Monday, August 19, 2019

News Essentials: 19th August 2019


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

NEWS
Ignore emails after 6pm, family court tells lawyers
Barristers should take an hour for lunch and ignore emails before 8am and after 6pm, according to well-being guidance issued by the Central Family Court. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Family court has jurisdiction to review its findings of fact, says Court of Appeal
The family court has the statutory power to review its own decisions and challenges to findings of fact on the basis of further evidence do not have to be by way of appeal only, the Court of Appeal has held. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Stepsister wins legal battle over which parent died first
Entitlement to co-owned estate depended on sequence of John and Marjorie Scarle’s deaths. Full story: The Guardian. See Scarle, below.

CASES
Scarle James Deceased, the Estate of v Scarle Marjorie Deceased, the Estate of [2019] EWHC 2224 (Ch) (13 August 2019)
Judgment considering issue of which of married couple died first. Full report: Bailii.

E (Children: Reopening Findings of Fact) [2019] EWCA Civ 1447 (14 August 2019)
Appeal considering the options open to someone wishing to challenge findings of fact in family proceedings on the basis of further evidence that was not available at the trial. Full report: Bailii.

R v P (No 2) [2019] EWHC 2175 (Fam) (14 March 2019)
Hearing of two applications in relation to 7 year old child whose father lives in Lithuania, by mother to change child's name and by father for an order that he could spend time and have contact with the child. Full report: Bailii.

Joy v Joy [2019] EWHC 2152 (Fam) (12 June 2019)
Financial remedies proceedings, in which the husband claimed to have no assets available to him. Hearing to determine whether wife's capital claims should be dismissed or adjourned. Full report: Bailii.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2019

What happens with motoring offences that involve penalty points?


Most UK drivers are aware that if they commit a motoring offence, they run the risk of having points added to their licence. But, few people realise that there are currently 78 offence codes that could attract points, as well as a fine. Endorsable offences are those which are recorded on your driving licence.

Some motoring offences, such as failing to wear a seatbelt, driving a vehicle without a valid MOT or with a fault headlight are non-endorsable. This means that a fine may be imposed but they do not carry penalty points and are not recorded on your driving licence.

Endorsable offences, for example speeding, using a mobile phone whilst driving and careless driving carry an endorsement on your driving licence and either penalty points or a disqualification.
 
Offences which involve an obligatory disqualification such as drink driving, drug driving and dangerous driving carry with them an endorsement on your driving licence for 11 years. This means that the endorsement remains on your driving licence even after the disqualification has been served. So, it is important to know how to react when you are notified of motoring offences you have committed. Below is a brief guide to help you navigate the process.

If the offence does not automatically lead to mandatory disqualification, a single justice procedure notice will be issued. You can read about them here. When that happens, you can enter a plea by post or online. If you plead guilty a single magistrate (justice) will look at the evidence together with any written mitigation submitted, then decide the appropriate sentence. There will be a legal adviser present whilst this takes place. However, you, the prosecution and legal representatives may not appear.

Should you want to plead not guilty to the charge the process may become more complicated. When entering the plea, you will be required to explain the reason why you are contesting the charge and the witnesses you require to attend the full hearing of your case.

The fact that you cannot send a legal representative to a single justice procedure does not mean that there is no point in employing one. If you want to avoid the consequences of your driving error being more serious than they need to be, taking advice is a good idea. If you plead guilty, the Magistrate will be relying heavily on your written statement. Therefore, obtaining assistance to draft your response properly is a good idea.

In some cases, even where a guilty plea has been entered the offence will be considered so grave that a further hearing will be arranged. This will be a full hearing held in front of a bench of three Magistrates or a District Judge.

If, for some reason, you do not want your case to be heard under the Single Justice system, it is possible to request a full hearing. You will be given a date in advance, to give you time to prepare your case.

You need to respond promptly to a single justice procedure notice. Failure to do so, within 21 days, will not stop the case from proceeding. Usually, you will be found guilty and sentenced, anyway. So, effectively you will have missed your chance to have your say about what happened.

It is important not to take motoring offences lightly. You need to bear in mind that once you have 12 points on your licence this could result in you losing your driving licence. If that happens, holding down a job, picking the kids up and other day-to-day tasks become a whole lot harder.

You can read more about the 78 motoring offence codes that could lead you your accruing penalty points, by clicking here.

Monday, August 05, 2019

News Essentials: 5th August 2019


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

NEWS
Call for 'significant changes' to special guardianship orders
A review has urged that "significant changes" should be made to guidance on special guardianship orders, including a requirement that the child has been looked after by the proposed carer. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Appeal allows stand-still agreement on claim 17 months out of time
The Court of Appeal has overturned a decision to throw out a widow’s delayed application to claim from her late husband’s estate. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See Cowan v Foreman, below.

UK’s top judge calls for donations to legal support charity
Lady Hale’s appeal for support likely to reignite controversy over cuts to legal aid. Full story: The Guardian.

Divorcee granted injunction against ex-husband's holding company
The High Court in England has granted an injunction against the holding company to which a wealthy Russian businessman transferred ownership of a luxury yacht in order to avoid enforcement of a £500 million divorce settlement, preventing the company from moving the yacht from where it is docked in Dubai. Full story: Out-Law.

CASES
Shokrollah-Babaee v Shokrollah-Babae [2019] EWHC 2135 (Fam) (25 July 2019)
Judgment considering issue of whether judge who had conducted an FDR appointment during the earlier stages of financial remedy proceedings can later hear and rule upon disputed cross-applications in relation to the enforcement and/or variation of the substantive order which was made after a contested hearing. Full report: Bailii.

M (Children) [2019] EWCA Civ 1364 (31 July 2019)
Care proceedings in which the parents had spent 4 years or more in Syria and were believed to have aligned themselves with a radical terrorist organisation during that time.  Appeal by parents against order for disclosure of material to police. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Cowan v Foreman & Ors [2019] EWCA Civ 1336 (30 July 2019)
Appeal by wife of deceased against refusal of permission to make inheritance claim out of time. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

P (A Child) [2019] EWCA Civ 1346 (30 July 2019)
Appeal by intervenor against findings of fact made in care proceedings. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

A v Cardiff City Council & Ors [2019] EWCA Civ 1360 (11 July 2019)
Appeal by mother against care order in relation to two children, with a plan for them to remain placed with their maternal grandparents. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Hendry v Hendry & Ors [2019] EWHC 1976 (Ch) (27 June 2019)
Former wife sought permission to bring a claim out of time for reasonable financial provision from the estate of the deceased. No provision had been made for her in the will, and a pre-nuptual agreement had provided that in the event of the marriage failing she would receive a lump sum of £10,000 and a flight to the Philippines, but no maintenance, property or financial provision. Master Shuman found that the former wife had not given a sufficient explanation for the delay, and decided that permission should not be granted. Full report: Bailii, via Family Law Hub.

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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.