M. v G.M..

The rough and the smooth of family life - Memories of two cases I dealt with, prompted by the judgment in M v M.

I don’t like to say I told you so… - I am vindicated by the study that finds that the family courts do not discriminate against fathers.

Have a good weekend.