Articles

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

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

‘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

Promises, promises: what is a landlord to do? Looking at the Supreme Court ruling in Duval v 11-13 Randolph Crescent

Summary Is a landlord of a block of flats entitled to grant a licence to a lessee to carry out work which would breach an absolute covenant contained in a lease of their flat, where the leases of other flats in the same building require them to enforce covenants at the request of a lessee 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