Articles

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘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