Legal 500, 2018 guide

We are pleased to announce that we have been recommended as a leading regional set in the Legal 500, 2018 guide. “Family law is the keystone area of expertise at Becket Chambers; members represent local authorities, children, guardians and parents in TOLATA cases, family finance matters and public and private children law, with an increase Continue reading

Upward variation of periodical payments after the recipient’s financial recklessness – an answer at last!

In February 2017 I wrote an article on the case of Mills v. Mills [2017] EWCA Civ 129 (http://becket-chambers.co.uk/2017/02/28/upward-variation-periodical-payments-recipients-financial-recklessness-political-hot-potato/) which considered whether capital needs could, in effect, be revisited in a future application to vary periodical payments. The case has now been reconsidered by the Supreme Court; here I provide a reminder of the original Continue reading

For love, not money: establishing beneficial interests in sole name cases

The recently-reported case of Dobson v Griffey [2018] EWHC 1117 (Ch) provides a helpful reminder of the difficulties in cohabitation cases when seeking a share of a property that is held in another party’s sole name. The decision is that of HHJ Matthews sitting as a High Court Judge. The judgment considers the standard of Continue reading

Ambulatory’ intentions and beneficial interests: where are we now?

As is well known, in cohabitation cases the court is seeking out the parties’ intentions in relation to their property.  Where a declaration of trust exists, this is conclusively binding.  Where none exists, the court must rely upon what was said and done to establish intentions.   So far, so straightforward. But what happens when it Continue reading

The Collaborative Process

Following separation, the traditional process of resolution of issues through correspondence or the court process works for many. But, whether to avoid the long delays caused by court listings, the cost of complying with directions or simply the adversarial nature of disputes, an increasing number are now seeking a more amicable resolution. The collaborative process Continue reading

The accelerated procedure in applications to vary financial provision orders: just how flexible is it?

It is easy to get so used to the ‘standard’ procedure for financial provision claims that little attention is given to the accelerated procedure when a variation application comes around. It often happens that the parties – and the court – fall into the usual routine of extensive disclosure, questionnaires and, inevitably, cost. But a Continue reading

“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

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

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

To suspend or not to suspend: guidance on judges’ discretion in possession proceedings

The Court of Appeal has given guidance as to when a court can and should suspend a possession order made under the Housing Act 1988 (relating to housing association or local authority tenancies).  In City Westminster Housing Trust v Massey: Manchester & District Housing Association v Roberts [2016] EWCA Civ 704 the Court was dealing Continue reading

3 things collaborative law training taught me

A few weeks ago I attended the Resolution training on collaborative law.  For those not acquainted with the concept, collaborative practice looks for a client-led solution to family disputes, with both sides being represented and agreeing their own arrangements at a series of four-way meetings.  The lawyers and parties sign a commitment to work collaboratively, Continue reading

Absolute ground for eviction: victory for landlords or damp squib?

The snappily-named Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (‘ASBCPA’) introduced a number of provisions to strengthen the anti-social behaviour armoury. One such provision is the ‘absolute’ or ‘mandatory’ ground for repossession of a property where there has been a previous court finding of anti-social behaviour by a tenant or their household/visitors. It provides that Continue reading

Voluntary accommodation of children under s.20 Children Act 1989: a withering analysis of Local Authority practice

In today’s judgment of Re N (Children) (Adoption: Jurisdiction) [2015] EWCA Civ 1112 the President of the Family Division has an important message for family practitioners but, particularly, for local authorities. From paragraphs 157 to 171 he provided a tour de force of the problems with s.20 and the best practice that should be followed. Continue reading

Blog: Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll – when is conduct so bad that it would be “inequitable to disregard”?

The recent case of MAP v. MFP [2015] EWHC 627 gives guidance on this very question.  In financial remedy proceedings section 25(2)(g) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 allows for conduct to be taken into account when “it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard”. A line of case-law, most notably Continue reading

Blog: Litigants-in-person in fact-finding hearings involving serious or complex allegations: a problem solved?

Since the introduction of Legal Aid reforms many parties who allege domestic violence are able to secure funding for representation, subject to meeting a number of (onerous) conditions.  The alleged perpetrators, however, usually cannot.  Where the allegations come to be considered by the court (either in the context of contested non-molestation proceedings or where a Continue reading

Landlords: do you know the requirements for Tenancy Deposit Schemes?

A little-known requirement of private landlords is causing big problems when it comes to relying on a section 21 notice to obtain possession.  The case of Superstrike Ltd v. Rodrigues [2013] EWCA Civ 669 (and subsequent cases in the county court) clarified that landlords must register a tenant’s deposit every time a fresh tenancy agreement Continue reading