Monday, March 26, 2018

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers March/April 2018

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

In this issue
  • Client relationships – Allan Carton of InPractice makes the case for the automation of CRM data acquisition
  • SEO – Gavin Ward of Moore Legal Technology on link building best practices and strategies
  • Digital marketing – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words looks at how to use Facebook as a marketing platform
  • Legal practice – Jordan Furlong of Law21 considers the future of alternative legal services providers (ALSPs)
  • Bar practice – Delia Venables and guests assess how direct access for barristers is developing
  • Websites – Nick Holmes discusses the question whether and where we need to use the www in URLs

Access the Newsletter online

News Essentials: 26th March 2018

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

Lord Justice McFarlane speaks out for change to adoption contact system
Lord Justice Andrew McFarlane has delivered a speech on present practices surrounding contact and adoption. Full story: Family Law.

Take the blame out of divorce to help those trapped in 'loveless' marriages, says top family judge
No-fault divorce should be introduced to help women who are "trapped in a loveless marriage", Britain's top family judge has suggested. Full story: The Telegraph.

Flawed legal aid system leaves ‘poorer and vulnerable clients denied assistance’
The Law Society has revealed that lower income families in England and Wales are being denied legal aid, meaning that they are excluded from funded aid to help fight eviction, severe housing disrepair and other legal issues. Full story: Family Law.

Alfie Evans parents refused permission for Supreme Court appeal
Couple hoped to overturn decision to switch off seriously ill toddler’s life support. Full story: The Guardian.

SR v HR [2018] EWHC 606 (Fam) (23 March 2018)
Appeal by husband against financial remedies order made in 2017, to replace orders made in 2012 and 2013, which were not implemented. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

A v R & Anor (Appeal of Summary Determination) [2018] EWHC 521 (Fam) (21 March 2018)
Appeal by father against child arrangements order. Appeal allowed in part. Full report: Bailii.

EA v NA [2018] EWHC 583 (Fam) (02 March 2018)
Claim by wife seeking a declaration that her husband had either died or, alternatively, had not been known to be alive for a period of at least seven years. Full report: Bailii.

Borg v El Zubaidy [2018] EWHC 432 (Fam) (26 February 2018)
Judgment on the mother's application to commit the father to prison for breach of an order requiring him to cause the return of three children to the jurisdiction. 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, March 23, 2018


When I write these posts each Friday I look for a common thread running through the posts I wrote that week on the Stowe Family Law Blog. Sadly, the only common thread I can come up with this week is 'conflict'...

Father’s gambling winnings do not count for child support assessment - The Court of Appeal decision in French v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions & Another.

Mother refused permission to take children to China for holiday - The case Re DO & BO (Temporary Relocation to China).

What kind of family justice system sends an 83 year old man to prison? - The Hart case.

A world without divorce - Would it be a good thing, or a bad thing?

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Family Hubs can empower families to help themselves, says charity

Community-based Family Hubs have the potential to empower families across the country to help themselves, by offering them a transformative set of options, says a leading family charity.

In an article for Family Law, National Family Mediation CEO Jane Robey explains the background to ‘Family Hubs’, an idea currently being trialled in parts of the country, which would offer a number of community-based family-focused services.

But she argues that Family Hubs need to be shaped with fresh thinking, avoiding simply being a repeat of Sure Start Children’s Centres.

“The Children’s Centre offer is limited to health and development, and services tend to be focused on families at risk,” she says. “To provide more universal appeal Family Hubs need to become a community resource that is not in any way stigmatised, with the service net cast further and wider than by Children’s Centres. They need a template offering with expert emotional, practical, financial, and legal information and services available.

“Strengthening families has to be about helping families to help themselves. If designed wisely Family Hubs have the potential to ‘hand up’ to families across the country a truly transformative set of options.”

 The full article is available online using this link.

Monday, March 19, 2018

News Essentials: 19th March 2018

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

Council kept boy, 9, in care for whole of his life, judge reveals
Herefordshire council used section 20 orders to keep children in care without seeking court approval. Full story: The Guardian.

Millionaire jailed for contempt of court over divorce deal
Property developer, 83, given 14-month sentence for refusing to obey company handover order. Full story: The Guardian. See the reports of Hart v Hart, below.

Consultation on regs to allow a single person to apply for a parental order following a surrogacy arrangement
Consultation closes on 20 April 2018. Full story: Family Law Week.

Family court secrecy lets judges get away with mistakes, senior judge says
Secrecy in family courts could be allowing judges to get away with mistakes, the most senior family judge in England and Wales has said. Full story: The Telegraph.

Government will legislate to replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
Ministers broadly accept Liberty Protection Safeguards system proposed by Law Commission and pledge to legislate when parliamentary time allows. Full story: Community Care.

Sexual relationship not necessary for a valid marriage, says Munby
Sexual relations are not required for a marriage to be valid for the purposes of parental orders in surrogacy cases, the president of the family division has said, before granting an order to a couple where one of the partners is gay. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See X (A Child : foreign surrogacy), below.

Judge orders husband in bitter divorce case to stop emailing wife’s solicitor
A High Court judge has issued a restraining order to stop a man in a long-running divorce case from contacting his former wife’s solicitor on her private email address. Full story: Legal Futures. See Maughan v Wilmot, below.

Practice Guidance: Case Management and Mediation of International Child Abduction Proceedings
Fresh guidance issued by The President, 13 March 2018, covering procedure, case management and mediation in international child abduction cases. Full story: Family Law Hub.

New batch of Standard Family Orders out for consultation
Comments on 74 orders covering children and other non-financial matters required by 18th April. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Government launches post-implementation review of LASPO
Findings will be published later this year. Full story: Family Law Week.

Y v H & Anor [2017] EWHC 3698 (Fam) (22 December 2017)
Judgment considering issue of whether the courts of England and Wales have jurisdiction over child in respect of matters of parental responsibility or whether jurisdiction now rests with the courts of Northern Ireland. Full report: Bailii.

DO & BO (Temprorary Relocation to China), Re [2017] EWHC 858 (Fam) (12 April 2017)
Application by mother for permission to take two children to China for a holiday. Permission refused. Full report: Bailii.

Hart v Hart [2018] EWHC B111 (Fam) (23 February 2018)
Application by wife for husband's committal for contempt in relation to implementation of financial remedies order. Full report: Bailii.

Hart v Hart [2018] EWHC B000 (Fam) (15 March 2018)
Sentencing judgment following finding that husband had been in contempt in relation to implementation of financial remedies order. Full report: Bailii.

Northamptonshire County Council v AB & Anor [2017] EWHC 3695 (Fam) (31 July 2017)
Care and placement proceedings in relation to 4 children. Care plan for children to be rehabilitated to the mother, following admission by parents that there had been serial domestic abuse by the father of the mother. Full report: Bailii.

French v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions & Anor [2018] EWCA Civ 470 (13 March 2018)
Appeal by father against decision in the Upper Tribunal that his income from gambling was earnings from gainful employment such that it could be part of a child support assessment. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii, via Family Law Hub.

Maughan v Wilmot [2018] EWHC 273 (Fam) (25 January 2018)
Further judgment in long-running financial remedy proceedings dealing, inter alia, with variation of a child maintenance order and enforcement of arrears. Full report: Bailii.

X (A Child : foreign surrogacy) [2018] EWFC 15 (13 March 2018)
Application for a parental order following a foreign surrogacy arrangement, considering issues of the applicants' platonic relationship and the fact that they lived in separate households. Full report: Bailii.

Mensah v Mensah [2018] EWHC 484 (Fam) (09 March 2018)
Appeal by wife against registration of French divorce order, on the basis that she did not receive proper notice of the French divorce. Appeal 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.

Monday, March 12, 2018

News Essentials: 12th March 2018

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

Government takes action to tackle domestic abuse
The government has launched a consultation on domestic abuse, seeking new laws and stronger powers to protect and support survivors. Full story: Home Office and Ministry of Justice.

Domestic abuse still under-reported in England, says Women's Aid
The charity says its figures underline the need for continued support of refuges. Full story: The Guardian.

Cobb J reviews law on interim orders for sale of parties' former matrimonial home
Wife’s appeal against interim order for sale allowed. Full story: Family Law Week.

Adopted children should remain close to birth families, study suggests
Adoption law should be overhauled to ensure children can retain close contact with their birth families, the British Association of Social Workers has said following the findings of an academic study. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

RS v LS & LMP [2018] EWHC 449 (Fam) (07 March 2018)
Application by wife to set aside judgment for costs obtained by her former solicitors, who acted for her in the context of financial remedy proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

X and Y (Children) [2018] EWHC 451 (Fam) (08 March 2018)
Care and placement proceedings concerning two teenage girls. Applications by local authority concerning what role, if any, the girls' father should play in the proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

DAM (Children), Re [2018] EWCA Civ 386 (08 March 2018)
Appeal by mother against care orders in relation to two of three children. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

AG and AB (Children) [2018] EWHC 381 (Fam) (28 February 2018)
Appeal against order that children habitually resident in Canada and that court had no jurisdiction to determine father's application for a child arrangements order. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Habberfield v Habberfield [2018] EWHC 317 (Ch) (23 February 2018)
Application by daughter claiming entitlement to the entirety of the family farm, owned by her deceased father, or such lesser sum as the court thought fit. The claim was brought against her mother in proprietary estoppel and alternatively under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Full report: Family Law Week.

*      *      *
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.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Book Review: Dictionary of Financial Remedies, 2018 Edition

Dictionary of Financial Remedies

Hess, Duckworth, Max & Kisser

£55* - Published by Class Legal: March 2018

As I have said here before, I'm afraid I don't have time these days to do full book reviews. I will therefore keep this short.

As I have explained before, the Dictionary of Financial Remedies is an A4 paperback (or digital edition, see below) book comprising (in this edition) 104 pages with some 71 entries, in alphabetical order, on various topics relevant to financial remedies, ranging from Add-Backs (you'll have to read the book if you don't know what they are) through such things as the Compensation and Sharing Principles, to Variation of Settlements. The publishers describe it as " a unique reference guide to the key concepts, cases and practice of financial remedies."

The Dictionary is updated each year. In addition this year it has new entries on the aforementioned Add-Backs, Chattels, Hadkinson Orders, International Enforcement, Jurisdiction, Special Contribution and Stockpiling Orders, all of which obviously makes it even more useful than before.

The Dictionary provides a handy and portable aide-memoire for anyone involved in financial remedies work. If you already have it, then you'll need the latest edition. If you don't have it, try it out - as I also said last year, 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 is also available.

* If you get in quick and pre-order, the price is £45.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Good ideas, bad ideas

My posts this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog were all about ideas, whether good or bad:

Some good ideas contained in pending family law Bills - Even if most of them will never pass...

A salutary tale about the implementation of a financial order - Contained in the case O’Connell v Lovell (divorce : property).

Father fails with child maintenance argument on Sark - The Privy council case A v R (Guernsey).

Is adult adoption a good idea? - I consider the question.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Tens of thousands left in legal limbo as government backtracks on legal aid review

Nigel Shepherd
In response to today's comments from the Justice Minister to further postpone the review of legal aid, and alongside the announced changes to the cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses, Resolution Chair Nigel Shepherd said:

"It is now nearly 5 years since the government’s devastating cuts to the legal aid system in England and Wales. In that time we’ve seen the number of people without legal representation in the family courts sky-rocket, countless more are unable to access even basic early legal advice and there has been a fall off in the referrals to family mediation that before the cuts came primarily from family lawyers.

Vulnerable people are still finding it harder to access legal support to help them escape abusive relationships than they did before 2013 .

The government committed to reviewing the impact of LASPO by April this year. And more than a year ago, we were told that this review process had begun. It seems bizarre that, at a time when Government is trying to increase efficiencies in the court system, they’re unwilling to take steps to address the growing number of litigants in person in family courts – a direct result of these cuts and one that comes with a financial and emotional cost and the risk of real injustice.

Whilst we welcome the consultation on other long-awaited measures to protect victims of domestic abuse, it is unacceptable that that there is still no clear timetable to introduce the urgently needed legislation to allow family court judges to prevent perpetrators of abuse (alleged or otherwise) from cross-examining their victims in person.

Today’s announcement sends a very clear, and very stark, message: while ministers continue to drag their feet, tens of thousands are left in legal limbo each year."

Monday, March 05, 2018

News Essentials: 5th March 2018

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

First surrogacy guidance published for England and Wales
Guidance on how to start a family using a surrogate has been published for England and Wales for the first time by the government. Full story: BBC News.

President issues fresh guidance on jurisdiction and allocation in the Family Court
The President seeks to clarify the position, which is the cause of "considerable confusion". Full story: Family Law Hub.

Latest ONS marriage figures underline need for legal reform
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has published Marriages in England and Wales: 2015, reporting on the number of marriages that took place in England and Wales in 2015. Full story: Family Law.

Number of councils using Family Drug and Alcohol Courts to expand
The new authorities join 15 others that operate the specialist courts across the country. Full story: Community Care.

Solicitor loses appeal against order to give evidence on Russian client’s assets and not tip him off about it
A solicitor compelled to give evidence about a billionaire Russian client’s assets, and forbidden from revealing his court appearance to the client, has lost his appeal against those orders. Full story: Legal Futures. See Kerman v Akhmedova, below.

Rudd urged to prevent cross-examining by domestic abusers
Charity calls on home secretary to end practice in family courts as she unveils proposals for bill. Full story: The Guardian.

Divorce costs £3,800 a year in retirement income, says Prudential
Expected annual income for divorcees retiring in 2018 is £17,600. Full story: Family Law Week.

A v A [2018] EWHC 340 (Fam) (28 February 2018)
Appeal by husband against order varying terms of consent order made in 2011, on the basis of a change in circumstances. Appeal allowed in part. Full report: Bailii.

G (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 305 (28 February 2018)
Appeal against provision in child arrangements order in favour of artificial insemination donor where child's parents are civil partners, allowing contact with donor's parents. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

WS v HS (appeal - sale of matrimonial home) [2018] EWFC 11 (28 February 2018)
Application for permission to appeal against interim order for the immediate sale of a former matrimonial home. Permission granted, and appeal allowed, on the basis that there was no application before the DJ on which he could make such an order. Full report: Bailii.

Kerman v Akhmedova [2018] EWCA Civ 307 (27 February 2018)
Appeal by solicitor against order made on application of wife in financial remedy proceedings requiring him to attend court to give evidence. Appeal dismissed. 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, March 02, 2018

Snow joke

The country may have fallen under the spell of the Beast from the East this week, but that didn't stop me posting on the Stowe Family Law Blog (well, someone has to keep things running), where my posts were generally of a rather serious nature. They included:

“Unpalatable” for a McKenzie friend to cross-examine alleged abuse victim - The judgment of the Court of Appeal in J (DV Facts).

Come on, surely we can do better than the child support system? - Thoughts provoked by the recent case MJ v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and FD, not to mention the even more recent case P v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and P. In both cases, the child support claims were still grinding on, despite the children being well into their twenties!

Domestic abuse sentencing guidelines contain lessons for all - Some thoughts on the new guidelines from the Sentencing Council.

No special rules or indulgences for litigants in person - As confirmed by the Supreme Court in Barton v Wright Hassal LLP.

Have a warm weekend.