Articles

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

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

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

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

Re W (A Child)[2016] EWCA Civ 793

This case concerns a successful appeal by prospective adopters against a decision to refuse an adoption order and grant an SGO to paternal grandparents and is of interest as the appeal raised the following issues: The approach to be taken in determining a child’s long-term welfare once the child has become settled in a prospective Continue reading

Stage 3 Road Traffic Accident- power to transfer proceedings.

Low value, road traffic accident personal injury claims worth between £1000 and £10,000 have a streamlined process. The Pre-Action Protocol prevents parties from incurring disproportionate costs. The Protocol involves a three-stage process in which stage 3 is a quantum hearing adopting the simplest procedure possible. The recent case of Phillip v Willis [2016] EWCA 401 Continue reading

What Price a Court Fee?

Prior to commencing proceedings there are a number of issues to consider such as the cause of action, any relevant limitation period, not to mention advising the client of the potential costs consequences. As such it is easy to overlook the more administrative matters such as ensuring that the correct court fee is paid. However Continue reading

Stamp Duty Changes – are you in the dark ?

Last month The Telegraph reported that.. “thousands of divorce settlements could be left open to appeal because the Government’s new stamp duty surcharge is leaving estranged partners unable to buy their own home following a split”. The Telegraph further reported that “Experts said divorce lawyers were largely in the dark about the new law – Continue reading

RELOCATION and the impact of Re C (Internal Relocation) [2015] EWCA Civ 1305

This case has afforded an important decision as well as being an excellent opportunity to review and consider the principles to be applied in cases of relocation and the different approaches to internal relocation and international relocation cases. This was carried out by Lady Justice Black in her judgment which carefully reviews all the authorities Continue reading

Boundary Disputes – lines in the sand

Many boundary disputes arise from misunderstandings or a lack of communication between neighbours, but rapidly escalate into cripplingly expensive litigation. It’s essential that if you’re affected (whichever side of the fence you’re on) you get proper legal advice from a Solicitor or Barrister before getting sucked into what could become acrimonious, stressful and lengthy proceedings. This article 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

Challenging The Validity Of A Will – Do You Have An Interest Or Are You Just Interested?

CPR rule 57.7(1) reaffirmed the existing requirement that in order to bring a probate claim a party must have an “interest” in the estate.[1] Earlier authority[2] had established that a creditor of an estate does not have a sufficient “interest” in the estate to allow them to challenge the validity of a will. But what Continue reading

Arbitration: Are Divorcing Couples Loathe To Arbitrate About Financial Matters Because It Lacks Certainty?

The recent decision in DB v DLJ (more below) led me to consider whether the relatively low take-up of arbitration as a means to resolving Family Financial issues between divorcing couples is as the result of a concern as to whether arbitration decisions have sufficient certainty to provide the divorcing parties with enough confidence in 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

Angry Letters: What’s The Fuss?

In all litigation, any correspondence can be read in (at least) two ways. One of them is often “angry or aggressive”. As a barrister of some little experience, I have, by my own estimate, read several hundred thousand letters between parties and/ or solicitors. These range from amicable and collaborative at one end, through to Continue reading

Interveners (or Third Parties) & Setting Aside Dispositions – Cautionary Tales

An amended version of a paper originally presented at the Becket Chambers’ Family Finance Seminar at Eastbourne, Dartford & Canterbury on the 8th, 9th & 11th February 2016. Bringing third parties into financial remedy proceedings is an extremely risky and potentially costly business.  The two tales are cautionary in very different ways; the first being 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