K. v. K – Updating guidance on fact-finding hearings in private law proceedings

In the recent case of K v. K. [2022] EWCA Civ 468 the Court of Appeal has provided some useful updating guidance in respect of the proper approach to fact-finding hearings in private law proceedings following the decision in Re H-N [2021] EWCA 448. The case itself concerned the mother’s allegations of controlling behaviour, verbal Continue reading

Family Finance Webinar: Make The FPR Work For You

21 June 2022 at 4pm to 5.30pm We are pleased to announce that Holly Coates, Nicole Jennings and Allen Worwood will be presenting a Family Finance Webinar. This webinar will focus on the latest procedure-based guidance within family finance proceedings and will concentrate on the following topics: The Family Procedure Rules -time for another look Highlighting the forgotten, overlooked or Continue reading

Nathanael Harding accepts offer of tenancy

We are pleased to announce that Nathanael Harding has accepted an offer of tenancy following the successful completion of his pupillage.   Nathanael is developing a busy practice in all areas of Family Law and General Civil Law.

Seeking better outcomes: Divorce Coaching explored

Since Gwyneth Paltrow announced her split from Coldplay’s Chris Martin in 2014, many separating couples have been seeking a ‘conscious uncoupling’ rather than a ‘marriage breakdown’.  Divorce lawyers have been trying to assist with this admirable aim.  Many have trained as mediators or collaborative professionals in an effort to improve the outcomes – both emotional Continue reading

What the new no-fault divorce legislation means for practitioners

On 6th April 2022, the long-awaited no-fault divorce legislation comes into force. Under the full provisions of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 couples can now divorce without having to apportion blame or wait out a separation period. This brings clear advantages to future clients. The new process should be faster, more straightforward, and Continue reading

QOCS and Fundamental Dishonesty

Qualified one-way costs shifting (“QOCS”) applies to proceedings which include a claim for damages for personal injuries, under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 or which arises out of death or personal injury and survives for the benefit of an estate by virtue of Section 1(1) of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 (Civil Procedure Continue reading

Financial Remedy: Pension Pitfalls: T V T [2021] EWFC B67 Considered

Any reported case of His Honour Judge Hess addressing pensions and their pitfalls is required reading for matrimonial finance lawyers and T v T (variation of a pension sharing order and underfunded schemes) [2021] EWFC B67 (10 November 2021), although of narrower application than W v H (divorce financial remedies) [2020] EWFC B10), is no exception. Continue reading

“Nesting” Arrangements and the Conduct of Interim Hearings in Private Law Proceedings

Sometimes, although rarely, when parties separate, they agree that the children should remain living at the former family home, with the parents moving out and returning, when it is their agreed times to look after the children. The phrase used to describe this is a “nesting” arrangement. Recently the court in A, B and C Continue reading

“A house divided …”

I was instructed by a local council who had introduced a selective licensing scheme under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 (“the Act”); a property comprising 22 individual flats fell within the designated selective licensing area (and indeed had previously been granted a non-transferrable licence) and was acquired by a limited company with an Continue reading

Front-loading: the new FRC Efficiency Statement in a nutshell

On 11th January 2022, the financial remedies gods (or rather, Mostyn J and HHJ Hess) blessed us all with a shiny new “Efficiency Statement”, effective immediately. The Efficiency Statement (“ES” hereafter) originates from recommendations made by the Farquhar Committee in September 2021, which looked to improve remote working practice going forward (their report was literally Continue reading

Northwood Solihull: A victory for Landlords

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic landlords might have been feeling like the world was conspiring against them. And perhaps rightly so. 2020 was certainly not a good year for those letting or managing property. With lockdowns, temporary bans on evictions, greater requirements for notices seeking possession and the adjourning of possession proceedings some Continue reading

FINANCIAL CONDUCT CONSIDERED IN THE CONTEXT OF THE CASE OF OC v AG [2020] EWFC 52 AND OTHERS

There are two areas of principle that are very difficult to argue successfully for a larger share of the marital acquest: contributions and conduct.  In this article I intend to look at the types of conduct that might be inequitable to disregard pursuant to section 25 (2) (g) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, by Continue reading

Pupil Barrister/Mediator: training with the Society of Mediators

No matter how much you learn about thinking and talking, there will always be someone who will bring the unexpected to the table in a mediation. This became increasingly apparent when I undertook a one-week foundation accredited course offered by the Society of Mediators (“SOM”). The course should have been in-person, but due to Covid Continue reading

Don’t Stand So Close To Me (In Mediation): How to Conclude a Probate Case In Lockdown

There is a chance, sadly, that another lockdown is coming. You may be reading this during our latest lockdown. Lots of people are concerned that their probate case will have to wait until the world is post-covid. Fortunately, the chances are it will not. Many of my lawyer colleagues deal with non-contentious work. A larger Continue reading

Small Money Cases can be the Hardest Particularly if the Parties have Spent All the Money Arguing over the Children

Sometimes some self-evident truths simply need to be said out loud and so, this short article does little more than draw attention to a first instance decision that says what we all know but, by reason of having only just been reported (and only in FLW so far) and coming as it does from Cohen Continue reading

When is a separate fact finding hearing necessary in care cases? – An update on the law

This is a very recent case in which this issue has been considered and which takes into account the current climate, and helpfully summarises the relevant law. In Lincolnshire County Council v CB & Ors [2021] EWHC 2813 (Fam) Mrs Justice Lieven DBE conducted an analysis of the factors that require consideration when making a Continue reading

Advocacy training 101: What to expect from the Middle Temple Pupils’ Course

Picture this: it’s a few weeks into your pupillage, and you’ve hit the ground running. You’ve been watching, note-taking, researching and learning, because that’s what first six is all about. But wait! There’s more to do than simply shadowing and scribbling. That’s right – there’s the compulsory advocacy training which pupils must undergo during their Continue reading

An Exercise in Self Destruction”: Azarmi- Movafagh v Bassiri- Dezfouli [2021] EWCA Civ 1184. A Look At Costs In Needs Cases.

This case involved a second appeal in a financial remedy case in which the costs had become so disproportionate relative to the assets that King LJ described the course of litigation as “an exercise in self destruction”.   It is a helpful guidance to how the court should consider costs in a needs case but has Continue reading

Proprietary Estoppel

Introduction Estoppel is a murky legal topic, encompassing a number of concepts that are easily confused.  This short note aims to momentarily clear the fog and allow a glimpse into some of those concepts. The doctrine of estoppel goes back to at least the 1600s.  There are many forms including Proprietary, Promissory, Contractual, Estoppel by Continue reading

Survival tools for a “hybrid” pupillage

On 1st October 2021 I began my pupillage with Becket Chambers. I had come straight from a London commercial litigation firm, where I’d spent most of the past year as a remote paralegal dealing with complex high-value commercial disputes. This role had involved fast adaptation to working from home as opposed to the shiny London Continue reading

Chambers and Partners, 2022 Guide

We are pleased to announce that Christopher Wall and Louisa Adamson have been ranked in the Chambers and Partners, 2022 guide. Family: Matrimonial Finance – South Eastern (Bar) Christopher Wall Predominantly instructed in matrimonial finance matters and has notable experience in complex disputes concerning private companies, valuable properties, trusts and international assets. He is also Continue reading

When Civil met Family: how to deal with TOLATA claims in Financial Provision cases

The Family Court is seeing an increasing number of cases where property is (or is asserted to be) owned by a third party.  As more parents assist children with purchasing a home or friends buy with friends, it is ever more likely that a financial provision case will involve consideration of who owns what.  Here Continue reading

Legal 500 Bar Guide 2022

We are pleased to announce that we have been recommended as a leading regional set in the Legal 500, 2022 guide. Christopher Wall – “Christopher has an excellent grasp of cases with a laser-like focus. He is cool and measured throughout contentious and complex proceedings and always delivers superb results” Louisa Adamson – “She is realistic Continue reading

Pre-Nuptial Agreements – Worth more than the paper they’re printed on!

To us Brits, proud of our unswerving fidelity to the tradition of judicial discretion, the pre-nuptial agreement has, traditionally, been viewed as an American curiosity. A handy plot device for saucy straight to video B-movies, and that thing which, when finally revealed at the end of the episode, gives Columbo the motive he was missing Continue reading

Further resources released by the Pension Advisory Group

Continuing their valiant efforts to make pensions and pension sharing more accessible to all, the Pension Advisory Group – made up of lawyers, academics and finance professionals – has released further resources to assist the general public.   The Group is best known for its seminal report, ‘Guidance on the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce’, Continue reading

Samuel Davis Successfully Opposes a Number of Applications in the High Court and Obtains Two Totally Without Merit Certifications in a Case Whose Litigation Background Stretches Back Over 30 Years

Samuel Davis, representing the Respondent, successfully opposed a number applications in the High Court, including an application for a freezing injunction and obtained two totally without merit certifications. The judgment can be found here Re Q June 2021 FINAL[1] and on Bailii here. The Case has featured in a Family Law Week Update and on Continue reading

A v A (Arbitration: Guidance)

In July, in the form of an appendix to his judgment in A v A (Arbitration: Guidance) [2021] EWHC 1889 (Fam), Mostyn J issued guidance, agreed and approved by the President of the Family Division, for the correct procedure to follow when challenging or seeking to implement an arbitral award. The case itself concerned a Continue reading

Magna Carta – A non-starter

Introduction As August turns into September and children up and down the country return to school, I thought it might be interesting to consider a subject which put me in mind of my own school days. Whilst dealing with a Family Law Act application, a member of Chambers had to grapple with an unusual defence Continue reading

The Factors and Guidance to make an application for Discharge of a Care Order pursuant to s. 39 of the Children Act 1989

Background: The combined effect of sections 1 and 39 of the Act is that on application of an entitled applicant the court may discharge a care order or replace it with a supervision order, in which case there is no requirement for the s 31(2) threshold to be crossed (the threshold for making a care Continue reading

E v L [2021] EWFC 60 (Fam) – Short, childless marriages, the sharing principle and absence of white leopards

The husband was aged 66 and the wife aged 61. The parties’ relationship began in 2015 when the husband immediately began providing the wife with financial support, paying her between £5000 – £10,000 per month. The parties became engaged in 2016 married in 2017 and separated in 2019. The parties disagreed over the date of Continue reading

Don’t Mix Your Drinks (or Tobacco Products)

As the restrictions on international travel and quarantine requirements are relaxed (at time of writing) many people’s thoughts will inevitably turn to foreign travel and, often, the opportunity to purchase and bring back duty-free or “duty paid” goods purchased en route or in countries with lower rates of duty, respectively. However, any traveller returning into Continue reading

And, breathe… The ‘Breathing Space Regulations’

Introduction   In this article, I will examine, in overview, the implications of the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 for landlords and tenants in the context of private residential properties.   Further guidance for creditors (landlords) and debt advisors can be found online.   Continue reading

An ever-changing housing market- how an unpredictable housing market may impact upon financial remedy orders

In recent times, the housing market has seen a significant uptake with many reporting that house prices have risen in the last year at their fastest rate for over a decade. With many attributing the current boom in the housing market to the stamp duty holiday period, the question is now being posed what will Continue reading

The meaning of the term “associated person”- s.62 (3) of the Family Law Act 1996

Why is it important to show that the parties are “associated persons” for the purposes of FLA 1996 (FLA 1996)? When the court make an injunctive order such as a Non-Molestation or Occupation Order, certain criteria must be met. We are all aware that it is only possible to apply for such an order under Continue reading

To be Known by Another Name: Discharging Parental Responsibility

Summary The recent case of X and Y (private law – change of name – termination of parental responsibility) [2021] EWFC B24 provides a useful summary of the law around parental responsibility and any application to discharge parental responsibility in respect of one parent (and in this case, to change a child’s surname also). Background Continue reading

Spousal Maintenance, Future Earnings, Income Needs and a Re-Examination of Waggott

Following on from Edward Kenny’s article last month on Maintenance Pending Suit, it seemed logical to think next about spousal maintenance at final hearing but, of course at that point thoughts automatically turn to the Court of Appeal’s decision in  Waggott v Waggott [2018] EWCA Civ 727, 2 FLR 406 and, what seemed at the Continue reading

CPR Part 81 Contempt Proceedings – What Has Changed?

Despite various amendments over the years, many thought the wording of Part 81 was unsatisfactory, repetitive, and unnecessarily complicated. Following a consultation exercise by the Civil Procedure Rules Committee from March-May 2020, the committee proposed a new approach to Part 81 which: omitted nearly all the substantive law; dealt with procedure in the Rules, not Continue reading

Conversations in Family Law – Part 2

Conversations in Family Law In conversation…… Louisa Adamson and Mel Andrews, Family Law barristers continued…. Part 2: Court Hearings “Covid-Style”, supporting clients and working mothers Part 1 link here Mel: So you have been to Court for “in-person” hearings – how has that been? Louisa: I remember being quite worried about going back into court Continue reading

Determination of Flexible Tenancies: Forfeiture Clauses – London Borough of Croydon v Kalonga

Flexible tenancies were introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and are a type of secure council tenancy with a fixed term. Whilst intended to assist local authorities in having greater control over their properties enabling them to re-allocate the same to their tenants on expiry, flexible tenancies were not as popular as had been anticipated Continue reading

Summer 2021: The Summer of Delayed or Cancelled Flights, and Compensation Claims?

Holidays abroad… remember those? Most of us are looking forward to being able to go on holiday abroad again in the, hopefully, not too distant future. But holidays abroad aren’t all fun and sun. There can be unenjoyable aspects to travelling abroad. In particular, one unpleasant surprise can come when you get to your boarding Continue reading

To Trust…..Or Not…….Mesher Orders In Financial Remedy Proceedings

The purpose of this article is to consider the issue of Mesher Orders in the context of Financial Remedy proceedings. Mesher Orders arise and are used in Financial Remedy proceedings, when in all the circumstances in terms of section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (“the Act”), it is appropriate for a property (normally Continue reading

A timely reminder: the principles of Maintenance Pending Suit and the decision of the Court of Appeal in Rattan v Kuwad [2021] EWCA Civ 1

In Rattan v Kuwad [2021] EWCA Civ 1, the Court of Appeal considered “an important point of principle as to the approach which the court should take to the determination of an application for maintenance pending suit.”[1] Moylan LJ, giving lead judgment (Macur LJ and Asplin LJ agreeing),  allowed the Wife’s appeal and determined that Continue reading

Residential Possession Claims

Residential Possession Claims   It is already well known that the Coronavirus Act 2020 (“CVA 2020”) has created a series of issues for both landlords and tenants.  Colleagues Paul Tapsell and Nicole Jennings have both written about the implications for possession proceedings when the first lockdown was initiated. The ability of a landlord in either Continue reading

Anti-Social Behaviour Powers – An alternative to lockdown regulations?

I have previously written on the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (“the Act”) in my article entitled ‘Using powers to prevent anti-social behaviour to protect, not punish’; that article looked at whether powers under the Act could be used in a way different to that that is normally expected. This article will consider Continue reading

Hindsight is a wonderful thing: occupation of the family home when it just won’t sell

The consent order is drafted, the ink on the judge’s signature is almost dry, and everyone is raising a glass in self-congratulation.  The family home is to be sold, the proceeds divided and a clean break provided for.  A great result.  Except when the family home won’t sell.  For 3 years.  And only then at Continue reading

PLACEMENT ORDER APPLICATION “GOOD PRACTICE” REMINDER FOR LOCAL AUTHORITY TO FILE THE PERMANENCE REPORT AND AGENCY DECISION MAKERS RECORD OF DECISION

S-F (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 964 (Leading judgment given by Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President) I was recently very helpfully reminded of this 2017 case which is perhaps not too well-known as it raises no new issues of law or principal and the issue on appeal was described as ‘clear and simple’— was the Continue reading

Coercive and Controlling Behaviours: How are they to be dealt with in fact finding hearings after the recent case of F v M?

Allegations of domestic abuse are usually raised from the outset by either the applicant or respondent in private law proceedings. Further allegations may be raised at the safeguarding stage, with recommendations by Cafcass as to whether there should be a fact finding hearing, before final resolution of the case. Where the allegations are of violence Continue reading

Allen Worwood accepts offer of tenancy

We are pleased to announce that Allen Worwood has accepted an offer of tenancy following the successful completion of his pupillage. Allen is developing a busy practice in all areas of Family Law  and General Civil Law.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The family courts were overwhelmed with cases prior to the Pandemic, leading to long delays and, perhaps most distressing to the parties engaged in this type of conflict resolution, last minute adjournments which can incur significant wasted costs, for which there is generally no recourse, together with the distress and anxiety associated with yet further, Continue reading

Coronavirus: Separated Family and Contact with Children in Care FAQs (UK)

Family practitioners may wish to be aware of a Government briefing paper which seeks to address some key frequently asked questions concerning the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on separated families, contact with children, and child maintenance arrangements. The briefing paper provides links to relevant government guidance and to regulations and legislation, refers to the Continue reading

Failing to File and Serve a Costs Schedule in Time – Can a Party still Claim those Costs by Summary Assessment?

Summary In this article, Jasraj Sanghera will examine the Practice Direction governing the filing and serving of costs schedules where summary assessment of costs is sought, the decision in Robert Macdonald -v- Taree Holdings Ltd [2001] 1 Costs LR 147, and the implications of failing to file and serve a costs schedule in time in Continue reading

Non-Accidental Injuries to Children and Fact Finding Hearings

I recently represented a parent in a care case involving alleged non-accidental injuries (NAI) to a child. The local authority had brought care proceedings based on injuries the child had sustained, which were said to be non-accidental, and therefore inflicted deliberately. Typically, applications for care orders are based upon neglect or abuse. “Abuse’ in this Continue reading

Vaccination Disputes – A Reminder

Specific issue applications under the Children Act 1989 can be broad ranging and are frequently the source of significant points of contention between parties. Vaccination disputes between parents (where one parent wants a child to receive a particular vaccine and the other objects) are often hotly contested and the Courts are forced to make a Continue reading

Nightmare Neighbours – What Actions Can Be Taken Against Them?

Some of us are unfortunate enough to encounter nightmare neighbours who negatively impact our day-to-day life to varying degrees. This article seeks to explore the options available to clients who need to take further steps to resolve their neighbour disputes. It is, of course, advised that anyone experiencing an issue with their neighbour first try Continue reading

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is no longer a fringe concept in family courts. It has been the subject of recent press coverage and is now used frequently in court. It is also a term that should be used with caution and is easy to jump to as a parent who feels treated unfairly. Many relationship breakdowns involve Continue reading

Domestic Abuse update – qualifying for Legal Aid, and how to safely engage in remote hearings

The restrictions placed on households due to Covid-19 have had a well-documented effect on victims of domestic abuse. The charity Refuge reported an 80% increase in calls to its National Domestic Abuse Helpline in June 2020 alone. Although a legal framework exists to offer protection to those in need, such help may be harder to Continue reading

Unnecessary Private Law Applications – a warning shot from the judiciary

In Re B (A Child) (Unnecessary Private Law Applications) [2020] EWFC B44 HHJ Wildblood QC, in a case with a title that gets straight to the point, has sent a message directed at family lawyers. Its stated targets are ‘parties and lawyers’. However, given that litigants generally don’t read law reports, it’s a safe assumption Continue reading

A Sorry State of Housing Affairs: Housing Disrepair Claims Part 1

Summary In the first of two articles, I will provide a quick guide to housing disrepair claims where remedies of damages and/or specific performance are sought. Compensation or injury? It should be noted that claims primarily seeking compensation or specific performance against a landlord regarding disrepair to the structure, exterior, or specific installations of a Continue reading

Who owns that Pheasant?

As an ex dairy farmer turned Barrister, I am frequently asked two things: 1. Is it true that cows know when it is going to rain and sit down to keep the grass dry? 2. Can I pick up a dead pheasant (or other game bird) on the road? The first question is perhaps better Continue reading

“Unnecessary” Private Law Applications – Beware of criticism or sanctions from the Court

Re B (A Child) [2020] EWFC B44 A mother appealed the case-management decision made by a Legal Adviser that medical records relating to her for a period of 5 years should be disclosed into the case. HHJ Wildblood QC dealt with the substantive appeal in a Judgement that found the Order for disclosure to be Continue reading

Fixed Fee and Virtual Mediations

Paul Tapsell, a CMC-accredited civil mediator, extols the virtues of the CMC Fixed Fee Mediation scheme and virtual mediations. The present pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in the time it takes matters, especially civil claims, to get to court for a final hearing and those delays are only going to get longer so Continue reading

Pupillage Q and A

This month sees the end of a unique first six for our pupil Christian Fox. Christian has spent the entirety of the non-practising part of his pupillage either in lockdown, or under the restrictions imposed as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic. He has not physically been into our premises at all during that Continue reading

Legal 500 2021 Bar Guide

We are delighted with the latest feedback provided in the Legal 500 guide. “Becket Chambers benefits from a strong presence in Kent, where it has offices in Canterbury, Dartford, Maidstone, and Tunbridge Wells, and also in Sussex where it has recently moved its Eastbourne annexe to new premises in Brighton. The set is best known Continue reading

Chambers and Partners 2021

We are delighted to announce that  Louisa Adamson and Christopher Wall have been ranked in the Chambers and Partners bar guide 2021 edition. 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, and matters involving domestic and sexual Continue reading

Legal 500

We are pleased to announce that Louisa Adamson and Holly Coates have been ranked in Legal 500, 2021 guide. Louisa Adamson – Becket Chambers ‘She is sharp and on the ball and, in a difficult situation and with challenging cases, adopts just the right tone to get the job done.’ Holly Coates – Becket Chambers Continue reading

Lease or Licence?

I have recently been asked by a commercial tenant, and not for the first time, do I have a lease or a licence? One might imagine that the document in which the details are set out would be very explicit. It is not always that simple. Just because the office, workshop, car park or sheep Continue reading

Is mandatory mediation the solution to the court backlog?

Background As a result of the current Covid-19 crisis, the backlog of cases is mounting, despite HMCTS’ commendable efforts to re-open courts and implement access to video, hybrid and telephone hearings. There are also reports of the crisis precipitating more cases than normal. Property possession claims wait in the wings, family and domestic abuse enquiries Continue reading

Case Study N (Children: Interim Order/Stay [2020] EWCA Civ 1070

Case Study N (Children: Interim Order/Stay [2020] EWCA Civ 1070 Decision of Lord Justice Peter Jackson. A helpful reminder of some basic principles _______________________________________________________________________________________ This successful appeal by the mother was dealt with on 29 July 2020 during the current COVID 19 restrictions. The facts are not as important as the principles which were dealt Continue reading

Reactivation of possession claims – Practice Direction 55C and what it means for your proceedings

Practice Direction 55C (‘PD55C’) came into force on the 23rd August 2020. It is a Practice Direction within the Civil Procedure Rules that provides temporary provision in relation to possession proceedings during the Coronavirus pandemic. PD55C provides a temporary modification to Part 55 during the period beginning on 20th September 2020, which is the end Continue reading

Waiving Privilege: Legal Professional Privilege and AG v VD [2020] EWHC 1847 (Fam).

To feel able to speak freely with your lawyer is a fundamental principle which is integral to the proper working of any justice system. A sine qua non. At common law, this principle takes the form of legal professional privilege. Legal professional privilege affords the client the legal right to withhold lawyer and client communications, Continue reading

Raising another man’s child: conduct that it would be inequitable to disregard

It is relatively common to see conduct pleaded by aggrieved litigants in financial remedy proceedings. It is far more unusual for such an argument to actually succeed and an award to be made reflecting such a finding. Section 25(2)(g) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 states that conduct is only relevant “if that conduct is Continue reading

Injunctions Part 2: Freeze and desist

Summary Following on from my previous article on civil injunctions, I will cover injunctions in a family law context, focussing on freezing injunctions in matrimonial finance proceedings and applications under the Family Law Act 1996. Freezing injunctions – when are they needed? In the event of a marriage irretrievably breaking down, typical stages of a Continue reading

Sussex Annexe: Change Of Address

We are excited to announce that as of the 1 August 2020, our Sussex annexe will be moving to new premises in Brighton: Mocatta House Trafalgar Place Brighton BN1 4DU United Kingdom Please note that our Eastbourne address will therefore close for business

‘You Can’t Handle The Truth’ – If You Haven’t Correctly Worded Your Statement of Truth: Amendment to Rule 22 of the Civil Procedure Rules

The Current Covid-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of change to the way legal proceedings are conducted and has also prompted a number of amendments to both the Civil Procedure Rules and Family Procedure Rules. As such one non-Covid-19 related amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules which may therefore have escaped the attention of Continue reading

Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases

An article exploring the Expert Panel’s Final Report (June 2020): Why Change is Considered Necessary and Recommendations for Change My colleague Marie Crawford recently wrote about a story that appeared in The Guardian newspaper on 25.6.20 and which referred to the (then unpublished) expert panel report entitled ‘Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents Continue reading

My ex has made an application for a Child Arrangements Order – now what will happen to me and my kids?

Many parents find it difficult to agree on the arrangements for their children after separating. This can be an extremely stressful and upsetting situation for everyone concerned. The priority should be to shield the children from arguments wherever possible but what should you do when you receive an application for a Child Arrangements Order and Continue reading

Where there’s a Will …

I often deal with cases arising from the lack of reasonable financial provision for a spouse or children under a Will, or where a person has died without completing a valid Will. I hope this article will help people avoid some of the most common problems in those situations. While the starting point is that Continue reading

Article on Costs

The possibility of a detailed assessment of their costs under Section 70 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (the “Act”) is a possibility that all solicitors should be alive too. It is likely to be encountered in some sense during the course of a career and clients are becoming increasingly aware of the option. When a Continue reading

Permission to Appeal & Barder in Lockdown Plus Children Arbitration is the Answer

Two short but troubling issues in troubled times: Can the FR Appeal Court hold a one-sided oral permission hearing without formal notice to the Respondent? Does the pandemic/lockdown amount to a Barder event? Plus Arbitration simply is the answer, especially for children. Permission to Appeal Hearing I have recently had to consider whether it is Continue reading

Residential Service Charge – Time for Reform?

Introduction On Halloween in 2003, the Service Charge (Consultation Requirements) (England) Regulations 2003 (the “Regulations”) came into force, amending section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (“LTA 1985”). This amendment set a financial limit to works carried out on a residential building, beyond which a landlord would have to consult with tenants. That Continue reading

The freedom of belief and parental alienation in child arrangements orders: a slippery slope

Summary The recent judgment in S (Parental Alienation: Cult), Re [2020] EWCA Civ 568 provides a useful summary of the law concerning freedom of belief and parental alienation in contested child arrangements orders. The father (F) appealed the refusal of his application for a variation of a child arrangements order amidst continuing concern over the Continue reading

Child Arrangement Orders and Coronavirus – I’m not seeing my child what can I do ?

From the moment that the Government announced the possibility of lockdown measures being imposed, lawyers were inundated with questions about whether and how Child Arrangements Orders should be implemented over this period. As lockdown continues one of our local CAFCASS officers has told practitioners that many parents involved with the service have been able to Continue reading

PSED – An Update

Previously, I have considered the Public Sector Equality Duty (“PSED”) and possession proceedings in my article entitled “PSED, Cuckooing and Possession”. Whilst I appreciate that possession proceedings may not be at the forefront in the current climate (and for more information on this, please see Paul Tapsell’s article regarding possession proceedings and the Coronavirus Act Continue reading

Love In the Time of Corona.

 The landscape of February is gone, and legal professionals are all now working in previously unknown circumstances. The daily routine has vanished, we are for the most part not physically attending court, and traditional ways of doing things have changed. Recently I was in a far flung county court with a solicitor colleague as we Continue reading

Interim Separation During Proceedings

C (A Child) (Interim Separation) [2019] EWCA Civ 1998 (Judgement of Lord Justice, Peter Jackson) _______________________________________________________________________________________ We have all experienced cases, especially when representing a young mother who has been placed with the child, often a first child and a baby, in a mother and baby foster placement and that placement has broken down for 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) 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

Parental alienation – are the Courts more willing to intervene?

As family practitioners we all frequently deal with cases where parental alienation and/or implacable hostility is alleged. The recent case of Re H (Parental Alienation) [2019] EWHC 2723 (Fam) is one of the recent cases where the Courts are prepared to change residence. This case is also interesting because the subject child was 12, which Continue reading

ALI V BARBOSA[2019] EWHC 2776 (Fam)– Void or Voidable. Maintaining the discretion of the family court and the importance of the circumstances of the case

In October 2019, Mrs Justice Lieven DBE considered an application by a husband that the wife’s divorce proceedings, and the decree absolute, should be set aside for breaches in relation to service of the proceedings. The case gives an insight into when the courts may consider proceedings for divorce void or voidable and is a Continue reading

Section 4 Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975: Standstill Agreements

Earlier this year the conflicting authorities of Bhusate v Patel [2019] EWHC 470 (Ch) and Cowan v Foreman and others [2019] EWHC 349 (Fam) cast doubt on the use of standstill agreements in respect of claims intended to be brought under section 2 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”). Continue reading

Some Further Thoughts on Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Further to my previous article on pre-nuptial agreements, I have recently had cause to consider the overlap between the various possible vitiating factors, particularly undue influence and legal advice. Following on from Lord Phillip’s consideration in Radmacher of the vitiating or weight reducing factors of duress, fraud, misrepresentation, undue pressure and unworthy conduct such as Continue reading

Part 36 Offers Explained

This article explains the key points about Part 36 offers and provides top tips for avoiding common pitfalls. Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules (“Part 36”) is a self-contained set of rules designed to encourage both the Claimant and Defendant to settle the claim outside of court. Any offer made under Part 36 is Continue reading

Transfer of residence should not be seen as a “last resort” even in the absence of a finding of “parental alienation” or “intractable hostility”.

In my article written in April 2018 “Not “Parental Alienation”? but heading towards intractability? What can be done” I discussed some of the challenges facing the courts where adult conflict threatens to harm the relationship between children and their parents. Two cases decided in 2019 consider further the question of transfer of residence in cases Continue reading

Chambers and Partners 2020

We are pleased to announce that Christopher Wall and Louisa Adamson have been ranked in Chambers and Partners, 2020 guide. Christopher Wall Junior who is predominantly instructed in matrimonial finance matters and public law children work. He has notable experience in complex disputes concerning private companies, trusts and international assets, and also regularly tackles difficult children cases Continue reading

Summary of Recent Case Law (Private Family Law: Children) – April to September 2019

COSTS Timokhina v Timokhin [2019] EWCA Civ 1284 Lord Justice Underhill, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan Judgment:      18th July 2019 These proceedings concerned the parties’ two children aged 15 and 8. The parents were Russian, who moved to London in 2004. Following the breakdown of the marriage, bitter court proceedings ensued in relation to Continue reading

Legal 500 2020 Guide

We are pleased to announce that we have been recommended as a leading regional set in the Legal 500, 2020 guide. “Becket Chambers, which has a presence in Kent and Sussex, is best known for its family work – including members accepting appointments as family mediators – but also handles other civil matters, including personal Continue reading

CARE PROCEEDINGS AND THE NEED FOR THE COURT TO DETERMINE THRESHOLD WHEN MAKING A SPECIAL GUARDIANSHIP ORDER

The impetus for this article arises from care proceedings in which I was recently involved resulting in an unopposed SGO being made to the foster carers. I was instructed on behalf of the child who was aged 4 at the time of the final hearing. The background is not important but the threshold issues included Continue reading

Intentionally Homeless Decisions – Where the starting point should be on affordability

This article will look at the recent judgment given in Samuels v Birmingham City Council [2019] UKSC 28 (“Samuels”) and the legislation regarding homelessness and intentionally homeless decisions. The Appellant, in the case of Samuels, was an assured shorthold tenant of a property where she lived with her 4 children. Due to rent arrears, in Continue reading

Title: Reviewing the recent Court of Appeal decision relating to the availability of contractual rectification in cases involving a common mistake in the case of FSHC Group Holdings Ltd v Glas Trust Corporation Ltd

The Court of Appeal recently considered the availability of rectification as a remedy in cases where there is a common mistake in FSHC Group Holdings Ltd v Glas Trust Corporation Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 1361. In the case the Claimant sought rectification of two deeds against the Barclays Bank plc as security agent for the Continue reading

Re F (A Child) (Fact-Finding Appeal) – Unexplained Injuries: Less a case of “Who did what?” and more a case of ” Did anyone do anything?”

In May 2019, the Court of Appeal considered an appeal by the father of a 6 month old child F, against a finding that he inflicted harm upon the child. The child presented with petechial haemorrhaging of a pattern that the experts had never encountered before, and which they could not explain. The case gives Continue reading

The Discount Rate in Personal Injury Claims: What, Why and How

On 15th July 2019 the Government announced a change to the calculation of personal injury compensation. From 5th August the “discount rate” applied in compensation calculations will be raised from -0.75% to -0.25%. The announcement has been met with slight relief by those acting for Claimants and with displeasure from insurance companies who are, in Continue reading

Section 4 Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975: How Long is Too Long to Ask for Permission to Apply for Reasonable Financial Provision From the Estate of the Deceased?

Section 4 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”) provides that claims under section 2 of the Act must be made within six months of the date on which the representation with respect to the estate is taken out, unless the court gives permission for such a claim to be Continue reading

Untraceable or uninsured drivers in road traffic accidents

The recent decision of Cameron (Respondent) v Liverpool Victoria Insurance Co Ltd (Appellant) [2019] UKSC 6 is an interesting insight into service of untraceable and unidentified drivers that are liable for road traffic accidents. This case concerned an appeal in the Supreme Court on the question of “in what circumstances is it permissible to sue Continue reading

A Reminder of the Need to Robustly Stand Up to Judical Pressure and the Important Distinction Between Sections 31 & 38 of the Children Act 1989

Re G (Children: Fair Hearing). [2019] EWCA Civ 126 On the first of these two issues this was a procedural appeal against interim care orders by a mother who stated that she was subjected to improper judicial pressure that led to orders being granted without opposition by her. The appeal was heard by Lord Justice Continue reading

The Law Governing Divorce is Changing, What Does This Mean for You?

Despite the significant cultural and social developments in society, the law governing divorce has remained largely the same since 1969 when the Divorce Reform Act was passed. After many discussions and attempts to change the law, the Government has finally decided that reform is necessary. Current Basis for Divorce When you apply for a divorce Continue reading

Civil Bundles: Worse Than Ever?

Bundles have always been the bane of the civil lawyer’s life. 10 different courts, 10 different approaches, and 10 shades of adherence to the CPR. From 6th April this year, the rules changed for the worse better. If you are preparing for a trial under the CPR, you should take a look at the new Continue reading

Pre-Nuptial Agreements – The Cracks in Radmacher – Are the Courts nibbling away at Pre-Nuptials from both ends?

The very recent decision of Mostyn J in Ipekci v McConnell [2019] EWFC 19 illustrates the fragility of Pre-Nuptial Agreements (“PNAs” hereafter) from one end (vitiation) and the same case and other recent decisions do so from the other end (the extent to which they bind the court even if valid). These two ends of Continue reading

Adverse Possession

Assertions of adverse possession (or “squatter’s rights”), where an individual is entitled to claim ownership of land by virtue of the fact that they have used the land as their own for an extended period, are frequently the cause of prolonged and expensive litigation. The Land Registration Act 2002 was intended, in part, to prevent Continue reading

Becket Family Mediation – the process – a brief overview of the steps

First, make contact with the mediation clerks, who will provide you with some information and send you a referral form to complete. Complete your referral form and return it to the mediation clerks, who will then set up an initial session for you to attend with the mediator (on your own). Attend an intake/MIAM session Continue reading

Child Arrangements Orders: How can I make the Court process more positive for me and for my child(ren)?

Often, when parents separate, there are young children involved, so it is important to set up a co-parenting model that can last for a significant period of time. Many parents feel that the most appropriate forum for such discussions is within mediation. If you have been able to reach a decision through negotiation, you can Continue reading

PSED, Cuckooing and Possession

Cara Radford assesses applications for possession by public authorities in light of the Public Sector Equality Duty and where cuckooing is an issue. Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”) provides the Public Sector Equality Duty (“PSED”) which requires public authorities, in the exercise of its functions, to have due regard to the Continue reading

When do the Rules Apply? Are Litigants in Person Always to be Held to the Same Standards as Represented Parties Following Barton v Wright Hassall?

In the well-publicised case of Barton v Wright Hassall LLP [2018] UKSC 12, Lord Sumption, with whom Lord Wilson and Lord Carnwarth agreed (Lady Hale and Lord Briggs dissenting), stated: “The rules provide a framework within which to balance the interest of both sides. That balance is inevitably disturbed if an unrepresented litigant is entitled Continue reading

Race Discrimination: Evidence & Inference after Royal Mail Group Limited v Efobi

The Court of Appeal has recently given judgment in Royal Mail Group Limited v Efobi [2019] EWCA Civ 18, Royal Mail’s appeal against the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision that, at first instance, a Tribunal had wrongly rejected Mr Efobi’s claim for direct race discrimination. The Court of Appeal’s decision has effectively restored the decision of Continue reading

Third Six Pupillage Vacancy

A vacancy has arisen for a third six pupil with the opportunity to apply for a full tenancy during or at the conclusion of the pupillage. The successful applicant will be joining a friendly and modern set, with a collegiate atmosphere and a forward-thinking approach. Becket Chambers offers an attractive combination of high quality work Continue reading

Are the Government finally tackling Domestic Abuse and how will it help victims in the family court? The Domestic Abuse Bill.

Since March 2018 the government have been consulting for a landmark Domestic Abuse bill. It seeks to legislate to “ fundamentally change the way we, as a country, think about this insidious crime.”  The draft bill was published on 21st January 2019 and focuses on 4 main objectives, i.e. how they can: promote awareness – Continue reading

Summary of Case Law (Private Family Law: Children)

Cumulative Edition 2018 by Kevin Jackson Contents Civil Restraint Orders AEY v AL (Family Proceedings Civil Restraint Order) 18th November 2018 [2018] EWHC 3253 (Fam) Committal CH and CT 25th May 2018 [2018] EWHC 1310 (Fam) Egeneonu and Egeneonu and Anor 6th June 2018 [2018] EWHC 1392 (Fam) Egeneonu and Egeneonu 18th July 2018 [2018] Continue reading

SUMMARY OF RECENT CASE PRIVATE LAW (FAMILY: CHILDREN)

QUARTERLY DIGEST October to December 2018 PRIVATE LAW Civil Restraint Orders AEY v AL (Family Proceedings Civil Restraint Order) [2018] EWHC 3253 (Fam) 18th November 2018 Knowles J The father had engaged in long running family proceedings regarding his three children. In the current proceedings the father made a further application for a child arrangements Continue reading

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 created a new (and rigorous) statutory framework for individuals and companies dealing with scrap metal imposing significant criminal penalties for any breaches; more local authorities are becoming aware of the additional options for dealing with sites where unauthorised activities are leading to complaints and pressure from residents (and councillors). Continue reading

Exercising the Discretion Under the Mitchell/Denton Principles

Following consideration having been given and the determination made that the Mitchell/Denton principles apply in a given situation the mind must turn to the manner in which those principles are likely to be applied in the relevant circumstances. Given the nature of the discretion afforded to the court in an application for relief from sanctions Continue reading

Using powers to prevent anti-social behaviour to protect, not punish

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 brought with it new powers in order to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB). It introduced, amongst other things, the Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO), the civil injunction and the closure order. Local Authorities and Police Forces, amongst other organisations can apply for these; but when thinking about these powers, Continue reading

Consideration of the Application of the Mitchell/Denton Principles and What Constitutes an Abuse of Process

Following the implementation of the Mitchell/Denton principles compliance with rules and practice directions has become far more important than it previously had been. Whilst the additional clarification given in Denton has provided a greater understanding of what is expected when seeking to apply for relief from sanctions there remain many examples of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Continue reading

Open All Hours? Flexible Operating Hours for Family and Civil Courts

On the 16th November 2018 the Flexible Operating Hours (“FOH”) Pilots: Prospectus for Civil and Family Court Pilots was published. HM Courts and Tribunals Service (“HMCTS”) announced that early and late sittings will now be trialled over six months in civil and family courts in Manchester Civil Justice Centre and Brentford County Court, commencing in Continue reading

Life as a Pupil Barrister

Whilst only 3 weeks into Pupillage, I can tell you that I both thoroughly enjoy being a Pupil barrister and that it is unlike any job I have ever done. Becket Chambers has been immensely welcoming to me and every member of Chambers has made an effort to chat, say hello and help me with Continue reading

Chambers & Partners Ranking, 2019

We are pleased to be ranked in the Chambers & Partners 2019 Bar guide. Both Christopher Wall and Louisa Adamson have been individually ranked for Family/Matrimonial. 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 acts for a Continue reading

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

Annie are you OK, are you OK Annie? [at this precise moment in time whilst completing your last will and testament]

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (“MCA”) introduced a framework for assessing mental capacity, enabling the court to assist persons who lack capacity to manage their affairs by taking decisions or by appointing decision-makers to act on their behalf. MCA is not retrospective and not relevant in considering the validity of wills made prior to 1 April Continue reading

Tattersall v Tattersall – periodical payments, enforcement before variation?

This case involved two parties who had married in 2000 and subsequently separated in 2010. The marriage produced one child who continued to reside with the wife. On 10th December 2012, a final financial remedy order was made dividing the capital unequally in the wife’s favour in order to enable her to purchase accommodation for Continue reading

Samuel Davis

We are delighted to announce that Samuel Davis has accepted an offer to join Chambers following the successful completion of his pupillage. Samuel will accept instructions in all of Chambers core practice areas. To book Samuel or for more information about his practice, please contact the Clerks on 01227 786331.

Thy Will Be Done. Maybe…

Those readers who follow legal stories in the press will not have failed to notice a spate of cases concerning end of life decisions. Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that an application may no longer be needed for an order to withdraw life-sustaining treatment for a person with a ‘prolonged disorder of consciousness’. “An Continue reading

Prohibited Steps Order- when breaches don’t always lead to action

Prohibited Steps Orders are often regarded as a protective means available to a parent who has concerns about another party involved with their child. Whether the issue be the removal of a child from the jurisdiction or simply an order preventing an individual from undertaking a certain act, perhaps naively, Prohibited Steps Orders are used Continue reading

Order for Sale: Purchase by a Co-Owner or Sale on the Open Market – Stuck Between a Rock House and a Hard Place

Many claims under the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (“the Act”) seek an order for sale of the property in question, however it may be the case that the claimant does not want the property to be sold, but instead to retain it as a sole owner, effectively removing a co-owner Continue reading

Financial Remedy: Pension Overview, Off-Setting and Duxbury Re-Visited

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the Court’s approach to pensions in financial remedy proceedings generally and revisit specific issues such as pension off-setting and Duxbury calculations raised in my previous article published in July 2016 under the title, “Financial Remedy: Pension Values and Offsetting – Quo Vadimus”. PENSION OVERVIEW Continue reading

Disability discrimination and possession proceedings

Background Paragon Asra Housing Limited (“the Appellant”) is a provider of social housing. Mr Neville (“the Respondent”) was an assured tenant of the Appellant. Under Clause 3 of the Respondent’s tenancy agreement there were a number of- quite standard – obligations. These included: – barring him from using the flat for illegal or immoral purposes; 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

Crisis in Family Justice?

Is the family justice system in crisis? Yes says Sir Andrew McFarlane, the new president of the Family Division of the High Court, who took over that role in July 2018. Sir Andrew was speaking at the launch of a Care Crisis review, an independent study by senior lawyers, social workers, charities & academics into Continue reading

Relocation – stating the resident parent will be ‘unhappy’ is simply not enough to justify relocation.

re M (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ 2356 Introduction In a lead judgment from Jackson LJ the Court of Appeal have reiterated the guidance in Re F (A Child) (International Relocation Cases) [2015] EWCA Civ 882 that “an analysis of some sophistication and complexity” is required before granting an application for relocation. This case makes it Continue reading

Draft revised Practice Direction 27A – Family Proceedings: Court Bundles (Universal Practice to be applied in the High Court and Family Court)

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, has announced that a final approved draft of the revised Practice Direction 27A (which awaits only formal signature by the relevant Minister) is due to come into force on 23 July 2018. The basic PD27A remains as before but with some minor changes. The three main changes Continue reading

Costs against Public Authorities in Non-CPR Civil Proceedings in the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts – Heads They Win, Tails You Lose

R (on the application of Perinpanathan) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and Another [2010] EWCA Civ 40 is the current leading authority on the question of costs in civil matters brought in the Crown or Magistrates’ Court by a public authority. It applies and extends the principles in City of Bradford Metropolitan DC v Continue reading

(Assured) Landlord and Tenant in Potential Agreement? Sweet Surrender

Once there has been a breakdown in the landlord and tenant relationship, and the landlord wants to seek possession, the default route is the instigation of formal possession proceedings. A problem that assured and assured-shorthold landlords are starting to encounter more frequently, however, is the Section 21 debarment that results from a failure to comply Continue reading

A variation to the law of variations: The Supreme Court gives judgment in Rock Advertising Ltd v MWB Business Exchange Centres Ltd

Summary: In a case of potential relevance to anyone entering into a written contract, the Supreme Court has recently held that oral variations to such a contract may well be invalid. The case has wide reaching implications and changes the approach previously adopted by the courts. In its Judgment in Rock Advertising Ltd v MWB Continue reading

A roundup of the President’s lecture on a unified, re-vamped family court

It is a familiar problem. A divorce is being endured. It is, by definition, fractious and, most importantly, still fractious in respect of the children. Or, put in lawyer’s tongue, there are ongoing matrimonial finance proceedings, in which the children are the first consideration (section 25 (1) Matrimonial Causes Act 1973) but the “child arrangements” Continue reading

Further reform to Personal Injury – Crackdown on gastric illness in holiday claims

Introduction Hot on the heels of The Association of British Insurers (ABI) (in response to an apparent increase in whiplash claims) The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has campaigned for reform in package holiday gastric illness claims. Personal Injury reform is a topic that I have previously explored under “Personal Injury Claims- further reform 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

Parents with learning difficulties – further guidance in a recent reported case dealing with the limits the courts will go to in applying Re D principles.

The President has issued further guidance on cases involving parents with learning difficulties: President’s Guidance Family Proceedings: Parents with a Learning Disability, 10th April 2018: He refers to the leading cases: Re D (A Child) (No 3) (2016) EWFC 1: http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed158421 and Re Guardian and A (Care Order: Freeing Order: Parents with a Learning Disability) Continue reading

Not “Parental Alienation”? but heading towards intractability? What can be done?

Many practitioners are accustomed to seeing cases that do not quite fall within the category of “parental alienation” yet are characterised by the resident-parent’s views impacting adversely on the arrangements for contact between the non-resident parent and the child and often, as a consequence, on the relationship between the child and non-resident parent.   Usually such Continue reading

Clarification on the correct application of qualified one-way costs shifting

This article explores the correct way Defendant’s added to a claim after April 2013 should approach qualified one-way costs shifting (“QOCS”) It explains how QOCS should be applied in respect of an unsuccessful claim for damages for personal injury. In particular, the article reviews the recent Court of Appeal decision in Corstorphine (An Infant) v Continue reading

Section 10(1)(b) Children Act 1989: Do Grandparents Always Have to Apply for a Child Arrangements Order?

As we are aware, in cases where grandparents are denied spending time with their grandchildren, they have to apply to the court to do so. Moreover, the procedure is a two stage process, with them having to apply for leave first and satisfying the conditions set down in Section 10(9) of the Children Act 1989. Continue reading

Employment Law Seminar

We are please to announce that Paul Tapsell and Rachel Baker will be presenting a seminar in Canterbury and Eastbourne. This seminar will cover the following topics: Employee, Worker or Self-Employed; Management Professionals, Shepherds and the Gig-Economy Discrimination Claims: A Practical Overview Canterbury Innovation Centre, University Road, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7FG – 15th May 2018 at 3.45pm The View Hotel, Grand Parade, Continue reading

Common Intention Constructive Trust: Beneficial Joint Tenancy or Tenancy in Common?

In modern times it is becoming more and more prevalent for couples to live together without marrying and as such disputes over ownership of property arise more frequently. The recent case of Culliford and another v Thorpe [2018] EWHC 426 (Ch) afforded the Chancery Division the opportunity to consider what was required to constitute a Continue reading

Take “Hart,” Judges Will Use Their Powers Including Imprisonment To Punish Contempt In Relation To Non Production Of Documents.

Have you ever felt frustrated by the Courts’ reluctance to use its powers to enforce disclosure?   In the latest round in the long running bout of Hart v Hart, HHJ Wildblood QC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge has sentenced the Husband (H) to 14 months imprisonment for contempt for failing to produce documents Continue reading

Larke v Nugus

A Larke v Nugus request is a request regarding the circumstances of drafting a Will. The starting point is the case of Larke v Nugus (1979) 123 SJ 327. It is a case I sometimes use when advising probate clients. The case held that the professional who drafted the Will should provide information about the drafting and Continue reading

Hair Strand Drug Testing Seminar 2018

We are please to announce that Kevin Jackson and Sandria Murkin will be presenting a Seminar in Canterbury. This seminar covers a range of topics involving hair strand drug testing within Family Children Act Proceedings. Venue: Canterbury Innovation Centre, University Road, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7FG – 26 April 2018 at 3.45pm Places are limited and should be booked early to Continue reading

The New CAFCASS Guidance and Private Law Children Proceedings – an UPDATE on the proposed new interventions

In my August 2017 article I considered the Cafcass document ‘Guidance on the use of professional time to benefit children’ (‘the Guidance’) in the context of private law children proceedings. While Cafcass believes it is crucial that the work it carries out before and at the First Hearing (FHDRA) should continue unchanged, it proposes to 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 18th View from the President’s Chambers “The on-going process of reform – Financial Remedies Courts”

Last month, Sir James Munby published his 18th View from the President’s Chambers. “The on-going process of reform – Financial Remedies Courts” expands upon the 17th View (“divorce and money – where are we and where are we going?” [2017] Fam Law 607) and the “President’s Circular: Financial Remedies Courts” [2018] Fam Law 91. The Continue reading

Challenging a Grant of Planning Permission in your Local Area

THERE IS A 6-WEEK LIMITATION PERIOD WITHIN WHICH A GRANT OF PLANNING PERMISSION CAN BE CHALLENGED VIA THE METHODS OUTLINED BELOW. IF YOU THINK YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHALLENGE SOMEONE’S PLANNING PERMISSION CONTACT BECKET CHAMBERS FOR SPECIALIST PLANNING ADVICE ASAP. ________ When planning permission is granted for a local development or a neighbour’s extension despite Continue reading

Has adoption become a runaway train?

The 2018 report of the British Association of Social Workers’s (BASW) into adoption law According to an independent enquiry into adoption law in the UK by the British Association of Social Workers’s (BASW), adoption has become a “runaway train,” almost impossible to stop. The two-year enquiry, led by Professors Brid Featherstone and Anna Gupta, gathered Continue reading

Family Finance Seminar 2018

We are please to announce that Holly Coates, Sophie Gray and John Nee will be presenting a Family Finance Seminar in Sussex. This seminar covers a range of topics within Family Finance Proceedings, which is due to take place at: The View Hotel, Grand Parade, Eastbourne BN21 4DN – 16 April 2018 at 3.45pm Places are limited and Continue reading

Re H (A Child- Hair Strand Testing) [2017] EWFC 64 – Mr. Justice Peter Jackson

A distillation of the key points from this important guideline case concerning hair strand drug testing. On 29th September 2017 after 6 days of evidence, legal argument and submissions Mr. Justice Peter Jackson handed down a Judgment that looked at several key issues that are relevant to practitioners in public and private law family proceedings Continue reading

Life as a Pupil Barrister

I could not have been provided with a better start to pupillage. I was immediately thrust into the work of a first-six pupil, shadowing members of Chambers in conferences and in court, drafting documents from attendance notes to advices, conducting legal research and considering case files. I have already been able to observe a variety Continue reading

An Unintended Consequence of The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 S.3(a)(2)

S.3(a)(2) of The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 serves a purpose; it shields those that let out rooms in their homes, for whatever reason, from the court processes usually required to evict a tenant against their will. These processes can be costly, protracted and stressful, and Parliament decided that live-in-landlords should not have to endure Continue reading

Service by email – a warning shot

More and more often, parties within legal proceedings are using email as their preferred method of serving documents. However, the recent case of Glencore Agriculture BV v Conqueror Holdings Ltd [2017] EWHC 2893 provides a warning that when using such a method, steps should always be taken to ensure that the email address you are 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

An increase for injury to feelings: the Vento Bands and compensation in discrimination claims

An employee alleging discrimination on the part of their employer (for example on grounds of disability) may ask the Employment Tribunal to make an award for compensation for “injury to feelings”. This is an award of damages aimed as a remedy for the hurt, humiliation and degradation suffered by the employee and will be considered Continue reading

The revised Practice Direction 12J: Child Arrangements & Contact Order: Domestic Violence and Harm

On Thursday 14th September 2017 the President, Sir James Munby released a Circular about the Cobb Review of PD 12J (commissioned by the President and published in January 2017). Mr. Justice Cobb had also published a draft amended PD 12J with his review, which I addressed in an earlier article for Family Law Week.  The Continue reading

Do Round-Table Meetings work in resolving private family law disputes ?

In my experience the answer to this is a resounding “Yes”. Round-table meetings have become increasingly popular over the past few years, although it is less clear whether this is due to an increased emphasis on a collaborative approach or down to the current court listing difficulties. To take part in round-table meetings you do Continue reading

The Judicial College Guidelines 14th Edition. The need for intelligent application rather than a rigid approach.

In September 2017, the 14th Edition of the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases were published. This new addition has been updated to take into account inflation since the 13th Edition (which was published September 2015). The award across all categories has been increased in line with the 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 Landlord and Tenant Act 1954- is a tenant now deprived of their security of tenure?

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 regulates the way in which business tenancies can be terminated. Importantly, it gives business tenants security of tenure. However, that security has been called into question recently in the case of S Franses Ltd v The Cavendish Hotel (London) Limited [2017] EWHC 1670 (QB). In July 2017, judgment was handed Continue reading

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

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

An Acid Test for Unreasonable Acts: Unreasonable Behaviour Costs on the Small Claims Track

When preparing a brief for a small claims trial it is not uncommon to read that “Counsel is instructed to seek unreasonable conduct costs”.   Quite what such unreasonable behaviour amounts to is not defined by the CPR and this has in turn led to spurious applications being made and uncertainty over what behaviour the court 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

Of Course Our Partnership Doesn’t Need To Be Written. Let’s Just Write That Down

The Becket Chambers Commercial Team deals with all types of business organisation- from listed companies to sole traders. A surprising number of disputes come from partnerships, when two or more friends or relatives have set up a business informally, and there is, later, a disagreement as to what each partner may, or may not do. Continue reading

Chambers ranked in Legal 500 guide 2016

Chambers are pleased to announce that we have been recommended as a leading set in the Legal 500 2016 guide. “Experienced in all areas of family law, Becket Chambers is ‘extremely easy to work with – helpful, supportive and committed’. Members are active in public and private law children matters, family injunctions, divorce and financial 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

What Importance a Decree Nisi?

In the complex arena of financial remedy proceedings there are many legal issues to navigate, however there are of course those elements that are seen as more of a procedural nature and as such can sometimes be neglected. One such aspect is the application for and granting of Decree Nisi, an issue recently considered by 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

Costs Budgeting: Recent Amendments

As is often the case, the first attempt at a new process is not perfect and requires tweaking as time goes on; cost budgeting is no different it would seem. Having noted that the budgeting process is utilising a great deal of court time and resources, efforts have recently been made to streamline the process; Continue reading

A change in housing benefit back payments- what does this realistically mean?

A large majority of possession matters reach court because the defendant has failed to engage with the relevant Local Authority awarding housing benefits or they have failed to provide information when requested. The reasons behind such failures vary from mental health issues to a simple lack of insight. However, such failures often result in housing Continue reading

Part 36: The New Regime

Following the recent series of seminars in civil law, I have reduced my presentation to this short article. A number of the Part 36 offers I see are not valid. Regardless of the seniority of lawyer, or the experience of the individual drafting the offer, there are a number of potential pitfalls. The new Part Continue reading

Life as a Pupil Barrister

My experience since starting pupillage, in October 2015, has exceeded all expectations I had. I have been exposed to a variety of high quality work. As Becket is a mixed set, I have been able to gain experience and help from each member of chambers in their specialist area who have been supportive and encouraging. Continue reading

Litigants in person in Kent

Cuts to legal aid, rising legal costs and a reduction in resources have contributed to an ever-growing number of litigants in persons.  Recently I was invited to attend a “CLOCK presentation”. CLOCK is a Community Legal Outreach Collaboration initially started in Keel. It aims to bring together members of the university, judiciary, barrister chambers, law 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

Holly Coates & Paul Tapsell – Chambers & Partners Guide 2016

Chambers is proud to annouce that Holly Coates and Paul Tapsell have been ranked in the Chambers and Partners Guide 2016 under Local Government. Chambers has also been ranked as a Leading Set. THE SET Canterbury-based Becket Chambers operates across Kent and Sussex, and acts for a variety of clients, although it is best recognised for its work on behalf of local Continue reading

Chris Wall & Louisa Adamson – Chambers & Partners Guide 2016

Chambers are proud to annouce that both Louisa Adamson and Christopher Wall have been ranked in the Chambers and Partners Guide 2016 under Family/Matrimonial (South East). Louisa Adamson focuses on children and financial remedy matters and is highly experienced in care proceedings, disputes concerning physical and sexual abuse and residence disputes. She also undertakes financial disputes concerning property, assets Continue reading

Blog: Solicitor CPD – All Change Please

There are changes afoot with solicitor CPD. The Law Society has released a practice note about the changes, which you can read here. When? Solicitors may move to the new system as of 1 April 2015 or they may remain under the old system until 1 November 2016 when they must move to the new Continue reading

Blog: Family Law: Court Bundles – A Warning

In the Law Society Gazette 22nd June 2015, an article was written at page 20 on the current position for court bundles. It is ESSENTIAL reading for solicitors and litigants in person preparing bundles for court. In brief summary, the current position is thus: There is no concept of a single core bundle with supporting Continue reading

Blog: Is It Always Necessary To Obtain Final Financial Orders Even In “No Money” Cases? Or “What If I Ever Win The National Lottery (Or Build Up A Multi Million Pound Eco-Company)?”

The Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Wyatt v Vince [2015] UKSC14 is of vital importance to divorcing, and divorced, couples underlining the need always to obtain final settlement orders with respect to the financial claims which arise from a marriage.    It is a real problem for many people with the unavailability of legal 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

Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Wyatt v Vince

In Wyatt v Vince, the Supreme Court considers the court’s jurisdiction under rule 4.4 of the family rules. The Supreme Court has unanimously allowed Ms. Wyatt’s appeal after the Court of Appeal had struck out Ms. Wyatt’s claim for financial provision under rule 4.4. The full Judgment can be found here. Edward Kenny, instructed by 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