Becket Chambers

You’re Probably a Data Controller: Read Me

In discussions with various professionals, I have been surprised with the number of people who immediately switch off at the mention of data protection. Well, perhaps not surprised, but troubled. That observation has led me to this article. The purpose of this short article is not to offer any advice or explanation on the current Continue reading

The New CAFCASS Guidance and Private Law Children Proceedings – a new ‘flexible’ friend?

The Chief Executives of Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru have issued new guidance on the use of its officers in private and public law children proceedings. The document, functionally entitled ‘Guidance on the use of professional time to benefit children’, has been issued with the approval and support of the President of the Family Division and Continue reading

Can a Schedule 1 Children Act Application be Barred by Reason of the Issue Having Been Covered in the Earlier Financial Remedy Final Order?

I recently had a hybrid Child Arrangements Order, Specific Issue Order (Schools) and Schedule 1 Children Act case where the Husband/Father argued that because the Financial Remedy final order had referred to the issue of school fees in the preamble, recording that the Wife would endeavour to pay half and that the parties would review Continue reading

Costs Budgeting in the Court of Appeal: Harrison v University Hospitals [2017] EWCA Civ 792

As any civil lawyer will know, a fundamental aim of the “Jackson Reforms” was to limit parties’ expenditure on costs in an attempt to keep the costs of litigation proportionate to the value and issues at stake.  Since 2013 parties in multi-track cases (generally speaking those with a value over £25,000) have been required to Continue reading

Family Children Seminar

Marie Crawford and Gayle Ashley will be presenting a seminar at the View Hotel, Eastbourne on 20th September 2017 from 3.45pm. This seminar will cover a range of topics within Family Children Act proceedings, please contact clerks@becket-chambers.co.uk for more information or to book a place.

“The elephant trap of premature remarriage”: the dangers of ignoring section 28(3) of the MCA 1973

Many of us will have experience of section 28 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (‘MCA 1973’). Regular reference is made to section 28(1A) which allows the court to prohibit any application under section 31 to extend the term of a periodical payments order. We all regularly use section 28(1), which provides that the remarriage Continue reading

Costs Budgeting: When is a Good Reason Required?

As is often the case when a new procedure is introduced, the requirements and boundaries of that procedure are often tested in several different ways to enable practitioners to find its limits, to that extent costs budgeting has been no different. Case Law In Harrison v University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust [2017] EWCA Continue reading

Duties towards litigants-in-person: a timely reminder

Peter Jackson J has used a recent case to remind practitioners of the need to adapt normal working practices when dealing with a litigant-in-person. The case, reported as Re B (Litigant in Person: Timely Service of Documents) [2016] EWHC 2365 (Fam), involved the alleged abduction of a child.  The father was represented, the mother was Continue reading

Children Arbitration

Article 1 of the Family Law Arbitration Children Scheme Arbitration Rules 2016 (1st Edition, effective, 18th July 2016) “The Family Law Arbitration Children Scheme (“the Children Scheme”) is a scheme under which disputes concerning the exercise of parental responsibility and other private law issues about the welfare of children may be resolved by the determination Continue reading

Beddoe Applications

A Beddoe application is a type of application to the court, made by trustees, for directions. The trustees ask for permission from the court to litigate (or continue to litigate) against someone not a party to the proceedings. There is a main application, which is the substantive case itself, and the Beddoe application. Common Beddoe Continue reading

Matrimonial Finance: The Self-Destructive Tendencies of the Goyal Couple

Throughout a marriage, more often than not, the parties see themselves as a team, contributing either financially or otherwise for their common good. On divorce, self-interest habitually becomes the priority. However, more frequently than one would hope, the intention of a party can be to make their former spouse suffer, indeed in some instances that Continue reading

Big Changes in Children’s Cases where Domestic Abuse is an Issue: New Practice Direction 12 J

The presumption of contact can now (explicitly) be displaced As a result of the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence (APPG) after the publication in January 2016 of the influential Women’s Aid report entitled ‘Nineteen Child Homicides: What must change so children are put first in child contact arrangements and the Continue reading

Charity Begins At Home: Reasonable Financial Provision In Inheritance Act Claims

Testamentary freedom has long been recognised in English law, the ability of an individual to dispose of their assets as they wish. Default intestacy provisions apply where there is no will however the testator’s intention as provided for in their will takes priority. The only qualification to this rule is that now contained within the Continue reading

Myth-busting the collaborative process

In my view there are many reasons why we lawyers should be getting serious about the collaborative process. The first is the over-stretched, over-burdened and under-resourced Court Service, which means that clients have to wait longer than ever for the resolution of their case.  The second is the ever-more-limited resources of clients, and the difficulty Continue reading

Upward variation of periodical payments after the recipient’s financial recklessness. A political hot potato

The case that has caught the attention of the sensationalist press recently is that of Graham and Maria Mills. Divorced in 2002, Mrs Mills was at that time awarded a lump sum of £230,000 and periodical payments of £1,100 p.c.m.. Some 15 years later, the Court of Appeal was considering her application to vary the Continue reading

A Licence for Alms

The Court of Appeal has recently given its decision in the case of Watts v Stewart [2016] EWCA Civ 1247, and in so doing has provided a useful reminder of the distinction to be drawn between a lease and a licence.  The case is also a restatement of the Street v Mountford principle that the Continue reading

TOLATA Seminar

As part of our on-going programme we will be holding the following 2 hour seminar at the View Hotel Eastbourne on the 27th March 2017 and Canterbury Innovation Centre on 28th March 2017. Speakers are Holly Coates and Dean Thistle. Places are limited so please contact Paul Eaton, Senior Clerk (clerks@becket-chambers.co.uk) for further information or to book a Continue reading

Issuing warrants for possession- the implications of Cardiff County Council v Lee (Flowers) [2016] EWCA Civ 1034

On Thursday 27th October 2016, Becket Chambers hosted a seminar spanning a wide range of civil topics covering recent case law and updates. The aim of the seminar was to bring together Local authority lawyers, civil practitioners and other professionals. One of the cases discussed at length during the course of the seminar was the Continue reading

Split hearings in private law children cases – how to avoid using a disproportionate amount of resources ?

The President’s Guidance in relation to split hearings issued in May 2010 stated that split hearings “…are taking place when they need not do so and are taking up a disproportionate amount of the Court’s time and resources..”.  Court time and resources have, if anything, become even more scarce today in 2016 so how can Continue reading

Family Justice Conference

Louisa Adamson, Holly Coates and Christopher Wall attended the Kent Family Justice Conference on 23rd November 2016, each giving a talk on the various options within ADR. The talks were very well received by the audience, which included Solicitors, Barristers, Judges and Social Workers.

Setting Aside Judgment After Failing to Attend Trial: The Court of Appeal’s interpretation of CPR 39.3

Lawyers are repeatedly reminded of the need to comply carefully with the various (and often onerous) requirements of the Civil Procedure Rules. Any deviation from their path can lead to heavy sanctions for the defaulting party and a stern telling off in Court.  The Court of Appeal’s approach when considering the application of CPR 39.3 Continue reading

Parental Alienation: New Initiatives

Identifying The Problem Court proceedings involving the phenomenon of the ‘excluded parent’ can take many forms. Such cases are variously described as parental alienation/ hostility, intractable contact, chronic litigation disputes etc. There is no definition of these terms but as practitioners we encounter them quite regularly and we recognise them when we see them. Getting Continue reading

Family Law Settlement Conferences pilot 2017 – essential information

Initiated by the President (Munby, not Trump!), the Sussex Settlement Conferences pilot begins in January 2017, beginning in Brighton but with the aim of extending across Sussex. This new process can be applied to any Family Law case – public or private – to aid resolution. It seems that the potential for the process to Continue reading

Chambers and Partners 2017

Chambers are proud to announce that both Louisa Adamson and Christopher Wall have been ranked in the Chambers and Partners Guide 2017 under Family/Matrimonial (South East). Louisa Adamson A highly experienced family lawyer and mediator who is particularly esteemed for her work in public law children cases, including care and adoption proceedings. She is adept at dealing with cases involving parents Continue reading

When Is ADR Not An Alternative?

Whilst addressing the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators at its recent mediation symposium, Lord Justice Briggs set out his recommendations for the future of the civil dispute resolution process. Briggs proposed a three-stage process whereby cases would first be referred to an automated ‘triage’ where the merits of the case would be considered, followed by arbitration Continue reading