Monday, December 17, 2018

News Essentials: 17th December 2018


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

NEWS
Mediation starts fall to half pre-LASPO levels
Legal Aid statistics for July to September 2018 published. Full story: Family Law Week.

LASPO review publication delayed again to early 2019
The long-awaited review of legal aid reforms will not be published by the end of this year, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Family Court Statistics Quarterly: July to September 2018
Volume of cases dealt with by family courts over time, with statistics also broken down for the main types of case involved. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Six months too long to finalise a divorce, bar warns
Making separating couples wait six months before their divorce is finalised is an 'unacceptable delay' for those who do not have children, the bar's representative body has told the government. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

President issues update to FGM standard orders
Corrects an error relating to powers of arrest. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Local authority sorry after judge condemns IROs’ ‘utter failure’ to serve children’s best interests
Herefordshire council breached human rights in splitting twins and offered 'woeful' care to half siblings in separate case, judgments conclude. Full story: Community Care. See BT & GT, and A & B, below.

CASES
BB v CC (residence order) [2018] EWFC B78 (15 October 2018)
Proceedings concerning arrangements for a 3 year old child. Appeal by mother against order that required her to relocate with the child from one part of the country to the other. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

DA & JA (Children : non-Hague summary return) [2018] EWHC 3429 (Fam) (15 June 2018)
Application by father for children to be made wards and for the Court to order their summary return to Nigeria. Full report: Bailii.

F (A Child : Placement Order: Proportionality) [2018] EWCA Civ 2761 (11 December 2018)
Appeal by mother from care and placement orders made in proceedings concerning a child now aged 15 months. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

BT & GT (Children : twins - adoption) [2018] EWFC 76 (29 November 2018)
Applications to adopt twins in two separate homes, following serial failings of the local authority. Full report: Bailii.

A & B (care orders and placement orders - failures) [2018] EWFC 72 (30 November 2018)
Judgment in care proceedings, in which the local authority conceded that the serial failures in the care provided, or not provided, to the children amounted to breaches of their respective Article 8 rights. 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.

Monday, December 10, 2018

News Essentials: 10th December 2018


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

NEWS
European Council agrees more effective rules to resolve cross-border parental responsibility issues
Work will continue on finalising the text of the revised regulations. Full story: Family Law Week.

President’s Practice Guidance: Family Court – Anonymisation guidance
The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has published practice guidance dealing with two aspects of anonymisation and the avoidance of identification of children in judgments placed in the public arena. Full story: Family Law Week.

Working together to address pressing questions about Special Guardianship
The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, CoramBAAF and the Family Justice Council to work together to address pressing questions about Special Guardianship. Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

The Child Support (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018
These Regulations amend child support regulations. Statutory Instrument.

CASES
SR (A Child), Re [2018] EWCA Civ 2738 (06 December 2018)
Appeal by the father of a boy, now aged 7, against a finding made in care proceedings that he abused his son. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

M (A Child) (Secure Accommodation) [2018] EWCA Civ 2707 (06 December 2018)
Appeal by young person against the making of a secure accommodation order. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

HRH Louis Prince of Luxembourg v HRH Tessy Princess of Luxembourg & Anor (Application for Financial Remedy) [2018] EWFC 77 (04 December 2018)
final hearing of an application by Her Royal Highness Tessy Princess of Luxembourg, Princess of Nassau and Princess of Bourbon-Parma for financial remedy orders against His Royal Highness Louis Xavier Marie Guillaume, Prince of Luxembourg. 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.

Monday, December 03, 2018

News Essentials: 3rd December 2018


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

NEWS
'Completely futile': judge criticises adulterous husband for contesting divorce
A family judge has criticised a man who cheated on his wife for contesting a divorce in an 'awful case' in which his cross-examination of the couple's daughter was described as 'particularly excruciating'. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See VW v BH, below.

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No.16) Order 2018
This Order brings into force s.27 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008, inserting new ss.39B to 39G into the Child Support Act 1991, which allow the Secretary of State to apply to a court to disqualify a non-resident parent with child maintenance arrears for holding or obtaining a United Kingdom passport. Statutory Instrument.

This Former Judge Has Condemned The Government For Leaving People In Court With No Lawyer
Sir James Munby, former president of the family court, said there is “a very real concern” about the state of justice. Full story: BuzzFeed News.

Waggott 'meal ticket' appeal leaves lawyers waiting for maintenance guidance
A wife’s challenge to the appeal court’s decision to end periodical payments from her ex-husband has come to an end. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Divorce is not a “blank cheque” for litigation, judge warns
Litigation is not a “blank cheque” and divorcing people cannot behave on the basis that they are bound to be reimbursed for their costs, a leading family law judge has warned. Full story: Legal Futures.

Court of Protection opens door to robes at hearings
Judges and advocates could soon be required to wear robes in Court of Protection hearings at the High Court – to send a clear message that its doors are open to the media and public. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

CASES
Moore v Moore & Anor [2018] EWCA Civ 2669 (27 November 2018)
Appeal against decision in proprietary estoppel case involving a family farm. Full report: Bailii.

RR v MM [2018] EWHC 3252 (Fam) (18 October 2018)
Application by father for permission to appeal against orders made in private law proceedings, including refusal of judge to recuse herself on the grounds of bias. Application refused. Full report: Bailii.

AEY v AL (Family Proceedings: Civil Restraint Order) [2018] EWHC 3253 (Fam) (19 November 2018)
Hearing of multiple applications for permission to appeal by father of two girls. Applications refused and civil restraint order made. Full report: Bailii.

VW v BH (Contested Divorce Proceedings) [2018] EWFC B68 (05 November 2018)
Judgment in contested divorce proceedings. 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.

Friday, November 30, 2018

New by me this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog


My posts this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog included:

Can there be anything good about a divorce? - As suggested by Resolution's Good Divorce week campaign.

Racing driver case is a reminder that prenuptial agreements must still be fair - The Kenny Brack case.

I agree with Lord Sumption – well, in part - Considering Lord Sumption's controversial remarks at the annual bar and young bar conference.

A workload challenge and the need for change: the Presidents speak - Looking at the recent speeches of Sir Andrew McFarlane and Sir James Munby.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Divorce law reform urgently needed to reduce impact on children


A family law campaign body has urged the Government to reform divorce law as soon as possible, in order to protect the long-term interests of children of separating couples.

Resolution, a campaign organisation that represents 6,500 family justice professionals, has long championed the need to remove blame from the divorce process. They state that the current fault-based system leads to conflict and confrontation, which is particularly harmful for children.

Over recent years Resolution, along with other organisations, has built a cross-party group of supportive Parliamentarians that have applied pressure on the Government to ensure divorce law in England and Wales reflects other areas of the family justice system which aim to minimise conflict.

Currently, in order to obtain a divorce in England and Wales, couples are required to live apart for at least two years; otherwise one partner must blame the other by alleging adultery or what is commonly referred to as ‘unreasonable behaviour.’

However, the Government recently, and unexpectedly, announced a consultation on reform divorce law, with the Justice Secretary David Gauke MP saying “we think the ‘blame game’ that currently exists helps no one. It creates unnecessary antagonism and anxiety at an already trying time for couples and in particular where there are children.”

Resolution have highlighted findings of a YouGov poll they commissioned, in the same week they submitted response to the Government consultation, hand-delivered at the Ministry of Justice to Lucy Frazer MP, Family Justice Minister.

The YouGov poll found that 79% of the population agree that conflict from divorce or separation can affect negatively children’s mental health, a figure rising to 87% among those whose own parents divorced during childhood. 77% of those surveyed also said that conflict could affect a child’s academic performance and a further two-thirds felt social interactions and the ability to form healthy romantic relationships were also jeopardised by an acrimonious separation.

Margaret Heathcote, National Chair of Resolution, and family lawyer, said:
“We are delighted that the Government is listening to family justice professionals and taking proactive steps towards ending the blame game and modernising divorce law.

“Whilst reform will bring many benefits to separating couples, ultimately it’s the positive difference these changes will have on children that must be at the centre of everyone’s intentions.

“We hope other responses to the consultation will reflect our own view, that it is time to end the blame game as soon as possible.”

Opponents of a move towards a no-fault divorce system claim that this will undermine the value of marriage, and lead to an increase in divorce. However, figures from Scotland, where no-fault divorce was made possible in 2006, suggests no long-term increase in divorce rates since reforms were introduced.

Justice Minister Lucy Frazer MP said:

“The current system of forcing spouses to attribute blame for a divorce leads only to increased conflict and unnecessary confrontation.

“We have committed to scrapping this archaic rule as soon as possible, making the process less acrimonious and helping families look to the future.

“I am pleased so many important stakeholders support our reforms, including Resolution, and we welcome all feedback on our proposals.”

Nigel Shepherd, a former National Chair of Resolution and long-standing campaigner for no-fault divorce said:

“For more than 25 years we’ve been making the case that we need to remove blame from the divorce process. I’m incredibly grateful to the Justice Secretary and Family Justice Minister for looking at our case with an open-mind and agreeing on the need to modernise our divorce law.

“Family lawyers across the country back reform, the public support it and, we know from our correspondence with MPs and Peers of all parties, that there is little – if any – opposition in Parliament.

“We know the Government and Parliament have many demands on its focus and time, but we urge that these much-needed reforms are brought forward as soon as possible”.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats came out in public support for no fault divorce in 2017.

Monday, November 26, 2018

News Essentials: 26th November 2018


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

NEWS
Families ‘subject to thin, red line decisions’ should be diverted from the courts
Principle of ‘No Order’ should be more readily applied in children cases. Full story: Family Law Week.

Senior family judge calls for attention on process before care applications issued
The process undertaken in the months, weeks and days before a care application is issued is “ripe for attention”, the President of the Family Division has said. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Government confirms it will introduce civil partnership legislation in next parliamentary session
Consultation will precede bill. Full story: Family Law Week.

CCMS crisis: domestic violence victims advised to represent themselves
A family solicitor is having to inform domestic violence victims that they must attend court on their own as a result of the latest glitches with the Legal Aid Agency's online legal aid system. Full article: Law Society Gazette.

Family lawyers told to draft court orders on the day
Family lawyers will be expected to come to court with their laptops and draft orders on the day as part of a policy drafted to reduce delays caused by growing workloads and dwindling staff resources. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

CASES
C v C [2018] EWHC 3186 (Fam) (22 November 2018)
W's financial remedy application, in which the single issue was the extent to which there should be a departure from equality on the basis of H's post-separation endeavours and his creation of what he asserted to be non-matrimonial property. Full report: Bailii.

Olu-Williams v Olu-Williams [2018] EWHC 2464 (Fam) (21 September 2018)
Application by wife for husband's committal for contempt in failing to comply with specific orders or undertakings in financial remedy proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

WG v HG [2018] EWFC 70 (30 July 2018)
Final hearing of wife's financial remedies claim. Wife awarded £4.05 million, on a clean break basis. 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.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers November/December 2018

The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published.
In this issue:
  • Data protection – Eduardo Ustaran considers what the GDPR means in practical terms now that the dust has settled
  • Access to law – Daniel Hoadley of the ICLR looks at the state of free case law and asks what we need for open access
  • Irish Resources – Paul McMahon of McMahon Legal describes the online legal information resources available in Ireland
  • Social Media – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words shows how lawyers can improve their online presence using LinkedIn
  • Blogging – Delia Venables looks at the state of legal blogging and offers a selection of good legal blogs
  • Blogging – Nick Holmes considers the various reasons why (some) lawyers should blog
  • Publications – Nick Holmes reviews The Internet, Warts and All by Paul bernal

Crime in 2018 - How Does it Look in England and Wales?

Crime has always been and will always be a part of society. As the years go by and times change, the police are faced with the constant challenge of fighting new crimes, more-so with the arrival of digital technology and cyber-related offences. The authorities in England and Wales have done a fairly decent job of keeping a lid on crime levels, though the challenge is ongoing.

Recent Home Office figures have been rounded up by the Office of National Statistics to show just how crime in England and Wales looks in 2018. While some crimes are falling, there is a rise in some serious violent offences, including knife crime and sexual offences.

Legal specialists at Carter Moore Solicitors have constructed a visual representation of the recorded crime in England and Wales, based on the data released by the Home Office in October 2018.

Crime in England and Wales

Figures revealed how homicide, which includes murder, manslaughter and infanticide, was actually at the highest it’s been for more than 10 years, with a constant rise since 2014. Though this is a clear rise and increase in recorded murders, these numbers are also affected by the number of people caught by the police.

It’s tough to decipher exactly how much this crime has risen in line with how many more people were brought to justice by the authorities. The same goes for the increase in violent crimes and crimes which involve a sharp object or knife - the rates have indeed gone up, but this represents the number of criminals caught by police, so whether or not there are more people committing these crimes remains unseen.

Computer misuse has dipped

Cyber crimes and crimes involving technology are well and truly a part of modern life now. The police recorded a large number of offences connected to computer misuse, for example, though it’s actually down by a substantial 31% (to 1,239,000). In very much the same fashion as mentioned above, this doesn’t offer a clear picture as to whether or not fewer crimes are being committed - more the number of people that have been caught and brought to justice.

Violence and injury

There has been a rise in the number of recorded incidents where someone has been injured through violence, and the ONS figures have claimed that violent crimes involving knives are increasing.

It was recorded that there was a 12% rise in such crimes where a knife or sharp weapon was used, and are connected to crimes such as rape and robbery as well as murder. The BBC reported that there were 40,000 of these crimes documented last year.

Been involved in a crime?

There are thousands of people every day who end up involved in a crime in one way or another. If you have been accused of a crime or you know someone who has, there is help and advice available. Find out more here.

New by me this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog


My posts this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog included:

Baroness Deech’s dangerous Divorce Bill - As being debated today.

The emotional price paid by children for parental conflict - As in the case IX v IY.

Lord Chief Justice reports on the state of the justice system - It doesn’t make entirely happy reading.

Does our financial provision law even need reform? - Or is it already as good as it can be?

Have a good weekend.

Monday, November 19, 2018

News Essentials: 19th November 2018


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

NEWS
Increase in family law cases causing court backlogs: Lord Chief Justice
‘Still too few judges to absorb all of the increases in case volumes’. Full story: Family Law Week.

Courts to pilot more flexible hours for the benefit of the public
Early and late sittings will be piloted in civil and family courts, giving people greater access to hearings that can fit around their busy lives. Full story: HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

Sir James Munby appointed Chair of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
The Nuffield Foundation has appointed Sir James Munby as Chair of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory. Full story: Nuffield Foundation.

The Family Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2018
These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010. Statutory Instrument.

Committee stage of Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill scheduled for 23 November
The Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill is scheduled to commence its Committee stage – ie line by line examination of the Bill – in the House of Lords on 23 November. Full story: Family Law Week.

CASES
IX v IY [2018] EWHC 3053 (Fam) (16 October 2018)
Final hearing of wife's financial remedies claim in case with estimated assets of £38 million, including consideration of principles of sharing, needs and compensation. Full report: Bailii.

LM v KD [2018] EWHC 3057 (Fam) (12 November 2018)
Appeals in TOLATA and CA Sch 1 proceedings, where the principal question arising was whether jurisdiction in respect of the matters in issue lay, as the wife claimed, with the courts of England and Wales or, as the husband maintained, with the courts of Italy. Full report: Bailii.

K (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 2512 (08 August 2018)
Appeal against order refusing to direct local authority to return child to the care of the mother upon his anticipated release from hospital, where he was being treated for meningitis. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

D, E, F and G (Children : Art 15 - transfer of the proceedings) (Rev 2) [2017] EWHC 3078 (Fam) (19 September 2017)
Care proceedings concerning 4 children. Application for transfer of proceedings to Romania. Application refused. 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.

Friday, November 16, 2018

My posts this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog


My posts this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog included:

Expert witnesses and radical changes: The President speaks - To the Annual Bond Solon Expert Witness Conference.

Missing husband presumed dead in Egypt - Mr Justice Hayden goes all Agatha Christie in Halford v Halford.

Does justice have to be face-to-face? - Not according to professor Susskind. Apparently.

Private Members’ Bill aims to improve Child Maintenance Service - The Child Maintenance Bill 2017-19.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, November 12, 2018

News Essentials: 12th November 2018


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

NEWS
President’s Guidance: Addition to Compendium of Standard Family Orders
With the agreement of the President I promulgate three new orders, and an addition to an existing order, to be added with immediate effect to the Compendium of Standard Orders. Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

Law Society publishes no-deal Brexit guidance on family law
The Law Society has published guidance for solicitors highlighting the changes in civil and commercial co-operation that will occur in the event the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a Withdrawal Agreement and transitional arrangements in place, and the steps solicitors should consider in order to prepare their practice for this scenario. Full story: Family Law.

Social services under fire after boy placed into foster care before grandparents knew he was born
Judge says grandparents could have been considered as carers if they were told of boy's existence. Full story: The Independent. See Z v Kent County Council, below.

Pension Advisory Group: Update
The Pension Advisory Group was convened in mid-2017 with the purpose of producing a good practice guide for lawyers and financial experts about the issues relating to pensions on divorce. Full story: Family Law.

CASES
S (Care proceedings: Article 15 second transfer) [2018] EWHC 3054 (Fam) (29 October 2018)
Care proceedings. Application by mother for transfer of proceedings to the Republic of Ireland. Application refused. Full report: Bailii.

NN v AS & Ors [2018] EWHC 2973 (Fam) (06 November 2018)
Claim by wife following Egyptian divorce, including determining interests of wider family members in various properties. Full report: Bailii.

HC (A Minor : Deprivation of Liberty) [2018] EWHC 2961 (Fam) (05 November 2018)
Application by LA for court to determine whether 13 year-old's placement constitutes a deprivation of his liberty and, if so, for authorisation. Full report: Bailii.

Z v Kent County Council (Revocation of placement order - Failure to assess Mother's capacity and Grandparents) [2018] EWFC B65 (18 October 2018)
Care proceedings. Placement order revoked and special guardianship orders made in favour of current carers. Full report: Bailii.

D (A child : parental alienation) [2018] EWFC B64 (19 October 2018)
Proceedings regarding arrangements for 13 year old child. Fact-finding hearing considering allegations that the father had abused the child, and that that the mother had systematically alienated the child from the father. 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.

Monday, November 05, 2018

News Essentials: 5th November 2018


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

NEWS
Financial Remedies Pilot extended to eight more court centres
President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has announced that he has given the 'green light' for the pilot to start working in each of these eight courts. Full story: Family Law Week.

Ministry of Justice commits to care leaver covenant
The Secretary of State for Justice has pledged the Ministry of Justice to support the principles of the care leaver covenant, and to provide specified support to help care leavers in their transition from care to independence in order to improve their life chances. Full story: Family Law Week.

Number of children in need rises by 4 per cent since last year
Number of child protection plans rises by 5 per cent. Full story: Family Law Week.

New courts and tribunals media guidance released for staff
HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has released guidance for its staff to help encourage and facilitate media access to the UK’s family and other courts and tribunals. Full story: Family Law.

Home Affairs Committee urges Government to widen forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill
Report recommends end to single Universal Credit payments. Full story: Family Law Week.

CASES
Hart v Hart [2018] EWHC 2894 (Fam) (25 October 2018)
Judgment dealing with issue of whether there had been a contempt in relation to the implementation of a financial remedies order. Full report: Bailii.

CD (A Child : Re Hearing of Fact-Finding) [2018] EWHC 2670 (Fam) (28 September 2018)
Care proceedings. Re-hearing of fact-finding to determine cause of injuries to child. Full report: Bailii.

D, (A Child), Re [2018] EWHC 2828 (Fam) (05 October 2018)
Judgment concerning accommodation of child exhibiting extreme behaviour, possibly as a consequence of what she witnessed whilst living in Iraq. Full report: Bailii.

Lomax & Ors v Greenslade [2018] EWHC 2623 (Ch) (23 July 2018)
Appeal against award in Inheritance Act proceedings arising in circumstances where a father had not made provision for his 3 children in the will. At first instance the judge had made an award to the claimant children leaving the defendant with 69k out of 699k. Her appeal was rejected though the awards to the children reduced slightly as a result of fresh evidence about the value of the estate and other costs incurred. Full report: Bailii, via Family Law Hub.

*      *      *
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.

Monday, October 29, 2018

News Essentials: 29th October 2018


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

NEWS
Civil Partnerships Bill reaches report stage
New clause requires government to bring equality between same-sex and other couples. Full story: Family Law Week.

New courts and tribunals media guidance released for staff
HM Courts & Tribunals Service has released guidance for its staff to help encourage and facilitate media access to the UK’s family and other courts and tribunals. Full story: Family Law.

Home Affairs Committee urges Government to widen forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill
Report recommends end to single Universal Credit payments. Full story: Family Law Week.

CASES
D, (A Child), Re [2018] EWHC 2828 (Fam) (05 October 2018)
Judgment concerning accommodation of child exhibiting extreme behaviour, possibly as a consequence of what she witnessed whilst living in Iraq. Full report: Bailii.

Lomax & Ors v Greenslade [2018] EWHC 2623 (Ch) (23 July 2018)
Appeal against award in Inheritance Act proceedings arising in circumstances where a father had not made provision for his 3 children in the will. At first instance the judge had made an award to the claimant children leaving the defendant with 69k out of 699k. Her appeal was rejected though the awards to the children reduced slightly as a result of fresh evidence about the value of the estate and other costs incurred. Full report: Bailii, via Family Law Hub.

*      *      *
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.

Monday, October 22, 2018

News Essentials: 22nd October 2018


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

NEWS
Woman with learning difficulties not told she had contraceptive device covertly fitted
A young woman with learning difficulties should not be told she was covertly fitted with a contraceptive device as it would ruin her trust in her carers, a court has ruled. Full story: The Telegraph. See report, below.

Research launched to assess whether biased advice is distorting access to justice
A new research project will examine whether vulnerable people representing themselves in child court cases find themselves and their children put at risk by misinformed or biased online legal advice. Full story: Family Law.

“Vulnerable children will be victims” of Government’s failure to provide clarity - Lords warn Government over family justice system after Brexit
A “worrying level of complacency”, lack of clarity, and inadequate advice will have a devastating knock-on effect on the UK family law courts, and ultimately children – warns the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee. Full story: House of Lords.

Munby troubled by Court of Protection cases being 'transferred up'
Desperate parents are persuading less senior judges to transfer Court of Protection cases higher to force public authorities to act - a practice that the former president of the family division finds 'deeply troubling'. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Senior Family Liaison Judge appointed
Mrs Justice Theis has been appointed as the Senior Family Liaison Judge with immediate effect for a 4 year period. Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

CASES
C (An Infant), Re [2018] EWHC 2750 (Fam) (17 October 2018)
Judgment concerning withdrawal of medical treatment for two month old child with brain abnormality. Full report: Bailii.

H (Children) [2018] EWFC 61 (18 October 2018)
Care proceedings concerning two children, which took 116 weeks to resolve. Judgment considering what could be done to avoid delay, particularly caused by concurrent criminal proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

Y (Autism -Care Proceedings- Deprivation of Liberty), Re [2018] EWHC B63 (23 April 2018)
Application for care order in respect of an autistic young person, and for an order declaring that it is lawful for the local authority to deprive him of his liberty. Full report: Bailii.

P (Sexual Relations and Contraception) v.2 [2018] EWCOP 10 (18 April 2018)
Judgment in long-running proceedings involving a vulnerable young woman, addressing issues concerning her sexual relationships and the covert insertion of a contraceptive device. Full report: Bailii.

RJ v CM [2018] EWHC 2509 (Fam) (24 July 2018)
Appeal by mother against refusal to adjourn fact-finding hearing in child arrangements proceedings. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

A (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 2240 (16 October 2018)
Appeal against SGO in favour of foster carer, rather than child's maternal family in Ghana. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Jay v Secretary of State for Justice [2018] EWHC 2620 (Fam) (08 October 2018)
Appeal against refusal of application for a gender recognition certificate. Appeal allowed. 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.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Research project to assess if biased online legal advice is distorting access to justice in family cases


A new research project will examine whether vulnerable people representing themselves in child court cases find themselves and their children put at risk by misinformed or biased online legal advice.

Academics at Birmingham City University and the University of Leeds have launched the new project which will explore the quality, and types of advice handed out through legal advisors, online help forums or social media boards.

Cuts to legal aid have seen a major rise in the number of those acting as their own representatives in court, with over 80 per cent of family court cases seeing a least one party representing themselves – a practice known as Litigants in Person (LIPs).

Without affordable face-to-face legal advice, many LIPs turn to online sources or McKenzie Friends – litigation friends who help LIPs represent themselves on a voluntary basis or for a fee.

The legal community has raised serious concerns about the quality of information and advice provided online by McKenzie Friends or online forum facilitators.

The study - the first analysis of its kind – will examine the quality and accuracy of free legal support made available online, to see if children’s welfare is being put at risk by incorrect or biased information designed to further a prejudiced agenda.

Most LIPs have no previous legal background, knowledge or expertise, leaving them reliant on scouring the internet for support or information to help build their cases.

The research will be carried out by English linguistics specialist Dr Tatiana Tkacukova, Senior Lecturer in English Language at Birmingham City University, and legal expert Hilary Sommerlad, Professor of Law and Justice at the University of Leeds.

Dr Tkacukova said: “People representing themselves in court often find themselves at an immediate disadvantage because the language of law, the documentation and the processes are all geared towards those who have previous working knowledge of it.

“For people without any background in law it is very difficult to know where to look for relevant information, which legal concepts are applicable to their case or how to present their side of the story in an appropriate way, so often they will look for help, support or information online.

“Unfortunately a lot of the information which is out there is either incorrect or has been designed to further a specific viewpoint of how justice should or should not work. This can not only lead to people unwittingly be used to further propaganda, but more worryingly can have a serious impact on the way justice is delivered and the lives of children.

“What we want to do with this project is find out what information LIPs are seeking online and what advice they are provided with so that we are able to help drive change and support people in searching for legal advice they need.”

The study will focus specifically on public and private child cases – including those related to child protection and children’s living arrangements – to see if the information and current processes are putting LIPs and their children at risk.

It will look at the key words and search terms most often used by LIPs to access online advice, and assess the quality of information found in the top Google hits.

Over 100,000 words will then be analysed based on questions asked by LIPs and the advice they are given.

The analysis will focus on:
  • Type of information and advice LIPs are seeking
  • Communication strategies LIPs are using to describe the issues in their case
  • Quality of information and advice LIPs are provided with
  • The legal knowledge shown by LIPs and online forum facilitators
  • The understanding of judicial processes and legal strategies shown by online forum facilitators
The project aims to produce clear guidance to help people avoid being given unreliable information and improve LIP’s awareness of the choices they have when seeking legal advice.

The research will be split between English linguistics specialist Dr Tatiana Tkacukova, Senior Lecturer in English Language at Birmingham City University, and legal expert Hilary Sommerlad, Professor of Law and Justice at the University of Leeds.

Dr Tkacukova, who has been researching the opportunities available to Litigants in Person for over five years, will use specially devised tools to find and analyse the language used online.

Hilary Sommerlad, Professor of Law and Justice at the University of Leeds, will examine the quality of the legal advice found.

Professor Sommerlad said: “Access to the law is vital if people are to realise their rights and defend claims brought against them. Yet the law is alien and intimidating to most lay people.

“With the removal of legal aid from most private law matters more and more people are obliged to navigate the law’s highly complex procedures and deal with its esoteric language unaided, and often at points in their lives when they are at their most vulnerable.

“As a result many turn to online sources including ‘McKenzie Friends’, that is those who offer representation themselves on a voluntary basis or for a fee.

“As an unregulated source of legal aid, the quality of information and advice provided is inevitably highly variable. This research into the online activities of McKenzie Friends will therefore be extremely valuable in assessing the dangers and benefits of this form of advice.”

It is hoped the project will spark a change in the quality of information and support available to LIPs online through more official channels.

The project will also produce new research evidence base which can support legal reforms currently underway at HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

The project has been funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants scheme.

Monday, October 15, 2018

News Essentials: 15th October 2018


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

NEWS
Cafcass publishes new assessment framework for private law cases
We have developed a new assessment framework to support our practitioners in assessing the harmful impact of a range of complex case factors on the children we work with in private law cases. Full story: Cafcass.

Judge condemns 'unacceptable' lack of secure accommodation for children
Judge Mary Lazarus had nowhere to send convicted 16-year-old involved in ‘county lines’ drug dealing. Full story: The Guardian. See O (A child : No Available Secure Accommodation), below.

Almost 17,000 newborn babies taken into care in England in past nine years
Many infants taken from their mothers in hospital within hours or days of delivery. Full story: The Guardian.

Family chief tells lawyers: 'The justice system won't collapse - you will'
The justice system may be 'under stress' but it will grind on - it is the people propping it up who will collapse, the president of the family division has warned. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Banker’s wife may lose UK property worth £22 million
High Court dismisses challenge to unexplained wealth order. Full story: Family Law Week.

CASES
MB v TB [2018] EWHC 2035 (Fam) (31 July 2018)
Judgment in jurisdiction dispute between wife who had issued divorce proceedings in England and husband who had issued in Germany. Held, the English court was seised of the wife's petition and that seisin had not been defeated by a failure by the wife to take steps she was required to have service effected, as alleged by the husband. Full report: Bailii.

PM v CF [2018] EWHC 2658 (Fam) (03 October 2018)
Judgment in case in which, inter alia, father's parental responsibility was terminated, in the light of the risk he posed to the mother, and the children's need for protection. Full report: Bailii.

O (A child : No Available Secure Accommodation) [2018] EWFC B60 (08 October 2018)
Application for secure accommodation order. No placements available. 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.

Monday, October 08, 2018

News Essentials: 8th October 2018


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

NEWS
New measures announced to combat forced marriage
Consultation will consider a duty on professionals to report forced marriage cases. Full story: Family Law Week.

Irish court sanctions return of child taken from council care
The High Court of Ireland has given Lincolnshire County Council an order for the return of a child taken out of the UK by its parents while in the council’s care. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Civil partnerships: Law to be changed for mixed-gender couples
Heterosexual couples in England and Wales will be able to choose to have a civil partnership rather than get married, Theresa May has announced. Full story: BBC News.

Judge to decide whether baby can be first in UK history to be born without a mother in landmark trans rights case
Transgender parent says being forced to register as the child’s 'mother' breaches his human right to respect for privacy and family life. Full story: The Independent.

CASES
T (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 2136 (04 October 2018)
Appeal relating to the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction when called upon to make orders which, but for a lack of capacity in the statutory system, would be made as secure accommodation orders under Children Act. Full report: Bailii.

B (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 2127 (04 October 2018)
Mother's appeal from a fact-finding decision given in care proceedings, concerning injuries sustained by one year old child. Full report: Bailii.

Rogan v Rogan [2018] EWHC 2512 (Fam) (21 September 2018)
Judgment summons application by wife, in relation to non-payment of spousal maintenance. 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.

Friday, October 05, 2018

New by me this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog


My posts this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog included:

Husband prevented from pursuing appeal until he complies with costs order - The Hadkinson case De Gafforj.

Is it time to put an end to the MIAMs farce? - The latest figures, showing that they are now at just a third of pre-LASPO levels, suggest it may be.

Justice exists only for the wealthy - The impact of legal aid cuts.

Pay the maintenance… or go to jail? - Looking at the judgment summons case Rogan v Rogan.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

How easy it is to change accountants?

It’s easier than you might think to switch to one accountant from another. Every year, scores of self-employed people and business owners move to a new accountant without a hitch. Read on to find out more about how seamless the accountant-switching process can be.

Why switch accountants?

People decide to switch accountants for all sorts of reasons. Maybe you feel you are not getting enough value for money from your accountant, they have made mistakes or they don’t communicate with you as effectively as they could? Perhaps they are too slow to respond to your queries or don’t keep you in the loop with regards to how things are progressing? Some people decide to change their accountant because they have provided poor-quality advice or haven’t provided the tax-saving opportunities they talked about when they first signed up with them.

Leaving inefficient accountancy services

One common reason for people switching accountants recently is that they have been too slow to offer useful and convenient cloud accounting solutions. Many companies leave their accountant because their businesses have grown, and their current services provider cannot meet their needs. Before you go ahead and tell your accountant you no longer require their services, you need to check your agreement to ensure you are permitted to leave. The best time to move between accountants is when there isn’t much active business between you and your existing accountant, as this will ensure the change is a smooth, swift one.

What happens when you switch?

When you have found a new accountant and are ready to start working with them, your new accountant will write a letter to your old one to get professional clearance for managing your accounts and arrange the transfer of all relevant documents. In the letter, the new accountant will ask for a letter of disengagement from your old one. You will also need to use HMRC’s online authorisation service or sign a new 64-8 form, so your new accountant is legally able to manage your tax affairs. Your new accountant will conduct an anti-money laundering check on you and provide you with a letter of engagement.

Why choose One Click Group?

One Click Group are able to help if you are unhappy with your current accountant and are ready to switch. We have more than 20 years’ experience in the contractor services industry and are wholly compliant with tax and employment legislation. We offer a vast range of payment solutions for experienced and new contractors and are able to provide dedicated account management services to all our clients. Free-cloud based software is available for all our clients, and we can even give you access to our award-winning One Click Rewards scheme.

Get in touch

Talk to us today if you’re interested in working with a client-driven accountancy and tax service that puts you at the forefront of everything it does. You can reach us today by sending a message through the form on our website or by calling on 0345 557 1287.