Sunday, December 31, 2017

Old John's Almanac 2018


Without further ado, here are my predictions for 2018:

January - Family lawyers are at a loss as to how they should respond to a Court of Appeal judgment, after The Transparency Project fails to explain what the judgment really meant.

February - There is shock when a lawyer says that he actually learned something useful from a live-tweet from a family law conference.

March - Lawyers are splitting their sides at the antics of the new spoof Twitter legal personality "Ben Dover, the Court Security Officer'.

April - Ollie "Nosey" Nosworthy of fathers' rights group The Real Families Need Fathers 4 Justice begins a protest against the 'corrupt family courts', by chaining himself to the railings outside Watford Family Court. Unfortunately, he doesn't know the court closed last September.

May - As the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle takes place, law firm blogs across the country post about the benefits of pre-nuptial agreements.

June - In his last act as President of the Family Division Sir James Munby decrees that, to save money, all divorces will be outsourced to a call centre in Mumbai.

July
 - The new President of the Family Division Sir Cresswell Busybody tells reporters that changing everything every five minutes, like his predecessor, will not be good enough for him. He will be changing everything every two and a half minutes.

August - The Justice Secretary tells reporters that the result of the review into the legal aid cuts will be announced "Sometime in 2019, or possibly 2020. Definitely by 2021. Probably."

September - There is universal praise for Mr Justice Jacksie, when he writes a judgment in terms that the 2 year old child concerned could understand. It is just 9 words long: "Icol baby stay with mummy, see dada every Saturday."

October - Human Rights lawyers are concerned at new government proposals to recover unpaid child maintenance by bringing back debtors' prisons.

November - There is shock at the annual Family Law Awards when the Best Family Lawyer of the Year Award goes to someone who may not actually be better than every other family lawyer.

December - Lawyers are appalled at Curmudgeon & Co., the only law firm in the country not to tweet a picture of its office Xmas tree.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Getting personal


My posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog, comprised:

Lawyers are good for children - As confirmed by a recent survey of magistrates.

Blood from a stone: new initiatives to recover child maintenance - Well, anything must be worth a try...

A personal review of the year, part 1 - Part one of my review of the year.

A personal review of the year, part 2 - You guessed it, part two of my review of the year.

A personal review of the year, part 3 - Yes, it's the third part of my review of the year.

And with that I once again conclude my Stowe posts for another year. Have an excellent Xmas and New Year break.

Monday, December 18, 2017

News Essentials: 18th December 2017


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

NEWS
Law Commission to consider the law of surrogacy
The UK law ‘is outdated and unclear and requires comprehensive reform’. Full story: Family Law Week.

MIAMs between July and September down 5% on a year ago
Mediation starts down 14%. Full story: Family Law Week.

Child maintenance consultation launched
Tough new powers to help tackle child maintenance arrears are being proposed in a consultation that launched today (14 December 2017). Full story: Department for Work and Pensions.

Care applications in November 2017
In November 2017, Cafcass received a total of 1,228 care applications. This figure represents a 5% decrease compared with those received in November 2016 but is the second-highest monthly total for a November on record. Full story: Cafcass.

Cafcass private law demand
In November 2017, Cafcass received a total of 3,811 new private law cases. This is a 9% increase compared with those received in November 2016 and is the highest demand for the month of November since 2012. Full story: Cafcass.

Family court statistics quarterly: July to September 2017
Statistics relating to family courts. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

CASES
B and C (Change of Names: Parental Responsibility: Evidence) [2017] EWHC 3250 (Fam) (12 December 2017)
Proceedings concerning 2 children, whose father is believed to be living in Iran.
Application by mother, who fears father may attempt to remove the children to Iran, for leave to change their names and restrict father's parental responsibility. Full report: Bailii.

HC v FW [2017] EWHC 3162 (Fam) (29 November 2017)
Financial remedies claim by wife, in which the issues included her capacity to litigate and the wealth of the couple was pre-acquired and/or inherited by the husband. Full report: Bailii.

W - C (Children) [2017] EWCA Civ 250 (28 February 2017)
Appeal by guardian against order authorising local authority to place child for adoption, as against long-term fostering. Appeal allowed. 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, December 15, 2017

Covering the bases


My posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog covered many of the bases of family law, including finances, children, domestic abuse and legal aid:

Just within bounds: global maintenance orders and child support - The High Court case AB v CD (Jurisdiction Global Maintenance Orders).

The reality of domestic abuse - A picture of life on the ‘front line’.

Inequality of arms in a post-legal aid world - Welcome to family law in the 21st century.

Is equal parenting time the next big thing from America? - Possibly...

Have a good weekend.

Monday, December 11, 2017

News Essentials: 11th December 2017


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

NEWS
Law Soc publishes behavioural research of consumers choosing divorce services
Price comparison particularly difficult in respect of family law disputes. Full story: Family Law Week.

Select Committee examines proposed HFEA order to remedy discrimination against single parents
Call for submissions on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Remedial Order) 2018. Full story: Family Law Week.

Concern over adopter numbers as figures show ‘no continued decline’ in adoptions
Adoption decisions and placement orders have stabilised since landmark court judgements caused a slump, the Adoption Leadership Board has said. Full story: Community Care.

Financial Remedies Courts should lead to ‘greater predictability’
Legal experts believe new Financial Remedies Courts should provide claimants and respondents with greater predictability, when resolving financial claims on relationship breakdown. Full story: Family Law.

Justice minister pours cold water on growing calls to fund early legal advice
The government yesterday damped down hopes that it would consider funding greater access to early legal advice. Full story: Legal Futures.

MoJ scraps legal aid restrictions for victims of domestic violence
New rules removing time limit and allowing admission of fresh categories of evidence will come into force in January. Full story: The Guardian.

CASES
S v S [2017] EWHC 3184 (Fam) (12 July 2017)
Judgment in proceedings arising from the mother's removal of the child from Iran. Full report: Bailii.

AB v CD (Jurisdiction Global Maintenance Orders) [2017] EWHC 3164 (Fam) (06 December 2017)
Appeal by husband against financial remedies order considering, inter alia, whether the court had jurisdiction to make a global maintenance order for the benefit of the wife and the children. Full report: Bailii.

HRS Louis Xavier Marie Guillaume Prince of Luxembourg, Prince of Nassau and Prince of Bourbon-Parma v HRH Tessy Princess of Luxembourg, Princess of Nassau and Princess of Bourbon-Parma & Anor [2017] EWHC 3095 (Fam) (05 December 2017)
Application to vary reporting restriction order in ongoing financial remedy proceedings. 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, December 08, 2017

Past and future


My posts this week on Marilyn Stowe’s Family Law & Divorce Blog touched upon both the past and the future of family law. They included:

Attorney fails to have gift to wife ratified - The Court of Protection case Re PP.

Is divorce a sign of failure? - Short answer: no.

On the road again: divorce in the 21st century - With particular reference to the new Financial Remedy Courts.

Memories of family cases at Somerset House - A post with a (very slight) seasonal touch.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, December 04, 2017

News Essentials: 4th December 2017


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

NEWS
President's circular: Financial Remedies Courts
Circular released by the President on 1 December 2017 in which he proposes to pilot the FRC in three places starting in February 2018. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Children removed from family home over parents’ 'open' relationship
West Midlands social workers told court the parents each saw other people and found it hard to supervise their children. Full story: The Guardian. See Re PQR, below.

Practice Guidance: Standard Financial and Enforcement Orders
President ‘strongly encourages’ use of standard forms. Full story: Family Law Week.

30% of private law cases have been to court before: Cafcass research
Research investigates reasons for cases returning. Full story: Family Law Week.

Age limit of children attending FHDRAs at CFC
HHJ Tolson QC has agreed for this Note to be shared with practitioners. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Judge highlights 'wholly inadequate' care provision for troubled teen
Another High Court judge has used a ruling to highlight inadequacies in state provision for a troubled and dangerous teenager. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

CASES
D (A Child), Re [2017] EWHC 3075 (Fam) (29 November 2017)
Re-hearing of fact-finding in relation to the cause of injuries to a child then aged four months. Held that the injuries were non-accidental in origin and are likely to have been inflicted by the father in a momentary loss of self-control. Full report: Bailii.

PQR (Children), Re [2017] EWFC B86 (13 October 2017)
Care and placement proceedings in respect of three children. Full report: Bailii.

PW & Ors v Luton Borough Council [2017] EWHC 3028 (Fam) (06 September 2017)
Judgment concerning issue of whether costs were increased by the Legal Aid Agency failing to state whether the statutory charge relating to the costs of care proceedings will apply to the recovery of damages in claim arising from those proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

M (A Child : secure accommodation order) [2017] EWHC 3021 (Fam) (23 November 2017)
Application by local authority for a secure accommodation order in respect of a 15 year old child. Full report: Bailii.

*      *      *
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.