The Family Justice Review (2) - Main recommendations

What follows is a reasonably detailed look at the main recommendations.

Full post: Law and Lawyers

The Family Justice Review (1) - Overview and Terms of Reference

In November 2011 the Family Justice Review, led by David Norgrove, issued its final report - "Family Justice Review: Final Report."

Full post: Law and Lawyers

Family Law: contact orders - case raising novel issues

The recent case of Re P and L (Minors) [2011] EWHC 3431 (Fam) was a dispute about contact with children but involved considerable factual complexity.

Full post: Law and Lawyers

Popular posts in 2011

Some of the year’s most popular posts are listed below, and I was also interested to note how different the list is to this time last year.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Death and the unmarried couple: what happens to the house?

Marilyn discusses the law of inheritance in relation to cohabitees.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Parental Kidnap

International child abduction is a thorny issue, particularly where a child is abducted by a parent to a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention.

Full post: Pink Tape

Book Review: Local Authority Support for Children and Families

A one line review would simply say that this is a useful and clearly written book.

Full post: Pink Tape

NG v SG: Dealing with wiful non-disclosure

The judgment in NG v SG [2011] EWHC 3270 (Fam) is perhaps most notable for the fact that Mr Justice Mostyn spends the first sixteen paragraphs discussing how the Court should deal with wilful non-disclosure in relation to financial remedies following divorce, before he even mentions the case itself.

Full post: Family Lore

Types of trust – and a touch of Christmas spirit

Stowe Family Law honour the Christmas spirit in quite a dramatic way...

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

AJ v JJ & Ors: The wishes of the children in abduction cases

In AJ v JJ & Ors [2011] EWCA Civ 1448 the court was required to deal with the situation where the children wished to have their views heard in an abduction case.

Full post: Family Lore

Transfer Values suspended and Pension Sharing Orders deferred

HM Treasury has recently published guidance in respect of the discount rate for the purpose of calculating CETVs.

Full post: The Ancillary Actuary

Family law arbitration: a new dawn for Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Lord Wilson delivered a frank, easy to understand speech last night in London. It was noteworthy because he is the first senior figure in family law to publicly announce the imminent arrival of a new form of financial dispute resolution in family law: arbitration.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Case Comment: Kernott v Jones [2011] UKSC 53

In this appeal (from [2010] EWCA Civ 578) – their Lordships were charged with revisiting the decision in Stack v Dowden [2007] UKHL 17 with a view to clarifying its reasoning.

Full post: UKSC blog

And for tonight’s rant…

…I shall mostly be complaining about section 20 of the Children Act.

Full post: Pink Tape

Meeting “reasonable needs”: matrimonial v non-matrimonial assets

Readers of this blog will know that in any financial divorce settlement, the court must ensure that so far as possible, within the context of their finances, both parties’ “reasonable needs” must be met.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Z v Z: a prenuptial agreement in a post-Radmacher world…

In this case, it fell to Mr Justice Moor to adjudicate the merits of a French prenuptial agreement – a Separation des Biens – between two French citizens living in London.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

FOI about LIPs from MOJ is FFS and OMG then AAK

I recently received a response to my Freedom of Information Request to the Ministry of Justice concerning private family cases and litigants in person.

Full post: Pink Tape

Z v Z: Radmacher applied

Z v Z [2011] EWHC 2878 (Fam) is, I believe, the first reported pre-nuptial agreement case since Radmacher v Granatino.

Full post: Family Lore

Jones v Kernott: Ending the big debate?

One of the things I really don’t like about academics is the way they sit in their offices with their heads so full of doctrinal legal theory that they forget (if they ever knew) about the ways real people lead their lives.

Full post: Nearly Legal

Kernott v Jones in the Supreme Court: what you need to know

The long-awaited judgment in the case of Kernott v Jones is to be handed down by the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

BJ v MJ: Dealing with trusts on divorce

As its name suggests, BJ v MJ (Financial Remedy: Overseas Trusts) [2011] EWHC 2708 (Fam) deals with the issue of how trusts should be treated in the division of assets following divorce.

Full post: Family Lore

A few comments on the Family Justice Review

I know there have been and will be others far more learned than I who have/will comment on the Review, but I thought I would still give my views, for what they are worth.

Full post: Family Lore

The real reason why the Family Justice Review has failed

The long-awaited Family Justice Review, published today, presented a golden opportunity to review and recommend changes to existing law. Instead the Review panel, chaired by former senior civil servant David Norgrove and populated by bureaucrats and children experts, has failed families in crisis.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Government Consults on Clare’s Law

Theresa May this week launched a long awaited consultation on so called Clare’s Law, about which I have written before in the Guardian.

Full post: Pink Tape

Adoption stories from the Tories: Part 1

The Prime Minister wants you to think about babies. Specifically, babies that are not yours.

Full post: Beneath The Wig

What happens when an international custody battle looms?

Today I was sent this link to a newspaper story about the British television presenter Melissa Porter, who is reported to be facing an “international custody battle” over her only child.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Is Paternity Fraud really a “ticking time bomb”?

Apparently there are millions of fathers around the world who are, unwittingly, raising other men’s children as their own.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Bundled off

It’s a new dawn and Marilyn Stowe is feeling good about a future where digital files will replace bundles in court.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Legal aid and domestic violence

LAG has been working with the Women’s Institute, Rights of Women and other organisations to try and influence the government into rethinking its proposals on restricting legal aid to women and other victims of domestic violence.

Full post: LAG News Blog

A capital idea: Will courts now consider other assets in child maintenance cases?

In the recent High Court case of FG v MBW ([2011] EWHC 1729 (Fam) child maintenance payments were ordered to be made out of a non-resident father’s capital.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Narey Report Part II – Blueprint or Fairy Story?

In part I of this blog post I dealt primarily with the *cough* provenance of the report, and with rigour of the referencing and the source material that Martin Narey relied upon in his report.

Full post: Pink Tape

Brough v Law: Child maintenance assessment ceased to have effect only at the end of six months continuous cohabitation

In Brough v Law [2011] EWCA Civ 1183, decided today, the Court of Appeal considered the effect of the parents' reconciliation upon a child maintenance assessment, with reference to the provisions of the Child Support Act 1991 as operative in 1999.

Full post: Family Lore

Lottery, divorce and Mr Justice Mostyn’s lesson in the law

Mr Justice Mostyn is not only a very good judge, but also a brilliant academic. ... Last week his latest judgment, S v AG [2011] EWHC 2637 (Fam), was published.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

The Garrick Club does a disservice to all judges, male or female

Baroness Hale of Richmond, the only woman judge in the Supreme Court, is “dismayed” that so many judges belong to the Garrick Club.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Transparency... Coming to a "secret" court near you?

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Family Courts Information Pilot, a project trialled by the Ministry of Justice and some participating courts whereby written judgments were produced for certain types of cases.

Full post: The Small Places

S v AG: Dealing with a lottery prize on divorce

Lottery prizes have been much in the news this week, and today the High Court got in on the act, in the case S v AG (Financial Remedy: Lottery Prize) [2011] EWHC 2637 (Fam).

Full post: Family Lore

LiP Service

Litigants in Person are in the news. The penny seems to be dropping that they are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Full post: Pink Tape

Domicile and jurisdiction

As I mentioned in my post about habitual residence, this blog receives a number of enquiries from people living outside England, enquiring whether it is possible to divorce in England.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

H-K (Children): Habitual residence does not require permanence

At first blush the decision in H-K (Children) [2011] EWCA Civ 1100, handed down today, may seem a little contrary: a family come to England clearly intending only to stay for a year, and yet the Court of Appeal held that they were habitually resident in this country.

Full post: Family Lore

Mirror Orders to Help Prevent International Child Abduction

So-called "mirror" orders can be a useful tool in the arsenal of lawyers who handle cases concerning international child travel and the prevention of potential international child abduction. So, what exactly is a mirror order, and how can it be employed to protect your client’s parental interests?

Full post: International Family Law

G v A: The Folly of Continuous Litigation

Where to begin with this sorry tale? The most recent events have just been reported on Bailii, but to say that they will be the end of the story would, I fear, be somewhat optimistic.

Full post: Family Lore

How do you demonstrate habitual residence?

This blog receives many enquiries from people overseas who wish to know if they are able to present a divorce petition in England. The answer, quite simply, rests on whether or not there is jurisdiction to do so.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Will the truth ever out post-Imerman?

It has now been more than a year since the landmark Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Imerman v Tchenguiz. The decision, condemned by family lawyers at the time, has meant that litigants are no longer permitted to seize papers and documents left lying around, if it is deemed that such actions could breach a party’s “rights of confidence”.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

A matter of life or death: a minimally conscious patient

The case of W v M, S and a NHS Trust [2011] EWHC 2443 (Fam) 28th September 2011 concerned a lady, referred to as M, who is in a "minimally conscious state" which differs significantly from "vegetative state."

Full post: Law and Lawyers

Open letter to CAFCASS

Charles Place was suspended from CAFCASS in 2009 and allegations of misconduct made against him in connection with his voicing of concerns about the operation of CAFCASS were not upheld by the General Social Care Council.

Full post: Pink Tape

Re K (A Child): No jurisdiction to require father to vacate family home to faciliate contact

Re K (A Child) [2011] EWCA Civ 1075 (28 July 2011), reported today on Bailii, concerned a judge's attempt to establish contact between an eleven year-old child and her mother, who resides predominantly in Bulgaria.

Full post: Family Lore

Reebok, Cartier and the Bolton Law Society Family Law Conference

Another week, another football stadium! This time, it’s not Wembley but the Reebok Stadium: the home of Bolton Wanderers football team. It is also the venue for the Bolton Law Society Family Law Conference, which I chaired yesterday.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Lord Justice Wall lays down law on family court privacy

Sir Nicholas Wall, the President of the Family Division, has suspended a nine-month prison sentence for contempt of court given to Elizabeth Watson, a “private investigator” who published online sex abuse allegations which had been rejected by a series of judges.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Generation gap

The LPC equips young lawyers for the commercial world but leaves them without fully developed family law skills, says Marilyn Stowe as she despairs of her potential trainees.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Opening up the family courts

Last month the Ministry of Justice published a report of a pilot project that ran last year whereby participating family courts produced and published on Bailii written judgments of specified Children Act 1989 cases.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Government wrecks cohabitation reform in just 150 words

In 2005, the Government asked the Law Commission to report on possible changes to the law in relation to cohabitation.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

What Kind of Debate Should We Be Having About Domestic Violence?

I was prompted to write by the e petition ‘review of access laws for domestic abusers’. It says: ‘70% of cases in the family courts cite domestic abuse as a major concern yet only 1% are refused access. A review is required.’

Full post: Pink Tape

Child protection: can't afford to cut spending, can't afford not to

Record numbers of youngsters are being taken into care. As budgets tighten, how can councils rein in what some regard as unsustainable spending on children's social care?

Full post: Patrick Butler's cuts blog

Mansfield v Mansfield: Considering the origin of the family capital (i.e. as compensation for personal injuries)

"This appeal raises a single point of significance, and that is the degree to which the judge in ancillary relief proceedings should reflect the origin of the family assets in a substantial damages award on the settlement of a personal injuries claim".

Full post: Family Lore

A cautionary lesson: the Vicky Haigh and Liz Watson judgments

Sir Nicholas Wall has published his judgments in these cases involving Vicky Haigh, the woman John Hemming named in Parliament as a potential “secret prisoner” back in April after she spoke at a public meeting about the court case involving her child, and Elizabeth Watson, the woman who wrote e-mails and articles on the web in support of Ms. Haigh, and who made serious and false allegations against the father of the child.

Full post: Head of Legal

SK v WL: Valuing a post-separation contribution

SK v WL, despite being decided on the 26th February 2010, has just been reported on Bailii. It is an ancillary relief case, involving a husband's attempt to secure substantially more than 50% of the assets, on the basis of his post-separation contribution.

Full post: Family Lore

Book Review: THE RED BOOK (Family Court Practice 2011)

Many will already have their Red Book by now. But many will still be pondering it, increasingly conscious of the delicate balance between overheads and income.

Full post: Pink Tape

Announcing the Summer Competition winner: what next for the Chocolate Box Family?

Earlier this month I gave you, my readers, a fictional scenario. I described a family falling apart at the seams, and asked what advice you would give them.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

What’s going on in the “divorce arena”?

Family lawyers are often reticent to discuss what is really going on in their practices – so Grant Thornton’s Matrimonial Survey provides a welcome opportunity to find out.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

New Publication: Family Courts’ Guide to Media Access and Reporting

In July 2011, the Family Courts in conjunction with the Judicial College and the Society of Editors published a “Guide to Media Access and Reporting“, written by barristers, Adam Wolanski and Kate Wilson with a Preface by Sir Nicholas Wall and Bob Satchwell.

Full post: Inforrm's Blog

Bared Teeth – Grrrrr!

Contempt of Court are the “teeth” behind privacy rules in family proceedings. The court will bite, but only when necessary.

Full post: Pink Tape

A note on the Vicky Haigh case

The case of Vicky Haigh has made lurid headlines today. She is the woman publicly named and shamed by Lord Justice Wall, the President of the Family Division, after making “entirely false” and “scandalous” allegations about her former partner.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Book Review: Legal Aid Handbook

I’ll be honest, when I was reminded that I’d said I’d review the Legal Aid Handbook 2011/12, my heart sank.

Full post: Pink Tape

Unravelling legal fees: Is it all just a question of respect?

Legal fees can get many people hot under the collar. Never more so than in family law cases where the subject matter is personal and emotionally charged, and when a client can think of far more pleasant ways to spend his or her hard earned cash.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Maintenance law must be clarified

Spousal maintenance is the most contentious area in family finance. Ex-husbands bitterly resent paying it and ex-wives fight tooth and nail to keep it.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Only fools and clients

The government wouldn’t like us to start pulling our own teeth, so why encourage more litigants in person, asks Marilyn Stowe.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Book review: The Family Lawyer and the Court of Protection

In these wobbly and ever changing days, family lawyers in particular are re-appraising their skillset and breadth of practice.

Full post: Pink Tape

From Florence to the Court of Appeal

Marilyn looks at the cases of Yankah v Yankah and N v N.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Presidential Lapse

The President’s Interim Guidance in respect of CAFCASS will be allowed to lapse on it’s expiry on 30 September.

Full post: Pink Tape

External Relocation: An update.

A recent case has provided a useful update to external relocation cases, and I would like to draw upon it to explain how the court approaches cases regarding external relocation, when parents share the care of the child more or less equally.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Media Access & Reporting

Thanks to Adam Wagner at UKHR Blog for alerting me to today’s publication of “A joint publication of The President of the Family Division, the Judicial College and the Society of Editors” entitled “Media Access & Reporting”, which comes just as I was about to put finger to keyboard and begin to type a blog post containing a proposal in respect of that very topic.

Full post: Pink Tape

Russia Accedes to Hague Child Abduction Convention

On Thursday, 28 July 2011, the Russian Federation deposited its instrument of accession to the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Convention will enter into force for the Russian Federation on 1 October 2011.

Full post: International Family Law

Liberty: deprivation or restraint?

Little is known by the general public about the Court of Protection. It was created, from 1st October 2007, by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 s45.

Full post: Law and Lawyers

Hungary Violates the Hague Convention on Abduction

Having worked on international child custody matters concerning Hungary for several years, and having consulted with Hungarian counsel on such issues, it is unfortunately clear that Hungary does not comply with its obligation under the Hague Abduction Convention to promptly return children who are wrongfully taken to Hungary or retained in Hungary.

Full post: International Family Law

Doing Violence to Legal Aid

I’ve noticed another teensy glitch in the grand plans to save money through what has now become fondly known as “the LASPO car crash“.

Full post: Pink Tape

Family courts guide to Media Access & Reporting

The family courts in conjunction with the Judicial College and the Society of Editors have has published a Guide to Media Access and Reporting.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

N v N: The limits of appeal

Family Law Week has published two judgments in the case of N v N, which went before the Court of Appeal at the end of June.

Full post: Family Lore

How to negotiate: winning advice from Julian Hawkhead

I asked Julian to write a post about negotiation for this blog, after it struck me that his advice applies to plenty of real-life situations, not just divorce – and that perhaps readers, lawyers and non-lawyers alike, would find it useful.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Child protection inspections should put children at their heart

Inspections without notice and more observation of child protection work in practice are needed, Ofsted suggests.

Full post: Joe Public Blog

Child support is a matter for judges

This week the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission published its annual report and accounts for 2010/11.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

MIAMs and mediation: a beginner’s guide.

At Stowe Family Law Settlements, we have started to receive enquiries and questions from prospective clients about MIAMs – or, to give them their full name, Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings. MIAMs were only introduced in April 2011, but if you are considering divorce you will need to know what they are, who can provide them and if you need to have one before issuing divorce proceedings.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Government publishes response to consultation on the future of child maintenance

The Government has today published its response to the Green Paper consultation on Strengthening families, promoting parental responsibility: the future of child maintenance.

Full post: Family Lore

The Narey Report: A Blueprint for the nation’s lost children?

The Narey Report was published early last week (5 July). You may not have read it because, unusually for a report which purports to be signally important in the development of government policy on matters of such public interest and importance as the permanent severing of the child : parent relationship, it is behind a paywall and (C) News International Trading Limited and hailed as an “exclusive”.

Full post: Pink Tape

MK v. CK: Relocation application by a care sharer

MK v CK [2011] EWCA Civ 793, decided today, concerned a father's application for permission to appeal against a relocation order.

Full post: Family Lore

The Bar Pro Bono Unit & Family Cases

The Unit is a charity which exists to try to fill the increasing gulf between those individuals able to fund legal assistance on a private basis and those eligible for legal aid.

Full post: Pink Tape

The Perfect Divorce: can this husband do it?

The husband ... has played a real blinder. From my perspective, he has carefully and strategically planned his Perfect Divorce.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Work and Pensions Committee publishes report on child maintenance reforms

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has today published its report 'The Government's proposed child maintenance reforms'.

Full post: Family Lore

When one party refuses to settle, why not try this?

Yesterday, writing about Financial Dispute Resolution hearings, I described how frustrating it can be when an FDR hearing fails and a case proceeds to a Final Hearing.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

The FDR hearing and the First Appointment: what you need to know

When a financial application is made to the divorce courts, three court hearings are scheduled to take place: a First Appointment, an FDR hearing and a Final Hearing.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Case Comment: Re E [2011] UKSC 27

The Supreme Court’s decision in Re E can be seen in some ways as guiding interpretation of Article 13(b) of the Hague Convention ‘back on track’, following the decision of the ECHR last year in Neulinger and Shuruk v Switzerland [2011] 1 FLR 122.

Full post: UKSC blog

Book Review: Safe Routes to Child Support: A Resolution Guide

As this guide wisely points out, the law pertaining to the agency formerly known as the Child Support Agency is an area that many family lawyers instinctively shy away from.

Full post: Pink Tape

Orders for payment in respect of legal services

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill includes provision in Part 2 for 'Orders for payment in respect of legal services'. Exactly how will these work?

Full post: Family Lore

Lessons for Lawyers: NA v MA and D (A Child)

I spent much of yesterday looking over 24 of our files. I review all of the files at Stowe Family Law at least once a month, and it is tiring work.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

A young autistic man, Magna Carta, human rights and unlawful detention

The Court of Protection emphatically ruled last week that a local authority unlawfully detained a young man with autism and learning difficulties for almost an entire year, breaching his right to respect for family life as a result.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

D (A Child): Waiving professional privilege

"This is a care case with an interesting and unusual twist to it." So began the judgment of Lord Justice Ward in D (A Child) [2011] EWCA Civ 684.

Full post: Family Lore

Abduction and the child’s “best interests” – analysis

E (Children) FC [2011] UKSC 27 – This case shows some of the difficulties thrown up by the interesting tension between the primacy of children’s interests implied by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the controls on child abduction exerted by the 1980 Hague Convention.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Book Review: Family Mediation: Appropriate Dispute Resolution in a new family justice system

This review is a guest post written by Sarah Phillimore, at St John’s Chambers, Bristol.

Full post: Pink Tape

Children abducted by mother from father in Norway must be returned orders Court

The Supreme Court has ruled that two girls, aged seven and four respectively, be returned with their mother to Norway, after she had removed them without the father’s consent.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Book Review: Family Procedure Rules 2010 - A Guide to the New Law

The new Family Procedure Rules have, of course, provided substantial opportunities for legal publishers to supply the profession with guidance, and Family Procedure Rules 2010 is, as the sub-title states, Law Society Publishing's effort.

Full post: Family Lore

The Adoption Dilemma: the rights of parents v child’s interests

This ruling from Strasbourg sheds little light on how Article 8 can help adoption procedure, but it does illustrate how courts and agencies are having to square up to the deepening crisis in adoption rates.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Is shared parenting legislation really the way forward?

Would legislation for shared parenting time help children?

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

No Apologist

I’ve posted a lot of material on this blog lately which is critical of prominent individuals who themselves campaign for reform of the family justice system.

Full post: Pink Tape

Losing the Thread – Hemming and Mumsnet

Twitter recently alerted me to the existence of an interesting discussion thread on Mumsnet concerning adoption and care and John Hemming.

Full post: Pink Tape

Case Preview: Re E [2011] EWCA Civ 361

This week the Supreme Court has been hearing an appeal from the Court of Appeal in Re E (Children.)

Full post: UKSC blog

Whaley v Whaley: The proper question

Whaley v Whaley [2011] EWCA Civ 617 involved a husband's appeal against an ancillary relief order made by Mrs Justice Baron.

Full post: Family Lore

Care Proceedings & Learning Disabled Parents

The handbook is an interesting read and a useful guide to common aspect of care work which all too frequently is not given the attention or thought that it requires.

Full post: Pink Tape

Avoid the CSA: consider a contractual solution

All parents have a right to apply to the Child Support Agency for the assessment of child maintenance, but our clients often ask us about the interplay between the jurisdiction of the court and that of the CSA.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

What happens to an inheritance in the event of divorce?

When a spouse’s wealth has been inherited rather than earned, it cannot be regarded in any sense as truly “matrimonial”. So if the couple divorces, to what extent should one party share in the assets of the other?

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Commenting on Family Cases

Unfortunately, one of the most difficult areas to comment upon is that of family cases and there is clear tension between the media and the judiciary over this matter.

Full post: Law and Lawyers

When you make a will, can your wishes be overruled?

When you make a will, you patiently set out your intentions for your hard-earned money and goods. Do you ever stop to think that in the event of your death, your decisions and bequests could be overruled?

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Book Review: Financial Remedies under the Family Procedure Rules

Financial Remedies under the Family Procedure Rules, The @eGlance Guide is, as the subtitle suggests, by the same authors as the FLBA's At A Glance and the @eGlance software that I reviewed recently: Sir Peter Singer, Mr Justice Mostyn, Lewis Marks QC and Gavin Smith.

Full post: Family Lore

No quick fix for the child protection system

The Department of Education today published the final report of Professor Eileen Munro into the child protection system in England.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Judge: Telegraph reporting of family case was “unbalanced, inaccurate and just plain wrong”

The thought of being personally criticised in a reported judgment would make most lawyers break into a cold sweat. Some journalists wear such treatment as a badge of honour. But surely it is professionally embarrassing for a high court judge to label a journalist’s article as “unbalanced, inaccurate and just plain wrong“.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

New family law rules on mediation are too hasty

A month on from April 6 and I’m sure you all felt the disturbance in The Force as the new Family Procedure Rules came into effect.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Kernott v Jones: a case of square pegs and round holes

The case of Kernott v Jones is being hailed by some family lawyers as, potentially, the “new White”: a reference to the ground breaking case of White v White, heard by the House of Lords in 2000, which radically altered the landscape for divorce settlements.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Foster Carers as Witnesses?

I see from Community Care that Childrens’ Minister Tim Loughton thinks that judges placing “great store” on the views of Guardians is “an odd way of doing things”.

Full story: Pink Tape

So – Superinjunct me!

The hype about hyperinjunctions is just extraordinary at the moment. There is a vast amount of blogging and commentary on the topic, but I’d like to focus on the issue as it relates to family law.

Full post: Pink Tape

John Hemming, sub judice and the public interest: “no abuse of parliamentary procedure”?

Yesterday afternoon there was speculation that John Hemming MP was planning to “break a superinjunction” in the House under cover of Parliamentary privilege.

Full post: Head of Legal

Is publicity always the soul of justice?

Yesterday in parliament an MP used his parliamentary privilege to identify a woman who was threatened with prison for naming the council at the heart of a child protection row she was involved in, during a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Family Law and the Court of Protection.

Full post: The Small Places

Has Kate signed a royal prenup?

Come Friday, I’ll be watching the royal wedding on television along with everybody else. I’m looking forward to enjoying a glass of wine, checking out what the families are wearing and finally finding out who has created the bride’s wedding dress.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Re S (Children): The welfare of each child should be considered separately

Re S (Children) [2011] EWCA Civ 454 concerned the unusual circumstance of a father obtaining leave to remove two children from the jurisdiction, but the mother only appealing in respect of the younger child.

Full post: Family Lore

Internal Relocation: when a parent wishes to move to another part of the UK, what rules apply?

Laura Guillon looks at the relocation of children within the UK.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

External relocation: when a parent wishes to move overseas with a child, what rules apply?

If a relationship breaks down and there are children involved, what rules are applied to cases when one parent wishes to move with the children to another country?

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

International divorce: how easy is it to bring your child back to the UK?

Earlier this week, Marilyn Stowe shared the story of a mother who had moved to a faraway country with her husband, an overseas national, and her young family, only to find herself “stuck” there after the marriage broke down.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

The Expat’s Tale: “I’m a stuck mum”

On the blog this week, we are going to look at the fraught subject of relocation in more detail.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Software Review: @eGlance

@eGlance is a piece of software that has for some years been published by Class Legal, in association with the Family Law Bar Association.

Full post: Family Lore

Holy Mess

Britain’s Family Justice System Isn’t Working, writes Alisdair Palmer, Public Policy Editor of the Sunday Telegraph today.

Full post: Pink Tape

The CSA & child maintenance calculations: don’t pay twice!

Reader JamesB had some interesting questions for Stowe Family Law solicitor Rachel Baul about the CSA and changing the amount of child maintenance that he pays every month by an attachment to earnings order.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Family Procedure Rules 2010: Remarks & Resources

All this week I have been writing about the Family Procedure Rules 2010, examining some of the most important changes for practitioners and clients.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Family Procedure Rules 2010: Financial Orders

Today we are going to look at Part 9 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010: Applications for a Financial Remedy.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Family Justice Review Interim Report

The interim report of the FJR has been published today. This post represents very much an interim analysis of that interim report.

Full post: Pink Tape

W (Children): Performing the balancing exercise in relocation cases

W (Children) [2011] EWCA Civ 345 concerned a mother's appeal against the refusal of her application for permission to relocate to Australia with her children.

Full post: Family Lore

Family Procedure Rules 2010: How powerful is the court?

Today I’m looking at case management, in particular the way in which the rules provide a fascinating insight into how the court ticks, and the vast range of orders it can make in a family law case.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Family Procedure Rules 2010: Mediation & the Devil in the Detail

This week I am examining the Family Procedure Rules 2010, drawing out what I believe to be the most important changes for practitioners and clients. Today I would like to begin by looking at the Rules’ Overriding Objective.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

DE v AB: If a child is born, then the parents have obligations under law

DE v AB [2010] EWHC 3792 (Fam), just reported on Bailii, concerned a father's appeal against a Schedule 1 Children Act award.

Full post: Family Lore

Family Procedure Rules 2010: A Guide

The Family Procedure Rules 2010, which are effective from 6 April 2011, are an essential read for solicitors and clients throughout England and Wales because they herald major changes in family law’s procedures and practice.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Family Procedure Rules 2010 – Revised

I posted a couple of things on the blog as the rules were hot off the press, and when the PDs first began to emerge like crocuses on a lawn.

Full post: Pink Tape

Webinar: Testing for alcohol misuse using hair – an open discussion forum following the findings of the Moylan Judgment in Richmond v B

This is a recording of a webinar hosted by Trimega Laboratories on the 17th February.

Full post: Family Lore

John Hemming MP: abuse of power, and privilege

Last week John Hemming MP secured a debate in Westminster Hall about the role of Parliament in dealing with all grievances and the importance of freedom of communication between constituents and Members.

Full post: Head of Legal

N v F: Taking pre-marital wealth into account

N v F [2011] EWHC 586 (Fam) dealt with "the vexed question of how the court should, when exercising its powers to award ancillary relief, reflect, if at all, the property that the husband bought to the marriage back in 1993".

Full post: Family Lore

Why are divorcing couples so careless when it comes to Facebook?

I don’t mean to pry – it’s probably none of my business, anyway - but why do we have such an ambivalent attitude towards privacy?

Full post: Law Society Gazette News blog

New family procedure rules are a victory for plain English

Ask many people what is the worst thing about the legal profession and they may well say “the jargon”.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Re A (a child): Withdrawing care proceedings where the child has suffered significant harm

In Re A (a child) [2011] EWHC 517 (Fam) Mr Justice Hedley considered the unusual circumstance of an application by a local authority for permission to withdraw care proceedings, notwithstanding that the child had sustained injuries which amounted to significant harm.

Full post: Family Lore

What happens to pension sharing if a couple divorces overseas?

This post focuses upon pension sharing, couples with overseas links, three recent Court of Appeal judgements and Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Pickle, Don’t Preserve

Our eponymous hero Eric Pickles (Department for Communities and Local Government) has announced quite possibly the most wide sweeping and yet sketchy review of local authority social care and other duties.

Full post: Pink Tape

Will Government cuts put domestic violence victims at increased risk?

International Women’s Day, on 8 March, celebrated the political, social and economic achievements of women.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Re T (A Child: Murdered Parent): The approach of the court remains the same

The case Re T (A Child: Murdered Parent) [2011] EWHC B4 (Fam), reported on Bailii today, considered an issue that does not seem to have been considered in any previously reported case: an application for a contact order by a father who had been convicted of the manslaughter of the mother.

Full post: Family Lore

Balancing transparency with ‘secrecy’ in the Court of Protection

There probably aren’t many people who want to know what ‘goes on’ in the Court of Protection more than me; it’s what I spend much of my time trying to fathom.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Brought To Booker

I don’t read the Telegraph, but it has become increasingly difficult to avoid being confronted with the journalism of Christopher Booker, who it seems is engaged in a long standing campaign against the national child snatching scandal represented by our care system.

Full post: Pink Tape

The ‘unisex pensioner’: how changes to European law will affect pensions and divorce

European law can be a strange thing. There is the often quoted example of the required size and shape of bananas, or the Brussels dictat that a Cornish pasty must be in the traditional ‘D’ shape to be truly considered Cornish.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Are we truly free?

In an important recent case, the Court of Appeal has found that there was no deprivation of liberty, within the meaning of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, when two people with moderate to severe learning difficulties are cared for in a foster home and a specialist home for adolescents respectively.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Analysis: the place of religion in foster care decisions

Religious views opposing homosexuality are a legitimate fostering concern and the local authority’s approach to this question did not constitute religious discrimination.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Experts assessments & observations of contact: haggling with the LSC

I posted recently about a local issue where the LSC are apparently refusing to fund any element of an expert assessment which involves an observation of contact.

Full post: Family Law Week blog

“Wrong time to force mediation on couples set for divorce”

Back in 1996 I was trained as one of the first specialist family law mediators in the UK.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

A GIFT from the MoJ

I was charmed to receive in my inbox today an invitation to help The Man promote the new policy of compulsory thinking-about-mediation.

Full post: Pink Tape

Family justice system is failing vulnerable children in care

A report published this week revealed that half of the children in care do not trust the court to make the right decision about their lives.

Full post: Law Society Gazette News Blog

Consultation Response – P.S. To Ken Clarke

A point I wish I’d made in my consultation response in respect of the rise of the litigant in person and the impact on access to justice:

Full post: Pink Tape

O (Children): Dealing with children who have become settled in a new country

The case O (Children) [2011] EWCA Civ 128 concerned an appeal against an order for the return of children under the Hague Convention.

Full post: Family Lore

Practice Directions to the New Family Procedure Rules 2010 – Mediation PD

I posted recently about the Practice Directions to the new Family Procedure Rules which come into force on 6 April. Practice Direction 3A Pre-Application Protocol for Mediation Information and Assessment has now been published along with a guidance note and Compliance Form FM1.

Full post: Pink Tape

Another Valentine's Day Massacre

It is somewhat ironic that the consultation period set by the Government in relation to its plans to slash the Legal Aid budget closes on Valentine's Day, especially when it is the person encountering matrimonial difficulties who is potentially going to be hit hardest by the proposals.

Full post: Judith's Divorce Blog

Richardson v Richardson: Cases in which a Barder event can be successfully argued are extremely rare

In Richardson v Richardson [2011] EWCA Civ 79, decided today, the husband appealed against a final ancillary relief order on the basis of subsequent events.

Full post: Family Lore

M v M: Court orders that husband should not be heard in relation to wife's application for interim maintenance

The case of M v M [2010] EWHC 2817 (Fam) (for some reason also reported with the citation [2011] EWHC 3574) involved a successful Hadkinson application on behalf of the wife.

Full post: Family Lore

When divorce costs spiral, where does the responsibility lie?

It was with some personal discomfort that I read the quotation from a recent article of mine in Family Law, as cited by Lord Justice Wilson in the appeal before the Court of Appeal of Jones v Jones.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Cohabitation rights: three cheers for Lord Justice Wall!

Lord Justice Wall, the President of the Family Division, has said that cohabiting couples who split up should have legal rights to a possible share of property and money.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Why would a “very rich woman” fight for a larger divorce settlement?

A friend of mine, barrister Ashley Murray of Oriel Chambers in Liverpool, was recently quoted by Lord Justice Wilson in a Court of Appeal judgement in the case of Jones v Jones.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Jones v Jones: Valuing a company at the date of marriage

A quick summary of Jones v Jones [2011] EWCA Civ 41.

Full post: Family Lore

The Hypothetical Third Magistrate

Just a little brain teaser someone set for me this week: what if a bench of two magistrates hearing a contested application for an interim care order (a third being unavailable) cannot agree?

Full post: Pink Tape

Special Guardianship Allowances

I will do a complete round up on this topic soon but a couple of preliminary thoughts.

Full post: Family Law Week blog

LSC & contact: refusal to fund experts

I am being told that the Liverpool office of the LSC is declining to meet the costs of any assessment which incorporates an observation of contact.

Full post: Family Law Week blog

Legal aid cuts - what are the alternatives?

In its impact assessment on the legal aid green paper, the government notes that people who no longer receive legal aid may tackle disputes differently or - as seems more likely in many situations - may decide not to tackle an issue at all.

Full post: Law Society Gazette News Blog

Child maintenance reform: A summary of the main proposals

I've been looking at the DWP Green Paper Strengthening families, promoting parental responsibility: the future of child maintenance, and thought I would set out a summary of the main proposals.

Full post: Family Lore

Sara’s Story: prenups and the “unhappily unmarried”

Last week a commenter called Sara left a lengthy response on a post about prenuptial agreements, for which I was very grateful. I read it through several times and instead of replying to her in the comments, I decided to write a post about the points she raised.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Practice Directions to the Family Procedure Rules 2010 – The abridged version

Ask and ye shall receive. And lo! I have receivethed no less than 27 Practice Directions to supplement the Family Procedure Rules 2010, all smiling at me from my inbox this morning, and all apparently all made by the President and approved on behalf of the Lord (Chancellor) Himself.

Full post: Pink Tape

CW v NT & Anor: Surrogate mother allowed to keep her child

The case CW v NT & Anor [2011] EWHC 33 (Fam) has caused a number of headlines but, at its heart, is a simple decision based primarily upon the capacity of the parties to meet the child's needs.

Full post: Family Lore

Tainted Love

Here’s hoping this year’s fresh Family Proceedings Rules sort out this maddening self-help situation, says Marilyn Stowe.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

What Prenuptial Agreements mean for The First Wives Club

This weekend I watched one of my favourite films – again. The First Wives Club is terrific: it follows three wives through the full range of emotions that are so familiar to my clients, when all three are dumped by their husbands for younger women.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

“Prenups and the law are an uneasy marriage”

OVER the past few years, prospective brides, grooms and their parents have come to see us in increasing numbers to ask about prenuptial agreements.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Divorce is Cheap

The Observer runs a piece today on the false economy that cut-price online divorce services may represent.

Full post: Pink Tape

Justice with Courage: doing the legal laundry

Marilyn Stowe looks back on a busy week, including the Law Commission consultation paper on marital agreements and the government's proposals regarding child support.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Prenuptial Agreements and the Law Commission: a royal conundrum

The arguments for and against legalising prenups in this country have been done to death and I don’t intend to rehearse them all over again.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Defence Minister Defends Legal Aid Cut & Paste

Lucy Reed writes to her MP about the proposed reforms of Legal Aid.

Full post: Pink Tape

Family Procedure Rules 2010 – The Very Abridged Version

The Family Procedure Rules 2010 – not to be confused with the Family ProceedINGS Rules 1991 (as amended) – are now available for your delectation. I don’t know many lawyers who would relish the prospect of poring over almost 300 pages of SI, so I’ve done it for you.

Full post: Pink Tape

Policy to prevent forced marriages “arbitrary and disruptive”, says Court of Appeal

A key part of the government’s strategy to combat forced marriages, preventing people under the age of 21 from entering the country to marry, has been heavily criticised by the Court of Appeal.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

News Brief: The Family Procedure Rules 2010

A brief summary of the new Family Procedure Rules, which will 'provide a new code of procedure for family proceedings in the High Court, county courts and magistrates’ courts'.

Full post: Family Lore