Articles

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

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

‘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