2020

Private Family Law: Children Summary of Recent Case Law October to December 2019

CAFCASS A County Council v Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) [2019] EWHC 2369 (Fam) Re S [2020] EWHC 217 (Fam) Care proceedings which had originated from a private law dispute between the mother and the fathers of her children. The mother alleged that the fathers had abused their children during contact. Continue reading

Preparing for A Mediation Appointment

Preparing for A Mediation Appointment As time progresses mediation is being utilised more and more as a result of the significant benefits it provides to parties, including the ability to resolve disputes more quickly and less expensively than court proceedings. Tactics and advocacy utilised during mediation appointments vary greatly between representatives and indeed different disputes Continue reading

Parental Alienation: An Example Where The Alienator Succeeds and Guidelines As to How to Minimise it Happening.

The case of Re A (Children) (Parental Alienation) 2019 EWFC  demonstrates clearly the shortcomings of the Family Court to ensure that all children, wherever possible, enjoy a relationship with both of his or her parents. The position of the courts with regard to ordering no direct contact with the absent parent, is that it is Continue reading

Mediation – a way forward?

Why, you may be wondering, would a barrister with 28 years’ experience of civil litigation and the adversarial process want to talk about mediation? Surely the whole purpose of barristers, and indeed lawyers, is to let people have their day in court and to demolish the “other side”? The fact of the matter is that Continue reading

Private Family Law: Children Summary of Recent Case Law – October to December 2019

CAFCASS A County Council v Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass)                                                                                                [2019] EWHC 2369 (Fam) Keehan J Judgment: 20th September 2019 This was a public law case which may have relevance in private law proceedings. As part of the threshold grounds, the LA sought a finding that the father had sexually Continue reading

Muslim Non-Marriages

Hall v Jagger; Akhter v Khan: void, voidable and non- marriages. In 1999, Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger separated and in a move heralding a long and acrimonious legal battle, Jagger sensationally released a public statement saying that he would be contesting Jerry Hall’s petition for divorce on the grounds that he and Jerry Hall Continue reading

Issues of consent in fact-find hearing

In December 2019 Ms. Justice Russell DBE heard an appeal from a fact-finding hearing that took place in private law Children Act proceedings at the Central Family Court in London in the summer of 2019. Her judgement was given in January 2020 and is reported as JH v. MF [2020] EWHC 86 (Fam). The case Continue reading

Vulnerable witness, domestic abuse and special measures- the importance of ensuring a fair trial.

This article explores the approach a court should take in relation to vulnerable witnesses, in particular those that have experienced domestic abuse. The recent case of H v F [2020] EWHC 86 (Fam) demonstrates that a case will be successful on appeal if the correct procedures are not complied with. Re H v F [2020] Continue reading

Tick the box at your peril: a warning for lawyers completing the Pension Sharing Annex form P1

Financial remedy lawyers are familiar with the Form P1 Pension Sharing Annex under section 24B of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. It records the instructions for how to share a party’s pension and who is to bear the cost, and also contains the parties’ details. It is approved by the court and sent to pension Continue reading

‘Neglect in childhood causes children to have smaller brains’

Early childhood deprivation through neglect and adversity is associated with alterations in the brain structure as adults, despite environmental enrichment in intervening years, according to an article published on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) on 7.1.2020. The research, carried out by King’s College London, examined the MRI data Continue reading

Parental alienation- the duty to identify at an early stage or risk getting it wrong.

This article explores the recent judgment in Re A (Children) (Parental alienation) [2019] EWFC. Re A is a long, drawn out case involving a mother’s repeated inability to promote the children’s relationship with their father. Professionals concluded that she had at best “allowed the demonisation of the father and, at worst, actively encouraged this demonisation Continue reading

The President of the Family Division’s New Guidance on Reporting in the Family Courts (3rd October 2019)

Faced with the competing claims of transparency and privacy, free speech and family life, family law will always incline towards the latter. Its first instincts are protective, guarding the intimacies and lives of its own subject families and, particularly, its children.[1] First and foremost, family proceedings are and remain private matters. This fundamental principle holds Continue reading

Fixed Costs in Civil Proceedings

The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) provide for fixed costs in certain elements of civil proceedings, including Small Claims, Fast Track hearings, ‘Stage 3’ hearings and possession claims. This means that any costs applied for that are not those within the fixed costs regimes are unlikely to be awarded by the Court, unless certain factors apply. Continue reading