Articles

Realistic care options without magic wands: CV (A Child) (Placement Order) [2022] EWCA Civ 930

This article considers the successful appeal of a first instance case in which a final placement order was made in respect of a young child with complex medical needs. Background to this case This case involved care proceedings in respect of C, a young child aged 3, who had complex medical needs. C was the Continue reading

Holiday season – the rules on witnesses attending court from abroad

Even in Britain, the summer season is finally upon us. Half of our inboxes contain out of office emails from colleagues taking much-needed holidays. Our clients are understandably enjoying time away from work and obligations on trips of their own. However, courts sit year round and a common question among legal representatives is what to Continue reading

Special Measures and vulnerable litigants

The importance of ensuring vulnerable litigants and witnesses are protected by special measures and participation directions when they give evidence in family proceedings The vital importance of this was highlighted in this case, reported in FLW (reproduced below), in which the High Court allowed an appeal against a fact-finding hearing, which ordinarily requires a very Continue reading

An unusual case – private sperm donation, parental responsibility, and contact

MacDougall v SW & Ors (sperm donor: parental responsibility or contact) [2022] EWFC 50 is concerned with three linked cases where the children have the same biological father (“JM”). The judgment is concerned with the first two cases (SW and EG), the third case having been adjourned. The court had to consider: JM’s applications for Continue reading

Participation Directions in Family Proceedings, the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and sexually explicit material

The use of intimate images in private law family proceedings is all too common.  Mrs Justice Knowles, sitting in the High Court, gave guidance on this issue and made suggestions as to how such images should be admitted into and managed within private law children proceedings in a judgment handed down on 29.4.22.  The case Continue reading

The Advance of the Principle of Separating Off Non-Matrimonial Assets But Balanced by Needs and Resources Issues

Having written previously about non-matrimonial assets and had recent cause to carefully consider both, on the one hand the effect of the relatively recent decision in WX v HX [2021] EWHC 241 (Fam) that some argue goes to the next level in protecting non-matrimonial assets and, on the other hand, to what extent nonetheless non-matrimonial Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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