Showing posts from November, 2015

News Essentials: 30th November 2015

A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

Father’s appeal allowed by Supreme Court in 1996 Hague Convention case
The Supreme Court has allowed the appeal by a Moroccan father whose son was brought to the UK by his mother against the father's wishes. Full story: Family Law Week. See J (A Child), below.

Divorce rate falls in latest ONS figures
The number of people divorcing in England and Wales decreased by 2.9 per cent in 2013, according to the latest statistical bulletin published today (23 November 2015) from Office for National Statistics. Full story: Family Law.

President's practice guidance on Arbitration in the Family Court
Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, has today (23 November 2015) issued practice guidance on Arbitration in the Family Court. Full story: Family Law.

Judge criticises 'minimal investigation' into death of 13-month-old girl
Mr Justice Jackson found Poppi Worthington’s death was not properly…

Conflict and caring

My posts on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog this week were mostly about conflict and children, but I also took time out to mention those who devote themselves to caring for others:

Intractable contact case hampered by lack of legal representation - The case in question being Re D (Children), another demonstration of how lawyers help courts make the right decisions.

Conflict is what damages children - Considering the recent poll commissioned by Resolution regarding the experience of parental separation or divorce upon children and young people, and the reactions to it.

Providing an incredible service - A tribute to carers doing a wonderful job, as in Re HNL.

Urgency and delay in child abduction cases - With particular reference to the Supreme Court decision in J (A Child).

Have a good weekend.

In the matter of J (A child): Supreme Court allows father's appeal

Lady Hale gives the judgment of the Supreme Court

This appeal concerns the application of the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children (‘the 1996 Convention’); in particular the scope of the jurisdiction conferred by article 11 in ‘all cases of urgency’ on a contracting state where a child is present but not habitually resident. The 1996 Convention came into force in the United Kingdom on 1 November 2012 and has not previously been considered by the Supreme Court.

The subject of the proceedings is a child, called Saleem in the judgment, who was born in January 2007. His parents are both from Morocco and hold Moroccan and British citizenship. The parents lived in England when Saleem was born but moved first to Saudi Arabia in 2009 and then to Morocco in 2011. The marriage broke down in December 2011. Saleem lived with his moth…

Resolution launches new advice for dealing with divorce and domestic abuse to mark White Ribbon Day

On White Ribbon Day, 25 November, family law organisation Resolution releases its new guide for divorcing and separating parents in relationships where domestic abuse is, or has been, a feature.

The new guide, which can be found at, advises parents on dealing with difficult divorce situations, including those characterised by abuse, addiction and parental alienation.  It includes information on how parents can protect themselves from abuse, and how to help children through emotionally difficult situations.

Jane Wilson, a leading domestic abuse specialist at Hall Smith Whittingham in Crewe and chair of Resolution’s Domestic Abuse Committee, comments:

“Divorce and separation are difficult at the best of times, and are made a thousand times more traumatic where there is abuse, addiction or extreme hostility involved. For parents trying to support and shelter their children through this sort of situation, it can be hard to know how to talk to the ch…

ONS dip in divorces may relate to rise in cohabitation separations – that's why it's more important to put children first than ever, says Resolution

The Office of National Statistics latest set of Divorce in England and Wales 2013 statistics . In 2013 there were 114,720 divorces in England and Wales in 2013, a decrease of 2.9% since 2012, when there were 118,140 divorces.

Jo Edwards, chair of leading family law organisation Resolution, comments:

"The latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows that the divorce rate has dropped. There are many possible reasons for this - the lack of availability of family legal aid may mean that people simply aren't getting the support they need to bring their relationship to a formal conclusion. The rise in cohabiting couples, the fastest growing type of household in Britain, may also play a role - cohabitation separation is not included in these statistics."

"Whatever the reason, there are still many thousands of British families who are experiencing family breakdown every year, whether that's divorce or separation. The Resolution Parenting Charter, which ask…

News Essentials: 23rd November 2015

A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

Court of Protection to test increased access for public and media
Public and media will gain greater access to Court of Protection hearings after a pilot scheme starting next year. Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

Appeal decision protects solicitor offering ‘unbundled’ advice
Solicitors instructed on a limited retainer do not have a broader duty of care to their clients, the Court of Appeal has ruled, asserting the importance of ensuring that lawyers can offer unbundled services. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See Minkin v Lesley Landsberg, below.

Children of divorce: 82% rather parents separate than 'stay for the kids'
Poll by Resolution also finds nearly a third would have liked if divorcing parents did not criticise each other in front of them. Full story: The Guardian.

Landmark report shines light on the practice of surrogacy in the UK and calls for legal reform
The first ever repor…

The good, the bad and the deluded

My posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog told of the good (news) and the bad (and, come to that, the entirely predictable):

Will we ever have a child support system that works? - Probably not, is my guess (not that it's difficult to come to that conclusion).

Taking advantage of deputyship - The Court of Protection case Re AFR.

Telling one side of the story - Another demonstration of the delusion that transparency will improve public understanding of the family justice system.

No, you can’t have a full service without paying for it - As demonstrated in Minkin v Lesley Landsberg.

Have a good weekend.

Book Review: Family Law Protocol, 4th Edition

Family Law Protocol, 4th Edition
£39.95 – Published by Law Society Publishing: 30 October 2015
If the job of a book reviewer is to indicate to the reader of the review whether they should acquire the book, then this must surely be the easiest reviewing job I have ever done. The current (now 4th) edition of the Family Law Protocol is, quite simply, an essential occupant of the bookshelf of every family law practitioner. If you have not done so already, acquire a copy now!

I could end this review there, but I suppose I should say a little more, primarily for the benefit of those (surely few) who are not aware of the Protocol.

First published in 2002, the Family Law Protocol provides a set of best practice guidelines for all family law practitioners. Developed by the Law Society in association with Resolution and other leading organisations, interest groups and figures in the field, the Protocol provides guidance on everything from taking instructions, to dealing with specific areas of f…

News Essentials: 16th November 2015

A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

Court of Appeal rules on liability of councils for foster care abuse
The Court of Appeal has handed down a key ruling on the liability of councils for foster care abuse, concluding that local authorities do not owe a child in such care a non-delegable duty. Full story: Local Government Lawyer. See NA v Nottinghamshire County Council, below.

Domestic violence victims 'put at risk' by erratic handling of cases
HMIC says dangers to vulnerable witnesses not properly dealt with in a third of cases, including instances of racial abuse. Full story: The Guardian.

Care applications in October 2015
In October 2015, Cafcass received a total of 1,079 care applications.  This figure represents a 7% increase compared to those received in October 2014. Full story: Cafcass.

Cafcass private law demand
In October 2015, Cafcass received a total of 3,311 new private law cases.  This is a 2% decrease on October 2014 lev…

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers November/December 2015

The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published.

In this issue

Open access – Scott Vine of Clifford Chance explains what open access means and the different approachesData protection – Eduardo Ustaran of Hogan Lovells sets out an action plan for life after Safe HarborSocial media – Barristers Chris Bryden and Michael Salter on reputational risks of commenting on social mediaDigital marketing – Mindy Gofton of I-COM on how the nature of SEO has changed as search engines have developedBarristers' practice – Stephen Crowne CEO of the Bar Council introduces the Direct Access Portal for barristersRecruitment – Christian Browne of Summerfield Browne describes how he uses LinkedIn to recruit staffAdvertising – Alex Heshmaty explains the rise of ad blocking and the surrounding debateBook reviews – Nick Holmes reviews Typography for Lawyers and The Future of the Professions
Access the Newsletter online

The Old Curiosity Shop

Just like the visitors to Nell's grandfather's shop, I hope you will find things of interest amongst my posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog, which included:

Calderbank isn’t dead - As demonstrated by WD v HD.

Are family litigants bad people? - As suggested by Charles Dickens.

Lawyers are not just for clients - As Mr Justice Moylan pointed out in PS v RS.

A good judge will recognise your true intentions - Mrs Justice Parker makes a finding regarding the husband's intentions in Baldwin v Baldwin.

Have a good weekend.

Book Review: Financial Remedies Practice, 2016 Edition

Financial Remedies Practice, 2016 Edition
The @eGlance Guide
£99.95 - Published by Class Legal: November 2015
This is, remarkably, the fifth edition of Financial Remedies Practice, the first edition having been published in 2011 (since the second edition we have had a new edition each autumn).

To recap for those who have not read my reviews of the four previous editions Financial Remedies Practice comprises expert commentary and guidance on all of the parts of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 ('FPR') relevant to money cases, the full text of those parts and the associated Practice Directions.

What has changed with this edition? Well, before I open the cover I can tell you one thing that has changed: to the illustrious list of  Sir Peter Singer, Mr Justice Mostyn, Lewis Marks QC and Gavin Smith can be added a new co-author: Joshua Viney, of 1 Hare Court, who we are told in the preface has made a 'significant contribution' to this edition.

The back cover also tells us that…

News Essentials: 9th November 2015

A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

President calls for end of misuse of section 20 agreements
Steps needed urgently to ensure that there is no repetition of local authority practice. Full story: Family Law Week. See also N (Children : Adoption: Jurisdiction), below.

New arrears figures for the Child Maintenance Service are “disappointing” says Gingerbread
New figures released for the first time reveal that, less than two years after the Child Maintenance Service opened its doors to all new applicants, £35m of arrears owed to children has accumulated. Full story: Gingerbread.

Cohabitation continues to be fastest growing relationship in UK
Figures released today (5 November 2015) show that the cohabiting couple family continues to be the fastest growing family type in the UK in 2015. Full story: Family Law,

Fifth of looked after children placed in children’s homes judged adequate or worse
Ofsted publishes information about the characteristics …

Family justice in the 21st century

My posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog give a flavour of the family justice system today, from the husband who bombarded the court with emails, to the father who felt that the lack of legal aid violated his Article 6 rights.

A lesson in how not to conduct yourself - Given by the husband in Veluppillai v Veluppillai & Ors.

Another day in the life of the family court - Thursday of last week, to be exact.

The sins of insularity - The President's comments on judicial comity in N (Children : Adoption: Jurisdiction).

Challenging the lack of legal aid - As attempted by a father who took the UK to the ECHR in NJDB v United Kingdom. An idea for others to follow?

Have a good weekend.

New cohabitation stats reveal the need for the law to catch up with society

New data from the Office for National Statistics released today confirming that unmarried couples living together are the fastest growing family type in the UK is further proof that the law on cohabitation needs to catch up with modern British society, says family law organisation Resolution.

Cohabiting couples currently have little legal protection when they separate. Lawyer Graeme Fraser, Resolution’s spokesman on cohabitation law, explains:

“Under current cohabitation law it’s possible to live with someone for decades and even to have children together and then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for a former partner when the relationship breaks down. This can have a huge impact on women and children, particularly in cases where a mother has given up or reduced her work to raise a family.”

According to the ONS Families and Households survey, released 5 November 2015, there are now 3.1 million opposite sex cohabiting couple families, which has increased from 14% of all…

News Essentials: 2nd November 2015

A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

David Cameron bids to speed up adoption process
Prime Minister David Cameron wants to increase dramatically the number of children currently in care who move in with their adoptive families before the required legal work is completed. Full story: BBC News. See also this press release.

Mostyn J lambasts ‘abysmal’ litigant in person
Costs order in the sum of nearly £150K made against husband. Full story: Family Law Week. See also Veluppillai v Veluppillai, below.

Attitudes and behaviours of self-employed child maintenance clients and barriers to paying child maintenance
This research explores attitudes and behaviours of self-employed child maintenance paying parents towards the payment of child maintenance. Full story: Department for Work and Pensions.

'Well-known' footballer wins High Court battle to reduce child maintenance payments
A "well-known" footballer has won a High Court appeal to …