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Celebrity is a powerful drug - the more celebrity you have, the greater the craving for more, by Marilyn Stowe

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Marilyn Stowe was the senior partner of the UK’s largest family law firm which she founded from a converted shop in East Leeds in 1982. She worked nationally and internationally until February 2017 when she sold her firm to private equity and left private practice.
During her career she represented thousands of clients, including some of the best known in the country, gaining a reputation as one of the top family lawyers in the UK. She appeared regularly on national TV radio and across the media for over 30 years.
In this post she considers the cult of celebrity and pursuit of fame.
Celebrity is a powerful drug. The more celebrity you have, the greater the craving for more.
It can start off easier nowadays with the advent of reality TV. Many new celebrities are literally plucked from obscurity and incredibly, become famous overnight going on to earn a lot of money.
They appear on TV and social media with increased regularity, until the celebrity seems to live thei…

News Essentials: 17th February 2020

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

Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2020
These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010. Amendments include:
Rule 7 inserts a new rule 5.7 into the FPR setting out requirements in relation to correspondence which is sent to the court by a party to proceedings.Rule 12 substitutes rule 9.27 of the FPR with new provision in relation to the filing and service of estimates of costs and of particulars of costs at specified stages of proceedings for a financial remedy.Rule 13 inserts a new rule 9.27A into the FPR, which makes provision for the making of open proposals for settlement in proceedings for a financial remedy.Statutory Instrument

Islamic faith marriages not valid in English law, appeal court rules
Judgment leaves many Muslim women without redress at end of relationship, lawyers say. Full story: The Guardian. See report, below.

Family justice system 'under sustained and heavy attack' - Munby

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers January/February 2020

The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published. In this issue: Internet law – As we leave the EU, Graham Smith of Bird & Bird takes a snapshot of where we are with internet law and what lies in storeResources – Paul Magrath of ICLR reviews Public Information Online from Dandy BooksellersTrust – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words discusses aspects of trust on the internet and how we establish itEncryption – Will Richmond-Coggan of Freeths considers the balance between national security and privacyOnline anonymity – Joanne Frears of Lionshead Law on the extent to which it is acceptable to be anonymous onlineCase law – Daniel Hoadley and Paul Magrath of ICLR introduce the ICLR&D development space for case lawPlus – Internet regulation news from Alex Heshmaty and Around and about the web with Nick HolmesDownload the PDF issue | Access the Newsletter online

Law School launches Support at Court initiative to help families navigate the court system

Support at Court is a new initiative being launched by the University of Hertfordshire to provide free help and guidance to people attending a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Hearing (FHDRA), the first court hearing to deal with disputes between separated parents about their children.
From March, law students from the Hertfordshire Law School will run a drop-in service at Watford Family Court and Hertford Family Court offering practical support to those who do not have legal representation.
Students working on the initiative will demystify the court process by explaining court terminology and protocol. They will provide help filling in forms and organising papers. By helping people navigate the court process, the service will provide reassurance to those unfamiliar with the system. Law students working at the service will not offer legal advice, but will signpost families to other relevant services where needed, such as domestic violence services.
In around 40% of FHDRA cases, neither s…

Open again!

The blog is back open for business!

Things may be a little different around here...

Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Closing Down (well, partly...)

Just a quick post to say that Family Lore, Family Lore Focus and the Family Lore Focus Newsletter are closing down.

I will not be posting here any more.

Family Lore Focus will be shut down shortly (I will no longer be posting links to family law news, cases, articles and blog posts), and the Newsletter will stop immediately.

Thanks to those who supported these efforts.

Image: Closing Down by Garry Knight, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

My posts this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog

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

Not much good news in the latest family court statistics - Depressing but true.

Yet another case of lengthy, destructive and disproportionate legal proceedings - The case being Read v Panzone.

Choice for couples, busy courts and missed opportunities - A quick review of family law in 2019. It has to be done...

Study highlights the perils of unqualified advice - "To be the recipient of bad or, worse, biased advice, is to add insult to injury."

Have a great Xmas and New Year.

News Essentials: 16th December 2019

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

Family Court Statistics Quarterly: July to September 2019
Quarterly data on the 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.

Guidance on removing newborns planned to tackle inconsistent practice and legal knowledge gaps
Experts to develop guidelines for social workers and health professionals after reviews find problems with shortened pre-birth assessments and failures to follow due process. Full story: Community Care.

McKenzie Friends giving “biased and misleading” online advice
McKenzie Friends are giving “biased and misleading” advice to vulnerable family litigants, an academic study of online posts has found. Full story: Legal Futures.

Y (A Child) [2019] EWCA Civ 2209 (12 December 2019)
Appeal against order that council should be the designated local authority in relation to care proceed…

New by me this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog


Online legal advisors are giving parents biased and potentially damaging advice, new research finds

Vulnerable people representing themselves in court are being given biased and misinformed advice by online legal advisors, new research has found.
A study carried out by Dr Tatiana Tkacukova, Senior Lecturer in English Language at Birmingham City University and Professor Hilary Sommerlad, Leeds Law School, assessed the quality of advice handed out by advisors on online forums and social media platforms.
It found that online advisors often delivered biased advice and suggestions reflecting personal anti-court and anti-social services viewpoints.
The research took in the advice handed out on 170 Facebook threads by 30 different McKenzie Friends – litigation friends who help advise those representing themselves in court (known as Litigants in Person or LIPs) on a voluntary or paid basis.
It showed instances of McKenzie Friends advising parents to ignore the advice of lawyers, suggesting courts were institutionally unfair and in some instances advising people to act against the advice of thei…

News Essentials: 9th December 2019

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

Transparency order templates
The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has published the following templates for the benefit of the judges and practitioners who will be making the template orders. Full story: Family Law Week.

R v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Disclosure of Asylum Records) [2019] EWHC 3147 (Fam) (18 November 2019)
Dispute concerning the correct legal principles to be applied and the correct procedure to be adopted where one party to private law proceedings seeks disclosure and inspection of documentation from the successful asylum claim of the other party, for use in the family proceedings. Full report: Bailii.

Neil v Neil [2019] EWHC 3330 (Fam) (22 November 2019)
Application by husband to set aside financial remedies order on the grounds of fraud. Full report: Bailii.

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My posts this week on the Stowe Family Law Blog

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

Latest divorce statistics may not be as significant as they appear - The reason for the drop may be a little more prosaic than some might think.

Can divorce really be ‘contagious’? - I seek to answer that question.

President gives overview of domestic abuse allegations in family proceedings - A look at his recent speech to a conference held by the Support Through Court charity.

Father did not acquiesce in mother’s retention of children in the UK - The recent case KJC v GRC (Hague Convention).

Have a good weekend.