Monday, July 30, 2018

News Essentials: 30th July 2018


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

NEWS
President’s Circular: Financial Remedies Court Pilot Phase 2
Following the successful initiation of the Financial Remedies Court project in the West Midlands (part), centred at Birmingham, I am pleased to announce a further roll-out of the pilot, albeit for the time being in modified form. Full story: Family Law.

Pilot Practice Direction 36I – Procedure for online filing of certain applications for consent orders for a financial remedy in connection with matrimonial proceedings
This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 36, rule 36.2 (Transitional Arrangements and Pilot Schemes). Full story: Family Law.

Practice Direction Amendments to PD9A, PD12B and PD27A
The Ministry of Justice have published a Practice Direction Amendment which makes three minor changes to existing practice directions. Full story: Family Law.

Practice Guidance: Children Arbitration in the Family Court
This Guidance concerns the interface between the Family Court and Arbitrations where the parties to a private law dispute relating to the welfare of a child have agreed to submit the issues in dispute for decision by an arbitrator. Full story: Family Law.

President’s Guidance: Addition to Compendium of Standard Family Orders
The links to the three new orders (numbered 22.1, 22.2 and 22.3) to be added to the compendium of Standard Family Orders can be found below. Full story: Family Law.

Supreme Court rules woman ‘must stay married' as family law experts warn of ‘divorce crisis.'
Supreme Court rules woman ‘must stay married’ as family law experts warn of ‘divorce crisis.’ Full story: Resolution. See report, below.

New Judicial Protocol for Children’s Cases in Scotland, and England and Wales
Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division in England & Wales, and Lord Carloway, head of the Scottish judiciary, have agreed a new judicial protocol, which will provide for the direct exchange of information between judges in intra-UK cross-border cases involving children. Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

President’s Guidance: Arrangements for adoption visits
Guidance from the President of the Family Division. Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

CASES
PS v BP [2018] EWHC 1987 (Fam) (27 July 2018)
Appeal by father against orders and findings following a fact-finding hearing, including judicial observations upon issue of father cross-examining mother. Full report: Bailii.

M v F [2018] EWHC 1949 (Fam (04 July 2018)
Application by mother for permission to relocate with the children to Uganda. Full report: Bailii.

Harris v Harris [2018] EWHC 1836 (Fam) (03 July 2018)
Appeal by husband against order capitalising spousal maintenance and increasing child support. Full report: Bailii.

A (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 1718 (25 July 2018)
Appeal by local authority against dismissal of application for care orders in respect of five children. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Owens v Owens [2018] UKSC 41 (25 July 2018)
Appeal by wife against dismissal of divorce petition. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Lancashire County Council v A, B and Z (A Child : Fact Finding Hearing: Police Disclosure) [2018] EWHC 1819 (Fam) (02 July 2018)
Fact-finding hearing in care proceedings concerning a girl aged 22 months.The hearing was beset by problems arising from the late disclosure of material held by the police. Judgment includes suggested solutions as to how such problems may be avoided. 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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Owes v Owens: Appeal dismissed


Lord Wilson gives the judgment of the Supreme Court

BACKGROUND TO THE APPEAL

The Appellant, Mrs Owens, and the Respondent, Mr Owens, were married in 1978 and have two adult children. Mrs Owens had been contemplating a divorce since 2012 (when she consulted solicitors who prepared a draft divorce petition for her) but it was not until February 2015 that she left the matrimonial home. The parties have not lived together since her departure. In May 2015 Mrs Owens issued the divorce petition which is the subject of the current proceedings. It was based on s.1(2)(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, and alleged that the marriage had broken down irretrievably and that Mr Owens had behaved in such a way that Mrs Owens could not reasonably be expected to live with him. It was drafted in anodyne terms but when it was served on Mr Owens he nevertheless indicated an intention to defend the suit, arguing that the marriage had largely been successful.

In October 2015 the matter came before a recorder for a case management hearing. In light of Mr Owens’ defence, the recorder granted Mrs Owens permission to amend her petition so as to expand her allegations of behaviour. The recorder also directed that the substantive hearing of the dispute would take place over the course of a day (Mrs Owens had originally suggested a half-day would suffice) and that there would be no witnesses other than the parties themselves. Mrs Owens duly amended her petition so as to include 27 individual examples of Mr Owens being moody, argumentative, and disparaging her in front of others, but at the one-day hearing her counsel ultimately focussed on only a very few of these.

The judge found that the marriage had broken down, but that Mrs Owens’ 27 examples were flimsy and exaggerated, and that those relied on at the hearing were isolated incidents. Accordingly, the test under s.1(2)(b) was not met and Mrs Owens’ petition for divorce was dismissed. Mrs Owens appealed against this decision to the Court of Appeal, but her appeal was also dismissed. She now appeals against the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Supreme Court.

JUDGMENT

The Supreme Court unanimously dismisses the appeal, with the result that Mrs Owens must remain married to Mr Owens for the time being. Lord Wilson gives the majority judgment, with whom Lord Hodge and Lady Black agree. Lady Hale and Lord Mance each give a concurring judgment.

REASONS FOR THE JUDGMENT

It is important to bear in mind the legal context to this dispute, namely that defended suits for divorce are exceedingly rare. While the family court recognises that s.1 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 must be conscientiously applied, it takes no satisfaction when obliged to rule that a marriage which has broken down must nevertheless continue in being [15]. The expectations are that almost every petition under s. 1(2)(b) will succeed, that the evidence before any contested hearing will be brief, and that the judgment of the court in such a hearing will almost certainly result in the pronouncement of a decree [17]. This is the background to the contested hearing in this case, and explains why Mrs Owens’ advisors agreed to a short hearing with no external witnesses to corroborate her evidence [14-15].

When applying s. 1(2)(b) the correct inquiry is: (i) by reference to the allegations of behaviour in the petition, to determine what the respondent did or did not do; (ii) to assess the effect which the behaviour had upon this particular petitioner in light of all the circumstances in which it occurred; and (iii) to make an evaluation as to whether, as a result of the respondent’s behaviour and in the light of its effect on the petitioner, an expectation that the petitioner should continue to live with the respondent would be unreasonable [28]. This test has been applied for many years but the application of the test to the facts of an individual case is likely to change over time, in line with changes in wider social and moral values [30-32]. The most relevant change over the past forty years is the recognition of equality between the sexes, and of marriage as a partnership of equals [34].

At the hearing, the judge gave himself the correct self-direction; he understood he was applying an objective test, but with subjective elements [39]. The majority nevertheless have concerns about other aspects of the judge’s analysis. In particular, they have an uneasy feeling about the summary despatch of a suit which was said to depend on an authoritarian course of conduct, when the judge had scrutinised only a few individual incidents of Mr Owens’ behaviour [42]. However, uneasy feelings are of no consequence in an appellate court. A first-instance judge has many advantages in reaching the relevant conclusions, and Mrs Owens’ complaints about the judgment have already been rehearsed and dismissed by the Court of Appeal. In such circumstances it is most unlikely for it to be appropriate for the Supreme Court to intervene [43]. However, the majority invite Parliament to consider replacing a law which denies Mrs Owens a divorce in the present circumstances [44-45].

Concurring judgments

Lady Hale agrees with Lord Wilson as to the legal analysis, but has several misgivings about the judge’s judgment [47-48]. Her gravest misgiving relates to the fact that this was a case which depended upon the cumulative effect of a great many small incidents (which were said to be indicative of authoritarian and demeaning conduct over a period of time), yet the hearing before the judge was not set up or conducted in a way which would enable the full flavour of such conduct to be properly evaluated [50]. In light of her misgivings, she considers that the proper disposal is to allow the appeal, and send the case back to the first-instance court to be tried again. However, this is not a disposal which Mrs Owens is actually seeking, and Lady Hale is therefore reluctantly persuaded that the appeal should be dismissed [53-54].

Lord Mance also agrees with Lord Wilson as to the wider legal analysis, however he does not share the concerns expressed by Lord Wilson and Lady Hale about the judge’s judgment. Lord Mance considers that the judge did not misdirect himself at any stage, and that the judge properly concluded that there was nothing in the case overall [57, 59]. Moreover, although the hearing of the defended divorce petition was listed for a relatively short period, this was how the judge was invited to decide the matter. It would be inappropriate for the Supreme Court to interfere at this stage and say it was not possible in the circumstances for the judge to have reached a fair determination [58].

References in square brackets are to paragraphs in the judgment, which can be found here.

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers July/August 2018


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

In this issue

  • Collaboration – Paul Magrath of ICLR describes many useful apps for working remotely with others
  • Privacy – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words brings us up to date on the right to be forgotten
  • Cloud suppliers – Delia Venables and guests explain types of cloud system and points to consider when changing supplier
  • Ebooks – Nick Holmes reviews how law publishers have responded to the demand for ebooks
  • Legislation – Nick Holmes looks at how legislation.gov.uk is finally bringing the statute book up to date
  • Privacy – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words considers the various ways we can be tracked online
  • Open law – Nick Holmes describes the state of open law in the UK and what more is needed to achieve it

Access the Newsletter online

Monday, July 23, 2018

Standard Family Orders Handbook: Volume Two - Children and Other Orders


Standard Family Orders Handbook

Volume 2 - Children and Other Orders

HHJ Edward Hess, HHJ Martin Dancey & Edward Devereux QC

£60 - Published by Class Legal, in association with the FLBA: July 2018

"They [i.e. the authors] would be delighted if you decided to review it in Family Lore." They said.

Well actually, I will not be reviewing it. Because I don't need to.

The reason for that is quite simply that I have already not reviewed the Standard Family Orders Handbook, Volume 1, covering Financial and Enforcement orders and, apart from the fact that Volume 2 covers children and other orders (a fact that I'm sure you will already have gathered), everything you need to know about Volume 2 is in that earlier non-review, which you can find here.

I need say nothing more because if you are a family law practitioner you will already be aware that you simply have to have this volume, nestling next to its companion, on your bookshelf.

The Handbook can be purchased from Class Legal, here. Note that pre-orders are only £45.

News Essentials: 23rd July 2018


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

NEWS
New pilot PD 36H for FGM and Forced Marriage Protection Orders
The Ministry of Justice are launching a new pilot Practice Direction 36H on Moday 23 July, applying to FGM and Forced Marriage protection orders (and variation, extension and discharge thereof). Full story: Family Law.

Private Members Bill seeks to force review of divorce law
Baroness Butler-Sloss, former President of the Family Division, is sponsoring the Bill. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Supreme Court decision in Owens v Owens to be handed down next week
Judgment in wife's high profile appeal against refusal to grant a divorce on behaviour grounds will be handed down Wednesday 25th July. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Husband wins Supreme Court appeal against order to pay all wife’s rental costs
First instance judge was entitled to decline to vary periodical payments order. Full story: Family Law Week. See Mills v Mills, below.

Accommodation under s 20 agreement was lawful without parents’ informed consent
Parents’ appeal fails in Supreme Court. Full story: Family Law Week. See Williams & Anor v London Borough of Hackney, below.

Joint call for urgent ban on cross-examination of domestic abuse victims by alleged perpetrators
Resolution, The Law Society and Women’s Aid have issued a joint call to the Government to urgently bring forward promised legislation banning the cross-examination of domestic abuse victims by alleged perpetrators in the family courts. Full story: Family Law.

CASES
ABCDE, Re [2018] EWHC 1841 (Fam) (16 July 2018)
Application by a local authority for permission to withdraw care proceedings in respect of five children, including consideration of costs order against local authority. Full report: Bailii.

D (A Child) (Temporary Relocation) [2018] EWHC 1571 (Fam) (23 May 2018)
Appeal against order allowing mother to remove child temporarily to Japan. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Mills v Mills [2018] UKSC 38 (18 July 2018)
Appeal by husband against order increasing spousal maintenance, on the basis that the increase took into account the wife's housing costs, which had already been provided for in the capital settlement. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Williams & Anor v London Borough of Hackney [2018] UKSC 37 (18 July 2018)
This appeal considered the lawfulness of the accommodation of the appellants’ children by the respondent under the Children Act 1989, s 20. Full report: Bailii.

Barker v Winter [2018] EWHC 1785 (QB) (09 July 2018)
Claim for damages after the claimant cohabitee claimed that she had been deceived by the defendant in spending her divorce settlement money on a lavish lifestyle after he promised to pay her back and buy her a house when his own divorce had concluded. 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.

Friday, July 20, 2018

New by me this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog


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

Wife succeeds in another forum shopping case - The case being Thum v Thum.

A few thoughts on civil partnerships for sibling couples - As is being discussed in the House of Lords today.

Woman wins claim against partner who deceived her into spending her money - In the case Barker v Winter.

Have a good weekend.

Resolution welcomes Parliamentary report on “highly ambitious” courts modernisation programme


The Public Accounts Committee has today published its report following its enquiry into the HMCTS Transforming Courts and Tribunals Programme. The report calls the £1.2 modernisation programme “highly ambitious” and says “there is a significant risk that HMCTS will fail to deliver the benefits it expects”

Jo Edwards, who chairs Resolution’s Family Law Reform Group and gave evidence to the committee on behalf of the family justice organisation, said:

“We welcome the committee’s report, which should send a clear signal to HMCTS that they need to rethink how they are proceeding with the Courts Modernisation Programme.

“Resolution members regularly report delays in their local courts, and one in two said in our survey that the court they’ve used historically is earmarked for closure. The report rightly identifies Chichester (where a local Resolution member, Edward Cooke, fought for three years for local alternative provision) as a good example of where meaningful consultation by HMCTS early on could have prevented a lengthy debate over local court provision. This story is repeated across the country.

“We hope HMCTS will take note of what the Public Accounts Committee have said today, will reflect on the devastating impact the courts programme is having on families, and will now engage more meaningfully with Resolution members and other court users across the country. Officials need to ensure the programme delivers real improvements to the courts system, without further restricting access to justice, and isn’t simply a cost-cutting exercise.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Williams and another v London Borough of Hackney: Appeal dismissed


Lady Hale gives the judgment of the Supreme Court

BACKGROUND TO THE APPEALS

This appeal concerns the limits of a local authority’s powers and duties to provide accommodation for children in need under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 (‘CA’).

The appellants are the parents of eight children, at the relevant time aged 14, 12, 11, 9, 7, 5, 2 and 8 months. On 5 July 2007 their 12-year-old son was caught shoplifting. He told the police that he had no money for lunch and that his father had hit him with a belt. The police visited the family’s home and found it in an unhygienic and dangerous state unfit for habitation by children. The police exercised their powers under s 46 CA to remove the children to suitable accommodation for a maximum of 72 hours. The children were provided with foster placements by the respondent local authority (‘the Council’). The appellants were arrested and interviewed by the police, then released on police bail on condition that they could not have unsupervised contact with any of their children.

The appellants were asked to sign a ‘Safeguarding Agreement’ by the Council on 6 July 2007 by which they agreed that all the children would remain in their foster placements for the present time. They were not informed of their right, under s 20(7) CA to object to the children’s continued accommodation after the expiry of 72 hours, nor of their right, under s 20(8), to remove them at any time. On 13 July, solicitors instructed on their behalf gave formal notice of the appellants’ intention to withdraw consent. On 16 July the Council decided that the children should be returned home as soon as possible. However, it took until 6 September for the Council to arrange with the police for the bail conditions to be varied, whereupon the children returned home on 11 September 2007.

Criminal proceedings against the appellants were later discontinued. In July 2013 the appellants issued proceedings claiming damages, amongst other things, for breach of their rights under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The High Court dismissed all the claims except for the article 8 claim, which was upheld on the basis that, because the parents had not given their informed consent, there had been no lawful basis for the accommodation of the children after 72 hours, so that the interference with family life was not in accordance with the law. The judge awarded each of the appellants damages of £10,000. The Court of Appeal allowed the Council’s appeal, holding that consent was not required and that there had been a lawful basis for the children’s accommodation under s 20 CA, and the interference with their article 8 rights had been proportionate.

JUDGMENT

The Supreme Court unanimously dismisses the appeal. It holds that the appellants did not object or unequivocally request the immediate return of the children, so there had been a lawful basis for the children’s continued accommodation under s 20 CA. Lady Hale gives the only substantive judgment.

REASONS FOR THE JUDGMENT

Local authorities in England look after a substantial number of children (over 70,000 in March 2017), either as part of a range of services provided for children in need, or under powers to intervene compulsorily to protect children from harm. Compulsory intervention by a local authority requires the sanction of a court process. No court order is required for the authority to provide accommodation for children in need under s 20 CA. However, it is subject to the right under s 20(7) for a person with parental responsibility for the child, who is willing and able to provide accommodation for him or arrange for accommodation for him, to object, and to the provision in s 20(8) that ‘any person who has parental responsibility for a child may at any time remove the child from accommodation provided by or on behalf of the local authority under this section’ [1-2]. In short, it is a voluntary service.

If a parent delegates the exercise of his or her parental responsibility for a child to the local authority under s 20 CA, such delegation must be real and voluntary. The best way to ensure this is to inform the parent fully of their rights under s 20, although delegation can be real and voluntary without being ‘informed’ [39]. No such delegation is required where the local authority steps into the breach to exercise its powers under s 20 where there is no-one with parental responsibility for the child, the child is lost or abandoned, or the parent is not offering to look after the child. In those circumstances active delegation is not required [40]. If a parent with unrestricted parental responsibility objects at any time pursuant to s 20(7), the local authority may not accommodate the child under s 20, regardless of the suitability of the parent or of the accommodation which the parent wishes to arrange [42-43, 47]. It is not a breach of s 20 to keep a child in accommodation for a long period but a local authority must also think of the longer term and consider initiating care proceedings in order to fulfil its other duties under the CA, and to avoid breaches of the child’s or the parents’ rights under article 8 [49-52].

In the present case, where the s 20 arrangements replaced the compulsory police protection under s 46 without the children returning home in the meantime, the focus was not on the appellants’ delegation of parental responsibility to the Council, but on their rights under subsections 20(7) and 20(8) [53]. Entering into a safeguarding agreement was a matter of good practice, although it was important that it did not give the impression that the parents had no right to object or to remove the children [55]. The lawfulness of the s 20 accommodation depended on whether the appellants’ actions amounted to an unequivocal request for the children to be returned. The bail conditions were not an insuperable impediment to the request and were not a reason to refuse [57]. However, the letters from the appellants’ solicitors could not be read as an objection or as a request for immediate return: the solicitors were sensibly trying to achieve the return of the children as quickly as possible on a collaborative basis rather than push the Council into issuing care proceedings [59]. Although the Council could have provided earlier support for an application to lift the bail conditions, it was not possible to say what effect this would have had, given the independent concerns of the police [60].

Accordingly, there was a lawful basis for the children’s continued accommodation under s 20 and the ground relied on by the judge for finding a breach of the appellants’ article 8 rights was not made out [61]. The question of whether the Council’s actions were a proportionate interference with the right to respect for family life throughout the time the children were accommodated was not fully explored in the lower courts and was not raised as an issue before the Supreme Court [62]. The appeal is therefore dismissed, albeit for reasons which differ from those of the Court of Appeal [63].

References in square brackets are to paragraphs in the judgment, which can be found here.

Mills v Mills: Appeal allowed


Lord Wilson gives the judgment of the Supreme Court

BACKGROUND TO THE APPEALS

The Appellant and Respondent are former husband and wife. They divorced in 2002 after a marriage of approximately fifteen years, and the financial issues in the divorce were resolved by way of a consent order. Under the terms of that order the wife received £230,000 in settlement of her capital claims against the husband, and it was also agreed that the husband would make periodical payments to her at an annual rate of £13,200.

It was reasonably anticipated by the husband that the wife would use the £230,000 to purchase a suitable home for herself and their son without a mortgage, as the wife had been suffering from ill health which made it difficult for her to work. In the event, however, the wife did manage to take out a mortgage, and she duly purchased a more expensive home for £345,000. Between 2002 and 2009 the wife sold and purchased a series of different properties, and with each purchase the amount which she borrowed increased. In addition, she did not necessarily reinvest all of the sale proceeds from one property into the next and seemingly spent the balance, with the result that the amount of capital she had decreased over time. Eventually, in 2009 the wife sold her final property and began to rent accommodation. By April 2015, when the first-instance judge heard the case, the wife had no capital, and she had debts of around £42,000.

The hearing before the judge was to determine two cross-applications made under s.31(1) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The husband had applied for the discharge or downwards variation of the order for periodical payments, whereas the wife had applied for the order for periodical payments to be varied upwards. In determining the applications the judge noted that there was a shortfall of
£4,092 per annum between the wife’s current needs and, when coupled with her own earnings, the existing level of the periodical payments. However, he also held that, although the wife’s actions had not been profligate, she had not managed her finances wisely and her current financial needs, in particular her need to pay rent, had been increased by the choices which she had made. Consequently, the judge considered that it would be unfair to the husband if he had to make a full contribution to the wife’s rental costs. The judge therefore declined to vary the order for periodical payments either upwards or downwards. This meant that the husband would continue to contribute to around 60% of the wife’s rental costs, and the wife would have to adjust her expenditure to accommodate the shortfall.

The wife appealed against this decision to the Court of Appeal, and was successful. The Court of Appeal considered that the judge had not given sufficient reasons why all of the wife’s basic needs should not be met by the periodical payments from the husband, and increased the level of periodical payments to cover her shortfall, i.e. to £17,292. The husband now appeals against this decision to the Supreme Court.

JUDGMENT

The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal, concluding that the judge was entitled to decline to vary the order for periodical payments so as to require the husband to pay all of the wife’s rental costs. Lord Wilson gives the judgment with which Lady Hale, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hughes and Lord Hodge agree.

REASONS FOR THE JUDGMENT

The husband was granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court only on a single ground - whether, in light of the fact that provision had already been made for the wife’s housing needs in the capital settlement, the Court of Appeal was entitled to interfere with the judge’s decision not to increase the periodical payments so as to cover all of the wife’s current rental costs [32].

The Court of Appeal had erred in saying that the judge had given no reason for declining to increase the order for periodical payments – the judge had given a clear reason, namely that the wife’s unwise decisions in relation to her capital had increased her basic needs by requiring her to pay rent, and that it was consequently unfair to expect the husband to meet these increased needs in full [33].

The Court of Appeal should have considered the impact of the original capital payment on the wife’s current need to pay rent, and this involved a consideration of three earlier Court of Appeal authorities: Pearce v Pearce [2003] EWCA Civ 1054, North v North [2007] EWCA Civ 760, and Yates v Yates [2012] EWCA Civ 532 [34-38]. These cases were correctly decided and in light of this the judge was entitled, although not obliged, to decline to require the husband to fund payment of the rent in full. This respects the wide discretion conferred upon the court under s. 31(1) and (7) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in determining an application for variation of an order for periodical payments. Moreover, a court would need to give very good reasons for requiring a spouse to fund payment of the other spouse’s rent in the circumstances of this case. A spouse may well be obliged to make provision for the other spouse, but an obligation to duplicate that provision in situations such as this is improbable [40].

References in square brackets are to paragraphs in the judgment, which can be found here.

Monday, July 16, 2018

News Essentials: 16th July 2018


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

NEWS
Courts Service to up the ante on digital divorce and probate
The next year of the court modernisation programme will see digital end-to-end services for divorce, probate, and money claims for under £10,000, according to HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Full story: Legal Futures.

Banker's wife whose husband took mistress to his office party wins right to divorce him in England
A multi-millionaire banker's wife who found out her husband had taken his mistress to his office party has won the right to divorce him in England. Full story: The Telegraph. See Thum v Thum, below.

Supreme Court judgment in Mills due this week
The Supreme Court will hand down judgment in the case of Mills v Mills next Wednesday, 18th July. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Supreme Court to rule this week on use of section 20 Children Act
The Supreme Court will next week hand down a key ruling on the lawfulness of a council's accommodation of children under section 20 of the Children Act 1989. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Government U-turn on child maintenance avoidance is “welcome but not enough”
The government’s new child maintenance strategy shows it is listening to the concerns raised by Gingerbread and single parents, but still leaves question marks as to whether the Child Maintenance Service is fit for purpose. Full story: Gingerbread.

Court of Protection application and appeal fees reduced
The Court of Protection, Civil Proceedings and Magistrates' Courts Fees (Amendment) Order 2018. Full story: Family Law Week.

CASES
B (A Child), Re [2018] EWHC 1643 (Fam) (15 June 2018)
Application by father for the return to Spain of child abducted by mother in 2014, and his linked application to enforce custody orders made in his favour by the Spanish courts. Full report: Bailii.

Thum v Thum [2018] EWCA Civ 624 (12 July 2018)
Appeal by husband against decision that the English court, rather than the German court, was first seised of divorce proceedings. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

M (BIIa Article 19: Court First Seised) [2018] EWCA Civ 1637 (12 July 2018)
Appeal concerning issue of whether English or Polish courts should have jurisdiction to deal with children dispute. Full report: Bailii.

Chaston & Anor v Chaston [2018] EWHC 1672 (Ch) (5 July 2018)
Appeal against judgment in TOLATA proceedings. Appeal dismissed. 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.

Monday, July 09, 2018

News Essentials: 9th July 2018


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

NEWS
Judge blasts social workers’ ‘wholly inappropriate’ record-keeping in case that saw family split for six months
Council advised to look at 'significant training improvements' for social workers after withdrawing care application due to flawed evidence. Full story: Community Care.

Government introduces bill to overhaul deprivation of liberty law in bid to save councils £200m
Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill will replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards with Liberty Protection Safeguards scheme designed to streamline system. Full story: Community Care.

Applications for legal aid supported by domestic or child abuse increase by 21 per cent
Applications granted rise by 14 per cent. Full story: Family Law Week.

‘Deprivation of liberty’ should be defined in law to limit caseloads and family intrusion, say MPs and peers
Parliament should legislate for a statutory definition of deprivation of liberty to limit the number of people whose restrictive care arrangements require legal authorisation because they lack capacity to consent, an influential committee of MPs and peers have said. Full story: Community Care.

CASES
Mantegazza v Mantegazza [2017] EWHC 3811 (Fam) (05 May 2017)
Application by husband pursuant to section 5(6) and paragraph 9 of Schedule 1 to the Domicile and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973 for a discretionary stay of divorce proceedings commenced in England by the wife. Full report: Bailii.

The Child and Family Agency (Ireland) v M & Ors [2018] EWHC 1581 (Fam) (22 June 2018)
Application by the Child and Family Agency of Ireland for transfer of care proceedings from the courts of Ireland to the courts of Wales. Full report: Bailii.

M v F & Ors [2018] EWHC 1720 (Fam) (16 February 2018)
Wardship proceedings in which the mother alleged that she had been stranded by the father in Pakistan with one of the four children, since August 2017. Full report: Bailii.

RVH v TF (Non Hague Convention: Refusal of Summary Return) [2018] EWHC 1680 (Fam) (14 June 2018)
Application by father seeking summary return to Ivory Coast of two children. 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, July 02, 2018

News Essentials: 2nd July 2018


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

NEWS
Family Court Statistics Quarterly: January to March 2018
A statistical bulletin presenting statistics relating to the family courts in the first quarter of 2018 (January to March). Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Three new appointments to the UK's top appeal court
Lady Justice Arden DBE and Lord Justice Kitchin will join the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom as Justices on 1 October 2018, followed by Lord Justice Sales on 11 January 2019, it was announced today. Full story: Supreme Court.

Appointment of Lord and Lady Justices of Appeal 2018
The Queen has approved the appointment of three Lady Justices and four Lord Justices of Appeal. Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

Ban on heterosexual civil partnerships in UK ruled discriminatory
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan win bid to open up civil unions to opposite-sex couples. Full story: The Guardian. See law report, below.

Court in tangle after law firm ‘whistleblower’ sends it privileged material
The president of the Family Division is to be asked what the court should do in the highly unusual case of a ‘whistleblower’ from the solicitors of one party to a divorce sending it legally privileged information. Full story: Legal Futures. See Bruzas v Saxton, below.

What normal looks like: McFarlane to canvass views on parental guidance
The next family law chief could produce general guidance to help manage separated parents' expectations about child contact if he receives widespread backing from other judges when he tours England and Wales this autumn. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

CASES
P (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 1483 (28 June 2018)
Appeal by mother against refusal of application to adjourn care and placement proceedings for 6 months, where she was an alcoholic and had been abstinent for 13 months. Appeal allowed and placement order set aside. Full report: Bailii.

Northamptonshire County Council & Anor v The Lord Chancellor (via the Legal Aid Agency) [2018] EWHC 1628 (Fam) (05 June 2018)
Judgment addressing the circumstances in which damages recovered pursuant to the Human Rights Act in respect of breaches of duty by a Local Authority following care proceedings are subject to the Legal Aid Agency statutory charge in respect of the costs of those care proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

R (on the application of Steinfeld and Keidan) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for International Development [2018] UKSC 32 (27 June 2018)
Appeal considering whether the bar on different-sex couples entering into civil partnerships breaches the appellants’ rights under ECHR, art 8, in conjunction with art 14. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Bruzas v Saxton [2018] EWHC 1619 (Fam) (21 June 2018)
Directions hearing in case in which wife seeks to set aside consent order, alleging perjury and perverting the course of justice by husband and his legal team, following disclosure of documents by "whistle blower" on H's legal team. Full report: Bailii.

G (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 2638 (08 November 2017)
Appeal by father against dismissal of application for leave to oppose the making of an adoption order in respect of his child. 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.