Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Children's charity Coram calls for task force to secure children's rights as Britain leaves the EU

With Brexit at the forefront of the national agenda, Coram, the country’s first children’s charity, is calling on the Government to take pro-active steps to advance the rights of children now and in the future.

Concerned that discussions so far have focused on the economic, trade and legal impacts of leaving the EU and the political considerations and process for leaving, rather than the interests of children, Coram has produced a briefing paper Brexit: Children’s Rights at Risk or Future Opportunity in The Global Era?

Dr Carol Homden CBE, CEO of Coram said: “It will take a determined and difficult process to ensure that every child can face the future with safety and security through and beyond the transition out of the EU.  Critical issues that need to be considered include the citizenship or residence of children, an impact assessment prior to any changes in initiatives currently funded by EU, the maintenance of international commitments which protect children, such as around sexual exploitation, and for there to be no tolerance of xenophobic bullying wherever it may occur.”

Coram is calling on the Government to take the following steps to advance the rights of children now and in the future:

  • As part of the Great Repeal Bill, secure and guarantee children’s rights continuously from the day we leave the EU.
  • To provide children with safety and security by ensuring that all agreements and protocols supporting this are maintained or enhanced.
  • To guarantee the positions of children and their family members who have made their home in the UK to ensure that children’s needs are met.
  • To make sure that children and their families know their rights.
  • To launch a task force on children’s rights and responsibilities that will propose and frame provision on children’s rights as part of the new British Bill of Rights.
  • To incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its protocols fully into UK law.

The full briefing paper is available at www.coram.org.uk/brexit.

Monday, February 27, 2017

News Essentials: 27th February 2017

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

Courts to ban cross-examination of victims by abusers
Domestic abusers will no longer be able to cross-examine their former partners in family courts in England and Wales, the justice secretary is to announce. Full story: BBC News. See also this MoJ press release.

MOJ publishes research on the cross-examination of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses in private family law
The Ministry of Justice has today (23 February 2017) published a report on the cross-examination of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses in private family law. Full story: Family Law.

The Court of Protection (Amendment) Rules 2017
These Rules amend the Court of Protection Rules 2007 in two respects. Statutory Instrument.

Council criticised over death of child on special guardianship order
A children's services department has been criticised for a raft of failures in their handling of the case of an 18-month-old girl, who was murdered after being placed with a family member through a special guardianship order. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Heterosexual couple lose civil partnership challenge
A heterosexual couple have lost their Court of Appeal battle for the right to enter into a civil partnership instead of a marriage. Full story: BBC News. See Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for Education, below.

Family judge condemns 2,000-page bundle
A family judge has expressed his disapproval at the ‘unwarranted expenditure’ in a case where a local authority breached Article 8 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights by taking an infant into care. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See CZ (Human Rights Claim: Costs).

G v S [2017] EWHC 365 (Fam) (24 February 2017)
Final hearing of Schedule 1 Children Act application made by mother of two year old child. Full report: Bailii.

R (A Child : Care Order) [2017] EWHC 364 (Fam) (24 February 2017)
Re-hearing of application for care order and placement orders in respect of two year old child, including issues relating to drug testing on the mother. Full report: Bailii.

K v K [2016] EWHC 3380 (Fam) (24 November 2016)
Nullity petition, in which the respondent claimed that there was nothing capable of recognition as a marriage, and that the petition should therefore be dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

H (A Minor) v Northamptonshire County Council & Anor [2017] EWHC 282 (Fam) (17 February 2017)
Care proceedings and HRA claim on behalf of child. Application by local authority seeking an order for costs against the Lord Chancellor. Full report: Bailii.

J (A Child) (Finland)(Habitual Residence) [2017] EWCA Civ 80 (21 February 2017)
Appeal by father against decision that the English court did not have jurisdiction in relation to proceedings concerning five year old child. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for Education [2017] EWCA Civ 81 (21 February 2017)
Appeal against dismissal of claim for judicial review of decision that the bar against heterosexual couples entering into a civil partnership did not violate the rights of the appellants under Article 14 taken with Article 8. Full report: Bailii.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

An interesting week...

Hopefully, you will find something of interest amongst my posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog, which included:

The case against marriage - Why some people reject the institution.

Is it just me, or are Theresa May’s domestic abuse plans odd? - A few thoughts on the proposed Domestic Violence and Abuse Act.

The tragedy of heavily contested litigation - As in AF v MF & Ors.

In praise of short judgments - May there be many more of them! (In fact, as has been pointed out to me by Stowe's Juilan Hawkhead, there has just been one: Stevenson v Stevenson.)

The most interesting thing of the week, however, was the news that Marilyn Stowe has retired from Stowe Family Law, the firm she founded more than thirty years ago. Apparently, Marilyn intends to use her new-found time “to explore new opportunities, using her expertise as a family lawyer and campaigner for justice as well as her reputation as a successful businesswoman” (somehow I couldn't see her taking it easy!). As many others have already done, I wish her all the very best, wherever those opportunities take her.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Review: Dictionary of Financial Remedies, 2017 Edition

Dictionary of Financial Remedies

Hess, Duckworth & Max

£50 - Published by Class Legal: February 2017

I am minded to make this my shortest book review ever, by referring to my previous reviews of the first three editions of Dictionary of Financial Remedies (which incidentally can be found here, here and here), and explaining what is new by simply repeating what is set out in the grey circle on the lower right of the cover of this edition: "Fully updated and new entries on Arbitration, CROs (that is Civil Restraint Orders) and Interest (on debts)".

Tempting though that is, I suppose I should say just a little more, particularly for the benefit of those new to this title.

Firstly, what exactly is the Dictionary of Financial Remedies? Well, it is an A4 paperback (or digital edition, see below) book comprising (in this edition) 99 pages with some 64 entries, in alphabetical order, on various topics relevant to financial remedies, ranging from agreements through such things as compensation and sharing, to variation of settlements. The publishers describe it as " a unique reference guide to the key concepts, cases and practice of financial remedies."

The idea, of course, is to provide a quick aide-memoire for lawyers and others involved in financial remedy cases (although I think the publishers may be being a little over-optimistic when they suggest that it would be of use to litigants in person). It would be particularly handy to carry around, for example on a smartphone (again, see below).

Now, if you are already a convert, then it is obviously essential to stay up to date, and therefore the decision to purchase the latest edition is easy. If you are not a convert, then I would suggest you invest the modest sum of £50 to give Dictionary of Financial Remedies a try. You may just find it becoming an essential addition to your library.

Dictionary of Financial Remedies can be purchased from Class Legal, here. As usual, a digital edition (which can be used on all computers, including tablets and smartphones) is also available via Class Legal's website.

Monday, February 20, 2017

News Essentials: 20th February 2017

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

Prime Minister's plans to transform the way we tackle domestic violence and abuse
Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans for a major programme of work leading towards bringing forward a Domestic Violence and Abuse Act. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Kirkless council breached parents’ human rights by removing baby
Council ordered to pay £11,250 after removing week-old baby over father’s ‘unorthodox views’ about benefits of formula milk. Full story: The Guardian. See CZ (Human Rights Claim: Costs), below.

Guidance issued on DoLS and intensive care after landmark ruling
The judgment held that “in general” there could be no deprivation of liberty under human rights law when a person is receiving lifesaving treatment. Full story: Community Care.

Government rebuffs latest calls for no-fault divorce
Widespread calls to reform divorce laws appear to be falling on deaf ears after the government confirmed it has no current plans to change existing legislation. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

University professor’s challenge to the validity of his 16 year marriage fails
Court of Appeal applies ‘presumption of marriage’ to Syrian couple’s relationship. Full story: Family Law Week. See Hayatleh v Mofdy, below.

Woman seeks to end 39-year marriage in Valentine's Day court appeal
Tini Owens is appealing against judge’s ‘extraordinarily unusual’ refusal to grant her a divorce last year. Full story: The Guardian.

Divorcees don't need to afford lifestyle they were accustomed to in marriage, Court of Appeal judge says as he rules against ex-wife
Divorcees do not need to be able to afford the lifestyle they were accustomed to in marriage, a Court of Appeal judge has suggested as he rejected an ex-wife’s bid to increase her settlement. Full story: The Telegraph.

Divorced parents who pit children against former partners 'guilty of abuse'
Divorced parents who "brainwash" their children against ex-partners are guilty of “abuse”, the head of the agency that looks after youngsters' interests in family courts has said. Full story: The Telegraph.


D v D [2016] EWHC 3546 (Fam) (15 December 2016)
Application under the inherent jurisdiction by the father for the return to Northern Cyprus of his son. Full report: Bailii.

K and D (Wardship Without Notice Return Order) [2017] EWHC 153 (Fam) (02 February 2017)
Application by local authority seeking permission to invoke the inherent jurisdiction and, thereafter, orders in wardship in respect of two children, including orders for their summary return to the jurisdiction from Cyprus. Full report: Bailii

CZ (Human Rights Claim: Costs) [2017] EWFC 11 (16 February 2017)
Claim for damages by parents and child in relation to an interim care order obtained by the local authority. Full report: Bailii.

Hayatleh v Mofdy [2017] EWCA Civ 70 (14 February 2017)
Appeal against a decision where a marriage in Syria was found to be valid and therefore open to divorce proceedings in the UK. Full report: Family Law Week.

Martins, Re [2016] EWCOP 45 (10 June 2016)
Court of Protection proceedings concerning 81 year old man with dementia, who was currently living in Portugal. Full report: Bailii.

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For more news, see here.

For more cases, see here.

To subscribe to the Family Lore Focus free weekly Newsletter (which includes links to all of the week's top family law news stories, cases, articles and blog posts), go here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

News Essentials: 13th February 2017

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

Munby to step down next year
The most senior family judge in England and Wales, renowned among practitioners for his outspoken views, is to step down next year. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Cafcass private law demand
In January 2017, Cafcass received a total of 3,356 new private law cases. This is a 17% increase on January 2016 levels. Full story: Cafcass.

Care applications in January 2017
In January 2017, Cafcass received a total of 1,119 care applications. This figure represents a 7% increase compared with those received in January 2016. Full story: Cafcass.

Cohabiting partner wins pension fight in Supreme Court
Nomination requirement added nothing to evidential hurdle concerning cohabiting relationship. Full story: Family Law Week.

Court orders man to increase payments to wife who lost bulk of divorce settlement with 'poor financial decisions'
A wife who lost the bulk of her divorce settlement by making "poor financial decisions" has been awarded larger monthly payments from her ex-husband despite calls from his lawyer for maintenance limits to reflect "social change". Full story: The Telegraph.

Health Secretary urged to end GPs’ charging for legal aid ‘domestic violence’ letters
Guardian reports call from 16 police and crime commissioners. Full story: Family Law Week.

X (A Child), Re [2017] EWHC 158 (Fam) (27 January 2017)
Application by father for a without notice location order and disclosure of information order, in case where the mother had removed the child from Scotland to England. Full report: Bailii.

EE & ME (Children) (Habitual Residence) [2016] EWHC 3363 (Fam) (20 December 2016)
Judgment considering issue of whether the court has jurisdiction to hear an application by a father in respect of two children who were removed to Latvia by the mother. Full report: Bailii.

Norman v Norman [2017] EWCA Civ 49 (08 February 2017)
Application by wife for extension of anonymity order in relation to financial remedy proceedings. Application dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

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For more news, see here.

For more cases, see here.

To subscribe to the Family Lore Focus free weekly Newsletter (which includes links to all of the week's top family law news stories, cases, articles and blog posts), go here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

From everyone’s favourite family law blogger...

...or maybe not. Whatever, my posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog included the following:

Yes, the welfare of the child is still paramount - Contrary to what some may believe (they also believe I am everyone's favourite family law blogger). Looking at the proposed amendments to PD 12J.

Court rules that child should have cataract surgery - In the case Re EQ.

A non-sequitur from Sir Paul Coleridge - Don't laugh, but Sir Paul thinks that Brexit will reverse the decline in marriage.

What exactly is a consent order, and why do I need one? - I try to answer that question.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, February 06, 2017

400th Newsletter!

I have just sent out the 400th edition of the Family Lore Focus Newsletter. For those who don't know, the Newsletter is a free weekly email sent to subscribers and containing links to all the the top family law news stories, cases, legislation, articles and blog posts that were reported on Family Lore Focus that week. The links come from across the web, and are all free to view. In this way, the Newsletter is intended to keep the reader up to date on developments in family law, with the minimum of effort.

You can subscribe to the Newsletter here - all that is required is your name and email address.

News Essentials: 6th February 2017

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

Court of Appeal applies Wyatt v Vince in 'delay' case
Husband’s claim that court had paid insufficient regard to wife's delay rejected. Full post: Family Law Week. See Briers v Briers.

Consent ‘not required’ for section 20 accommodation, judge says
The Court of Appeal has said good practice guidance set out by Sir James Munby should still be followed, but not meeting it doesn't necessarily mean there is an 'actionable wrong'. Full story: Community Care. See London Borough of Hackney v Williams & Anor.

Munby: court did not ‘cave in’ over release of jailed 71-year-old
The senior family judge has insisted the Court of Appeal has not ‘caved in’ at the ‘first sign of obduracy’ following the release of a 71-year-old jailed for contempt. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See MM (A Patient), below.

Court makes landmark ruling on deprivation of liberty and medical care
The judgement was made in the case of a woman with Down's syndrome and learning disabilities, who died in intensive care in 2013. Full story: Community Care. See Ferreira, R (On the Application Of) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner South London.

Court bans children from seeing transgender parent because it is 'incompatible' with their Ultra-Orthodox Jewish faith
A transgender woman has been banned from seeing her five children after a family court ruled it was not compatible with her ex-wife's ultra-orthodox Jewish background. Full story: The Independent. See J v B, below.

S (A Child), Re [2017] EWCA Civ 44 (02 February 2017)
Appeal by mother against findings of fact made in the context of private law proceedings concerning 8 year old child. Full report: Bailii.

J v B (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender) [2017] EWFC 4 (30 January 2017)
Contact application by transgender father of children belonging to Charedi Jewish community. Full report: Bailii.

MM (A Patient) [2017] EWCA Civ 34 (30 January 2017)
Appeal against order requiring appellant to sign documentation to facilitate the return of the patient from Portugal. Full report: Bailii.

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For more news, see here.

For more cases, see here.

To subscribe to the Family Lore Focus free weekly Newsletter (which includes links to all of the week's top family law news stories, cases, articles and blog posts), go here.

Friday, February 03, 2017