Cross Examination of Complainants – why on earth is it happening?

There has been a lot of coverage of this issue in the media in the last couple of weeks.

Full post: Pink Tape

Guardian report that a ‘radical trial’ of family court hearings in public is about to be announced

“Certain family court hearings to take place in public in radical trial” claimed the Guardian headline on the night before Christmas Eve.

Full post: The Transparency Project

‘England’s Stolen Children’ – Another missed opportunity.

This is a post divided into two parts. The first part is a summary of my analysis of the French documentary ‘England’s Stolen Children’ which first aired in France in November 2016. The second part is my attempt to transcribe it.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Ex-MP says ‘open justice’ rules ‘must be followed to the letter’

The Press Association have covered a case concerning the potential committal to prison of a Polish woman involved in care proceedings.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Cloak and dagger threshold

Re C a child 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Enforcement of family financial orders

Professor Nick Hopkins, Law Commissioner for the Property, Family and Trust law and Maxwell Myers, research assistant in the Property, Family and Trust law team, discuss the recommendations for reform of the law of the enforcement of family financial orders in the Law Commission’s report.

Full post: Family Law Blog

The GB the BD and the very very ugly

Mr Justice Cobb’s judgment in the case of GD & BD (Children) (Rev 1) [2016] EWHC 3312 (Fam) (20 December 2016) was published this week.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Girl’s rape claim upheld in Leeds despite prior no-trial decision

We were interested in the fact that the report, which is accurate insofar as it goes, refers to “detail of the case emerg[ing] in a ruling published by Hayden on a legal website.”

Full post: The Transparency Project

Well, up against quite a lot of competition, here is the worst case of the year (breach of fair trail, HRA damages, scandal)+

GD and BD (Children) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Law Commission issues report on enforcement of family financial orders

The Law Commission has issued a report recommending wide-ranging reform of the law of enforcement of family financial orders with the aim of making this area of law more effective, efficient and accessible, and to strike a fairer balance between the interests of both parties.

Full post: Family Law Blog

The Inquest into Ellie Butler’s death

It is reported that the Senior Coroner responsible for the inquest into the death of Ellie Butler, first opened in November 2013 shortly after Ellie’s death, has decided to reopen the inquiry and potentially to call the High Court Judge who authorised her return to the care of her parents, as a witness.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Adoption law illustrated by way of passive-aggressive post-it notes on a student fridge

Andrew Pack explains adoption law in his own unique way.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Re W (Adoption: Contact) and the importance of basic steps to trace wider family in the early stages, for a childs chances of growing up within her birth family

This was the re hearing of a decision about whether a (by then) 2 and a half year old girl who had lived with potential adopters for 2 years should be adopted or moved to grandparents she didn’t know, but who were caring successfully for her younger brother and who hadn’t known she existed, through no fault of their own.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Why the Court of Appeal released a grandmother imprisoned for disobeying orders of the Court of Protection

Some time ago we wrote about the case of Mrs Kirk, a woman imprisoned for breaking orders made in the Court of Protection.

Full post: The Transparency Project

The Re W rehearing (placement with grandparents versus adoption order)

Re W (Adoption: Contact), [2016] EWHC 3118.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Family Procedure Rule Committee—an update

Following an open meeting of the Family Procedure Rule Committee (FPRC) on 5 December 2016, the FPRC has provided an update on the progress of key family law developments including online divorce reforms, separating divorce proceedings and financial remedy proceedings, vulnerable witnesses and the work of the Financial Remedies Working Group.

Full post: Family Law Blog

“The father is to have no contact while the investigation is ongoing”

Re V (A child) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Court of Protection – Paul Briggs case on withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment

This week the Court of Protection, sitting in Manchester, has been hearing a case about a policeman, Paul Briggs, whose wife, Lindsey Briggs has applied to the court for withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment (the feeding tube) that she no longer believes is in her husband’s best interests.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Adoption: “Nothing else will do” and the impact of decisions much earlier in the child protection process about mental health assessments and provision of therapy

Gloucestershire County Council v M & Ors is a recently published case where a family court judge at circuit judge level applied routine, established law to the particular circumstances of a 9 month old baby boy and his vulnerable young mother.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Rehearing after order set aside for non-disclosure

Amy Royce-Greensill analyses a case involving non-disclosure, where the High Court considered the approach it should take when rehearing a financial claim following the final order being set aside.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Making the right choices

Guest bloggers Suzanne Kingston, Delphine Eskenazi and Mark Haranzo highlight the issues faced by international families on relationship breakdown.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Legal aid, Court of Protection and ‘contrivance’

This is a Court of Protection case, and it is a Charles J judgment, which means that although it is important, it is complicated and challenging.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Is the Court of Protection really facing “rocketing” financial abuse by attorneys and deputies?

A recent article in the Daily Telegraph claimed that “Record numbers of people trusted to look after the finances of those lacking the mental capacity to do so are being struck off by the authorities.”

Full post: The Transparency Project

Care order or Supervision Order?

A Judgment of HHJ Bellamy in Leicester has been published recently, which looks at the crucial differences between placing a child at home under a care order versus placing a child at home under a supervision order.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Knock knock knocking on Judges’ doors

Re X (a child) no 2 (private surrogacy) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Could do better – a self-fulfilling prophecy about parental fear

Discussing an article in The Guardian regarding the Re J case.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Judge making findings about a witness – fair trial

Re W (A Child), [2016] EWCA Civ 1140 (17 November 2016).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

‘Bias’ and the judge’s role

The question of whether or not Lord Neuberger should sit in the Supreme Court on the appeal from the EU withdrawal case has recently arisen.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Cryogenics and the Courts

Re JS (Disposal of Body) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Hair Strand Testing – some interesting information

"There is an evaluative element to hair strand testing, particularly in cases of suspected excessive alcohol use, and it is important to be aware on what the science is and is not capable of telling us and how probative an apparently positive result really is."

Full post: Pink Tape

Is There A Human Right To Cryogenically Freeze Your Body?

The mother of a dying girl has been given the right to cryogenically freeze her daughter’s body after her death, in the hope that she will one day be resurrected and cured. What are the human rights implications?

Full post: RightsInfo

English councils confirm they set targets for the number of children to be adopted

This collaborative post, based on Alice Twaite’s research, is Part Two of our work on adoption targets.

Full post: The Transparency Project

What About Henry? An interesting discussion about how we deal with domestic abuse

This week The Transparency Project were invited to attend an event at Portcullis House hosted by Only Dads and Only Mums, with Jess Phillips MP. Our Lucy Reed went along…

Full post: The Transparency Project

The Telegraph and Daily Mail seem to just copy The Suns family law reporting mistakes

The media reporting of the case X, Y and Z (Disclosure to the Security Service).

Full post: The Transparency Project

When I’m sixty-four (bundles)

Re A and B (Children) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

A tottering edifice indeed…

Christopher Booker, writing in the Sunday Telegraph last week, is critical of former District Judge Crichton (a retired family court Judge), for giving a selective account of the work of family courts.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Enemies of Transparency: Newspaper Stories & The Court of Protection

This is a guest post written by Barbara Rich. Barbara is a barrister and mediator specialising in inheritance and trusts and Court of Protection property and affairs cases.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Contempt: administration of justice, and private lives

The law of contempt applies in all fields of court proceedings: civil and criminal. In this article it comes as civil contempt; criminal contempt: holding the system up to ‘obloquy’; and publication of information in relation to private proceedings.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Is it appropriate to admit covert recordings of professionals or others within family proceedings?

Earlier in 2016, The Transparency Project, along with the Association of Lawyers for Children and others, were invited by His Honour Judge Bellamy (Designated Family Judge for Leicester) to make written submissions to the Family Court regarding the question of covert recording.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Access to information should not be an after-thought in plans for ‘transforming our justice system’

On 15th September 2016 the Ministry of Justice opened its consultation into “Transforming Our Justice System”.

Full post: The Transparency Project

The problems surrounding shared care and child support

Liz Cowell, principal lawyer with Slater and Gordon, examines JH v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and argues that the issue of shared care is one of the most difficult areas left within the child maintenance remit.

Full post: Family Law Blog

A “Gay parents row” – OR who can adopt and when?

There has been coverage in The Times and The Telegraph this week about a husband and wife who wish to adopt their foster children but have been told they can’t, because of their views about gay adoption.

Full post: The Transparency Project

The Lord Chief Justice and a failing family law system

The Lord Chief Justice has just laid his 2016 report before Parliament.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Enemies of the truth

Lucy Reed examines the latest outpouring from the Daily Mail.

Full post: Pink Tape

Re X (A Child): withdrawal of care order application

In Re X (A Child) (No 3) Sir James Munby P was faced with a possible challenge by parents to a care and consequent adoption order.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

You can’t handle (51% of) the Truth!

A few weeks back I opined that In the matter of X (a child) (No 3) was going to be the defining case of the last 25 years of family law. It looks like I was right – but not for the reasons I had hoped.

Full post: The Transparency Project

The X Files (Or: the Truth is Out There — but can a civil court rehearing really find it?)

In Re X (No 3) the President decided to continue, despite the withdrawal of the birth parents concerned, a full re-hearing of the original allegations made in care proceedings in 2013 involving an injury to a child who was removed from the birth parents and adopted in 2015.

Full post: The Transparency Project

High Court appeals to be heard in open court?

The press reported this week that an appeal involving Essex County Council was the first to be routed through the High Court, under new rules that have diverted some appeals from the Court of Appeal to High Court judges as a result of the Court of Appeal having an unmanageable workload.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Mediators versus lawyers?

It’s always sad when mediators and lawyers get all “adversarial” about their respective claim to being the best at helping families in conflict. The truth is neither has the monopoly.

Full post: Pink Tape

Ellie Butler case debated in House of Lords

"We’re really concerned about the fact that peers appear to be relying in some instances on inaccurate versions of events whirling around in the public domain which are inconsistent with the core documents in the case, and which do not bear proper analysis or scrutiny."

Full post: The Transparency Project

Humanrights and children’s rights: interference with publicity

Publicity: ‘interplay’ of public interests in court proceedings.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Like Redbridge under troubled water (a Local Authority takes a kicking case)

London Borough of Redbridge v A B and E (Failure to comply with directions) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Private family hearings: a way through the ‘mess’

In Appleton & Anor v News Group Newspapers Ltd & Anor Mostyn J said that to describe the law about the ability of the press to attend family proceedings as ‘a mess would be a serious understatement’.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Transparency: the Perfect Storm

The recent decisions of Hayden J concerning a 7 year old boy, whose mother insisted he wished to be raised as a girl, set out a wide variety of the issues that concern the Transparency Project and which have provoked strong emotion for many readers.

Full story: The Transparency Project

If your ex takes your child to the other end of the country should the court treat it as abduction?

The Court of Appeal has clarified the question of how courts should deal with cases where one parent takes a child to live in a distant part of the country without the agreement of the other.

Full post: The Transparency Project

The terrifying tale of how Britain’s most secret court imprisoned a grandmother (AKA Court enforces its own orders and publishes judgment for the world to see)

Examining the truth behind a newspaper headline.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Advertising children for adoptive parents in the national press

There have been four adverts for adoptive parents for children in the Mirror this week with another due tomorrow for  ‘National Adoption Week’.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Human rights: availability of special measures for vulnerable witnesses and children

What criminal proceedings procedures offer the family courts to help vulnerable witnesses?

Full post: dbfamilylaw

We Believe – doing violence to due process

"I am really concerned about the conversations we are having (and not having) in public about domestic abuse and about violence towards intimate partners." Says Lucy Reed.

Full post: Pink Tape

APPG Report on DV (finally)

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence published a Briefing Paper in April. Finally, I’ve had a chance to deal with it.

Full post: Pink Tape

Yet another fertility clinic paperwork error case

Jefferies v BMI Healthcare Ltd (Human Fertilisation And Embryology) [2016] EWHC 2493 (Fam) (12 October 2016).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Nepal-ing behaviour (I’m sorry, I’ll just get my coat)

Re QS v RS & Anor 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Release of court documents to the security services in children proceedings

In X, Y and Z (Disclosure to the Security Service) McDonald J dealt with an application by the Metropolitan Police to release a judgment and mother’s statement in unconcluded care proceedings to the security services.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Disclosure to the security services

X, Y and Z (Disclosure to the Security Service) [2016].

Full post: suesspiciousminds

LIP Service

Important High Court authority that states that where a case involves both a Litigant in Person AND a lawyer, the lawyer has to ensure that any case management documents and case law is provided to the litigant in person at least THREE WORKING DAYS before a contested hearing.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Thoughts for a fair family court

Fairness cannot be sacrificed by family courts on the altar of pressure of time, says david Burrows.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

FLBA Chair calls for more resources for family justice system

Philip Marshall QC, chair of the Family Law Bar Association has made some forceful remarks in his latest email to FLBA members, which I think merit emphasis.

Full post: Pink Tape

Litigants in person – getting court documents well before the hearing begins

Conducting your own case as a litigant in person (LiP) is hard enough as it is, without being given a massive bundle of the other side’s documents and law reports at the door of the court, just as the hearing is about to begin.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Lessons from the Ellie Butler case

Lessons from the Ellie Butler case October 3rd London Resolution.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Throwing in my Transparency Towel

Sarah Phillimore gives her thoughts on the Alcott judgment regarding the issue of publicity.

Full post: The Transparency Project

‘Mum’s torment as monster who raped her demands access to child he fathered’: Some pointers on how applications for contact involving domestic violence should be dealt with

At the weekend the Daily Mirror reported the torment of a victim of serial rape and domestic violence, at her former partners’ application (from prison) to the family court for contact with their child and the judge’s decision to permit him to send letters.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Changes to FPR 2010 practice directions and forms

Amendments to the practice directions supplementing the Family Procedure Rules 2010, SI 2010/2955 (FPR 2010) come into force on 3 October 2016.

Full post: Family Law Blog

IMPRESS Consultation on Draft Standards Code – The response of The Transparency Project

In view of our mission to promote the fair and accurate reporting of legal issues, we felt the Transparency Project ought to respond to the consultation by IMPRESS on its draft standards code for the press.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Crisis in infinite Courts

The President has published his 15th View from the President’s Chambers, and it is a doozy.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Really serious and imminent

Lucy Reed looks at the 15th View from the President’s Chambers: care cases: the looming crisis.

Full post: Pink Tape

Hear the angsty screams of the family lawyers…

I sort of feel obligated to vent on behalf of the family law community about The Archers.

Full post: Pink Tape

Giving a clear and simple judgment: how hard can it be?

Newspaper reports of a judgment released this week have concentrated on the use, by the judge, of an emoji – probably a first in the Senior Courts. But the judgment is far more interesting for the way the judge, Mr Justice Peter Jackson, has written it so that the children caught up in a family case will be able to read and understand it – without any loss of legal clarity and efficacy.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Jackson’s Thriller

Mr Justice Peter Jackson has broken twitter. Not with his bootlylicious bottom, but with his judgment in the case of Lancashire County Council v M & Ors [2016] EWFC 9 (04 February 2016), just published.

Full post: Pink Tape

Revoking adoption and IVF mistakes (again)

Case O (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008) [2016] EWHC 2273 (Fam) (13 September 2016).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Woman kept in a cage

Al Jeffery v Al Jeffery (Vulnerable Adult : British Citizen) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Proportionate costs in a family case: £33,813 reduced to £3,737.50

In K -v- K [2016] EWHC 2002 (Fam) Mr Justice Macdonald reduced the costs of a successful party to an appeal in a family case.

Full post: Civil Litigation Brief

See-Saw

B (A Minor : Habitual Residence) [2016] EWHC 2174 (Fam).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

The View from the Daily Mail: Squandering and other lost opportunities

This is a post by Sarah Phillimore and represents her views about the Daily Mail which she hopes, but cannot assume, are shared by other members of the Transparency Project.

Full post: The Transparency Project

McKenzie Friends: responses to the consultation

In February 2016, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and the Judicial Executive Board issued a consultation entitled “Reforming the courts’ approach to McKenzie Friends”.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Tape recording of an expert (a SHOCKING case)

Re F (A Minor) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Law for social workers (part 3)

This time I’m going to deal with Placement Orders and Adoption Orders.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

A postcard from the President…

CAFCASS and The President slip out three distinct reform bombshells, all with a common purpose : managing the ever rising number of care applications in the context of the ever diminishing pot of funds.

Full post: Pink Tape

Law for social workers (part 2)

In this part, I’ll tell you the key tests and principles from the Acts and case law, for each sort of order.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Law for social workers (Part 1)

This piece is aimed at social workers, but it isn’t exclusively for them.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

A Christian Concern

The judgment following the rehearing in the case of M (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 61 (02 February 2016) has now been published, see Re M  (No 2) [2016] EWHC 1658 (Fam) (19 May 2016), a judgment of Newton J.

Full post: Pink Tape

Case Comment: In the matter of B (A child) [2016] UKSC 4

In the first international child abduction case involving same-gender parents, the Supreme Court has decided that the English court still has jurisdiction to make decisions about the welfare of a child (B) who was taken to live in Pakistan by her biological mother.

Full post: UK Supreme Court Blog

14th View from the President’s Chambers: Care cases: Settlement conferences and the ‘tandem’ model

The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has issued his 14th ‘View’ dealing with care cases, and setting out two new initiatives: settlement conferences and the ‘tandem model’.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Human Rights Act Claims in Family Proceedings – the costs catch 22 resolved?

This case just published : Re BB (A Child) [2016] EWFC B53 (26 June 2016), HHJ Murfitt.

Full post: Pink Tape

Prison threat for “gran jailed over a hug”

Lucy Reed examines the accuracy of a story in the Daily Mail regarding the Kathleen Danby case.

Full post: The Transparency Project

CA orders release of court judgment on Ellie Butler’s death

This is the most recent in the long series of legal steps touching on the violent career of Ben Butler, recently convicted of the murder of his daughter, Ellie.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Fathers’ rights: The view from Jeremy Corbyn’s rooftop

What exactly are the protesters seeking?

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Evidence of the intentions of cohabitants

Graeme Fraser explains how the decision in Ely v Robson shows that, in the absence of family law based cohabitation statutory remedies, the court will continue to scrutinise the available evidence to demonstrate the parties’ intentions when it comes to agreements between cohabitants.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Two million things wrong with this headline…

Lucy Reed dissects a headline in the Daily Mail regarding the legal aid bill in the Ellie Butler case.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Twister

"I feel like the game of judicial Twister that is the line of authorities about delayed parental order applications is going to give someone a serious strain before long" says Lucy Reed.

Full post: Pink Tape

Pensions on divorce for litigants in person

This short note is written for those who would like to instruct a solicitor but cannot afford to do so and find themselves bewildered by the issue of pensions and how that fits into a divorce settlement.

Full post: Pink Tape

Absconding and secure accommodation

Rw W (A Child) (2016).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

The “secret” transparency pilot

Although it was announced quite openly, and written about here on this blog, we suspect that the Court of Protection’s transparency pilot scheme has not actually resulted in any attendance of cases by members of the public unconnected with a case.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Ellie Butler – the missing judgment about her sibling

Today an appeal judgment from the Court of Appeal was published, explaining why a primary judgment of Mrs Justice King from 2014 should now be published.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Re W – no presumption for a child to be brought up by a member of the natural family

Re W (A child) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

The Chair of the Family Law Bar Association on Transparency

Our chair Lucy Reed recently interviewed Philip Marshall QC, Chair of the Family Law Bar Association, for Counsel Magazine.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Jihadi Toddler

Re Y (A child : Care Proceedings :Fact finding) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

The state of transparency: what happens when anonymisation safeguards fail?

The Transparency Project has been concerned for some time about judgments from family cases being published where the anonymisation was incomplete or non-existent.

Full post: The Transparency Project

A civil *style* authority

There is a really useful 2014 Court of Appeal judgment which I’ve come across lately which has some useful cross over applicability to appeals on fact in family cases.

Full post: Pink Tape

“Fell far short of the promise foreshadowed in her CV” (radicalisation, Tower Hamlets)

This is the Hayden J judgment in the Tower Hamlets case involving the girl who had tried to go to Syria having been exposed to extremist videos and propaganda of the most alarming kind.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

The Hungarian Games

A peculiar case where the parents were agreeing to adopt their child and the fight was about whether that would be in the UK or Hungary.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Fundamental principles: children being heard in family proceedings

David Burrows considers the issue of children being heard in family proceedings.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Closed material procedures in children proceedings

David Burrows considers closed material procedures in the context of children proceedings.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Transparency versus Confidentiality: the Re X judgment

What do we do when information is already in the public domain? And what are the risks to the child if an adult party is identified?

Full post: The Transparency Project

Judgment on Reporting Restriction on the Butler/Gray case

London Borough of Sutton v Gray and Others 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Variation of child maintenance on the grounds of assets

The child support maintenance case of SM v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions shows that the infinite variety of family arrangements will always create fresh litigation despite the efforts of legislators to provide a comprehensive code.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Fertility regulator wrongfully denied consent for mother’s surrogacy

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a 60 year old woman may use her daughter’s frozen eggs to give birth to her own grandchild.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Surrogacy and exploitation and Facebook

Z (Surrogacy agreements : Child Arrangement Orders) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Using the Child Maintenance Service and the courts

Marilyn Stowe considers how to advise a client with a child whose father is a high earner.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Ellie Butler – drawing together some strands and discussion

Several family lawyers have been discussing this case on Twitter, and it was suggested to us that it might be helpful to draw together a document with some important questions and our answers.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Court can EXTEND a Supervision Order after the original has run out

A Local Authority v D and Others 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Application to dismiss a Guardian for bias

QS v RS & Another 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

“Neglected children can stay with travellers in the spirit of diversity” [mis] reports the Daily Mail

Today’s Daily Mail article suggesting Mr Justice Mostyn has left neglected traveller children in danger at home, in the face of social workers seeking their removal – just to be tolerant towards different communities.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Ellie Butler murder – some of the things the press haven’t told you

This is not intended to be an overview of what happened, what went wrong or what I think about the Ellie Butler murder. This is just me sharing some information that the media have neglected, for whatever reason, to foreground or include in their narrative of this case.

Full post: Pink Tape

What price transparency?

Lucy Reed explains what has, until now, prevented her blogging about the Ellie Butler case.

Full post: Pink Tape

Very tangled web and a very sad situation

Re E (Children -Fact Finding) [2015] EWFC B217 (28 April 2015).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Adopting more children from care will save £310m, says government – or does it?

Community Care tweeted this week that “Adopting more children from care will save £310m, says government“, linking to the article of the same name.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Can an adoption order be undone?

An adoption order made by a court in England and Wales is normally irreversible, once the time limits for appeal have passed. This premise will be under scrutiny in October, when a re-hearing of an earlier fact-finding family court decision is scheduled.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Inordinate delay in issuing proceedings (£45K damages)

Re X, Y and Z  (Damages: Inordinate Delay in issuing proceedings) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Pre-flight checklist

I found quite a lot of Re F (Children) 2016 to be fairly stodgy porridge, eaten in the Scottish style with salt rather than sugar.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Victory on secret courts?

In early 2014 the Daily Mail ran with the headline “At last! Victory on secret courts: Rulings in family cases to be made public after Mail campaign”.

Full post: Pink Tape

Moving forward

Lisa Fabian Lustigman and Jemma Thomas of Withers LLP consider potential ways forward to address parental alienation.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Child questioned on FORTY FOUR occasions about alleged abuse by father

AS v TH (False Allegations of Abuse) [2016] EWHC 532 (Fam) (11 March 2016).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Data protection and the family law conspiracy

We recently reported on the contentious case of a father who had placed listening devices on his daughter’s clothing to record conversations with social workers.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

FGM and future risk

Buckinghamshire County Council v MA and Another 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Yet more IVF misery due to clinic mistakes with paperwork

Re N 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Ticking ALL the boxes

This particular decision is Re J 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Sick note

What happens when a party to Court proceedings is too ill to participate in a key hearing, perhaps even the final hearing, and seeks an adjournment.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

The Ireland Report and the Fitness to Practise Panel in respect of Professor Ireland

In 2012, the “Ireland Report” was published. It was highly critical of the standards of psychological reports prepared for the family courts, something that there had been rumbling concerns about for years.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Cheshire Cat, Cheshire Act

Following the Supreme Court decision in Cheshire West, which greatly expanded the definition of restriction of liberty to the point where the system has almost entirely broken down due to the huge increase in volume, the Law Commission have published an interim report on Deprivation of Liberty.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

A child found to be lying in criminal court, should she give evidence in family Court?

Kent CC v D and Others  (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) 2015.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Flawed assessment of family members

Most of the case of Birmingham City Council v LC 2016  is fact specific, but there are two matters of broader interest.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Snug as a bug in a rug

Cumbria County Council v M and Others 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Just for the record…

It is an astonishingly poor judgment to plant a bug in the clothes of one’s own child.

Full post: Pink Tape

Father should be allowed to apply for parental responsibility following surrogacy

Z (A Child) (No 2) [2016] EWHC 1191 (Fam) 20 May 2016.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Section 20 – keys to open the door, keys to hold the door

This has been nibbling at me for a while, and there isn’t a clear answer, so I wanted to highlight the question.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Bugs, bunny

M v F (Covert Recording of children) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Children and social work Bill

Long way to go, of course, but this lays out what the Government would hope to do with the new law.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Adoption – rhetoric and facts (again)

Last Sunday, the Prime Minister was widely quoted from the Sunday Times as being ‘unashamedly pro-adoption’ in describing the new Children and Social Work Bill announced later last week in the Queen’s Speech.

Full post: The Transparency Project

section 20 and human rights damages (£17,500 award)

Kent County Council v M and K (section 20 : declaration and damages) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Beyond parental control

Re P (Permission to withdraw care proceedings) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Something something oranges something part 2

Local Authority X v HI and Others 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Is it ok to be represented by a barrister who sometimes acts for social services?

Lucy Reed answers the question.

Full post: Pink Tape

Me? Adversarial?

During a discussion about child protection and the recording of meetings a participant cautioned us to refocus on the children who were, it was said, getting lost.

Full post: Pink Tape

New guidance on international family law

The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has highlighted guidance available regarding international family law.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Where there’s a will: ‘reasonable provision’ for the divorced or separating spouse

‘Husband dying cost widow her £6m divorce’ read the headline in the Daily Telegraph. ‘Widow …wants half his fortune’ said the Daily Mail, and on and on it went across all the mainstream media.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Not So Special Guardians

Since the conviction of Special Guardian Kandyce Downer for the murder of little Keegan Downer there have been reports that the government has tightened up the assessment process for special guardians in the hope of preventing this sort of thing happening again.

Full post: Pink Tape

Who is legally ‘the parent’ when something goes horribly wrong?

There are several instances in the media this week of Kandyce Downer being incorrectly described as a foster carer of the child she killed. In view of this, and some general public confusion about ‘who is a parent?’ (e.g. amongst ‘Archers’ listeners) we are setting out a very basic list here.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Divorce formulae vs divorce lawyers: the picture abroad

‘To have a formula or not to have a formula?’ – that is the question it seems for our readers, this week at least, along with ‘to have a divorce lawyer or not to have a divorce lawyer?’

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Adoption Debate

Yesterday I participated in the Adoption Debate at the Bristol Civil & Family Justice Centre, hosted and chaired by His Honour Judge Wildblood QC, Designated Family Judge for the Bristol area.

Full post: Pink Tape

Prurient Interest v. Public Interest

Mr Justice Charles has handed down a judgement requesting anonymity for a patient long after death. He has done so, both as a sitting judge in the COP and ‘as a High Court’ Judge. It is likely to have far reaching implications for the media.

Full post: Anna Raccoon

Woman who sparked versus Magical Sparkle Powers

V v Associated Newspapers Ltd 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Court of Protection orders continued reporting restrictions after death

In the matter of proceedings brought by Kings College NHS Foundation Trust concerning C (who died on 28 November 2015) v The Applicant and Associated Newspapers Ltd and others [2016] EWCOP21.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Secret information, secret hearings…

Re I (A Child) [2016] EWHC 910 (Fam) (18 April 2016), Holman J is indeed an odd case.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Family law practice and procedure in the 21st Century: fit for purpose?

This evening Marilyn Stowe had the great honour of delivering the prestigious Mark Bailey Lecture 2016 at the Grammar School at Leeds.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Something something oranges something

Re I (A child) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Either lawyers are regulated, or they aren't

We really need to decide: should the public be protected from the possibility that they may suffer serious loss from charlatans posing as lawyers/legal advisers, or not?

Full post: Family Lore

Re-evaluating the test for the transfer of care proceedings

Family analysis: When should care proceedings be transferred to a ‘better placed’ court in another Member State?

Full post: Family Law Blog

The Court’s Magical Sparkle Powers (TM) – can you take a DNA paternity test from a dead man?

Spencer V Anderson 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Judge allows paternity test for DNA disease analysis

A fascinating case in the Family Division throws up a number of facts that some may find surprising.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Lie detectors and litigation

The question of lie detectors comes up from time to time in connection with family proceedings.

Full post: Pink Tape

The unspeakable in pursuit of the inaudible

Re C (Children) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Preacher and Cyanide

This was a Court of Appeal decision about whether a parent can be prevented from giving their children names of their choosing.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

The Panama Papers, privilege and financial settlements

Prominent family lawyers have suggested – for example in the Law Society Gazette – that the Panama Papers might be used to show fraud.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Divorce and the Panama Papers

To what extent do wealthy spouses make use of offshore investments to try and keep assets out of reach of their wives or husbands?

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Joint advice on divorce: an alternative to mediation and arbitration

What if one family lawyer could advise the couple jointly? Asks Marilyn Stowe.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Family Procedure Rules 2010—what’s changing?

With the effect from 6 April 2016 there will be various amendments to the Family Procedure Rules 2010, including the addition of two new Parts and a new Practice Direction.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Does Art 5 entail a right to legal representation when facing prison for contempt of court?

The ECHR has held that the detention of an individual following his breach of a civil contact order, where he had no legal representation, did not violate his rights under Article 5. However, the decision not to provide compensation to the individual following a failure to provide him with a lawyer during domestic proceedings resulted in a violation of Article 6.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Bit of a c( ) ck up on the old anger management front

This case, decided by Ms Justice Russell, involved a 15 year old, an 11 year old and a 4 year old, all who had become involved in a private law contact dispute between their parents.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Tax changes for family lawyers

As fuller details of the headline announcements in the Chancellor’s Budget 2016 become available, Sarah Deeks, tax editor for Butterworths Family Law Service, summarises the key changes family lawyers need to be aware of and provides a reminder of tax provisions included in previous Budgets that will come into effect on 6 April 2016.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Surrogacy—what’s next for the UK?

Guest blogger Natasha Slabas examines what could, and should, happen next in relation to surrogacy laws in the UK, taking into account changes to international surrogacy in other countries including India and Thailand.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Contempt of Court and right to silence

Re L (A child) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Disguised compliance

DV (Adoption or Rehabilitation) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Common law demands reasons for a judge's decision

I had always thought it axiomatic that, in giving judgment, a judge must include reasons for his/her decision. When a district judge in the Family Court in Exeter recently turned down an application for costs in a financial relief case in two lines of text in the pre-amble to her one line order, and insisted on a formal application if more reasons were to be given, I was forced to justify my assumptions.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

How long does a child arrangements order last?

So I get asked occasionally how long a Child Arrangements Order lasts and when it lapses. It’s come up twice in a month now so this time I remembered where to look it up and thought I’d write a blog post on it. I thought it was easy, but actually it’s not.

Full post: Pink Tape

High Court gets into the groove

This piece is about the High Court case in Ciccone v Ritchie (No 2) 2016 involving the singer Madonna, and the film-maker Guy Ritchie, and their son.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Contact Denial = Coercive Control?

I've seen advice to fathers in a number of places since the coercive control law came into force in January, which is not accurate.

Full post: Pink Tape

A family court for the future

Sir James Munby and plans for family courts reform.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Compliance with Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) guidelines

Maud Davis, partner at TV Edwards LLP looks at the issues raised by the case of Re W; Re F (Children) [2015] EWCA Civ 1300 where the court described breaches that resulted in two of the Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) interviews with the children falling ‘woefully short’ of the requirements set out in the guidance.

Full post: Family Law Blog

Relinquished baby, chapter and some verses

I just ended up doing this long summary of the various issues that arise and where to find the answers in case law, so I thought it might be helpful for more general use.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Court supplies of “whoop-ass” show no signs of running out

D v E 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Collective Responsibility grows legs (and a tail…and starts biting)

Lucy Reed sees little surprise at the judgment of His Honour Judge Bellamy in Re L (Case Management: Wasted Costs) [2016] EWFC B8 (04 March 2016).

Full post: Pink Tape

Wasted costs orders against everyone!

Re L (Case Management : Wasted Costs) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

An answer on relinquished babies and Re B-S

Baker J in Re JL (2016).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

And the office boy kicked the cat

Nottingham City Council v LW and Others 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

In the soup

Re S 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Burn Family Procedure Rules 2010

President of Family Division says family proceedings rules ‘not fit for purpose’.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Poppi Worthington – legal aid

There have been a number of news reports today concerning the grant of legal aid to the father of Poppi Worthington, who was named by a judge as having sexually assaulted his daughter before she died.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Litigants in person: Assistance and the courts

Consultation on McKenzie friends: the right end of the telescope?

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Setting aside a matrimonial finance arbitral award

In DB v DLJ  Mostyn J considers the powers of the family courts’ to set aside a matrimonial financial arbitral award; and in doing so he reviews the powers of the court to make an order in the terms of the award.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

More on media reporting of private court proceedings

The law on media reporting of private proceedings continues to develop with the decision of the Court of Appeal in Re W [2016] EWCA Civ 113.

Full post: Panoptican

Abortion, mental incapacity and prior intentions: Court of Protection Clarifies the law

An NHS Trust v CS (By Her Litigation Friend, the Official Solicitor).

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Court of Protection pilot scheme: an experiment in greater transparency

This post follows my experience attending a Court of Protection hearing for the first time, under its new transparency pilot.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Appeal about the transparency in the Poppi Worthington case

Re W Children 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

OK, take custody

The High Court in Re D (Children: Abduction) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Mistaken identity

Birmingham City Council vand SK 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Case Comment: In the matter of J (a child) [2015] UKSC 70

Alexander Hulbert, Levison Meltzer Pigott case comments.

Full post: UK Supreme Court Blog

The ‘evidence of domestic violence within 2 years’ Regulation found unlawful

Rights of Women, R (on the application of) v The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice [2016] EWCA Civ 91.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Rapp v Sarre: A needs case, not conduct

A brief summary of Rapp v Sarre (Formerly Rapp) [2016] EWCA Civ 93 (18 February 2016), an appeal by a husband against an ancillary relief order granting the wife a greater than half share of the capital assets.

Full post: Family Lore

Adoption and parents who had been people trafficked

Re N and P Children 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Payment of a contact supervisor – private law

This may crop up again in private law cases, and is important therefore for Judges, lawyers, parents and very importantly Independent Social Workers and contact supervisors to know about.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Can you compel a child to give evidence?

The Court of Appeal in Re S (children) 2016 consider this point of law, and whilst they say that they are explicitly not ruling on it, they do give the answer.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

D (Children): Order for indefinite supervision of contact not wrong in principle

A summary of  D (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 89 (11 February 2016), a father's application for permission to appeal against an order for supervised contact and a s.91(14) order.

Full post: Family Lore

Diplomatic immunity & other ways to avoid family Court obligations

A trio of recently reported cases have shown the steps some will go to avoid their obligations to their spouse or former spouse, as determined by the English family court.

Full post: DavidHodson.com

GN v MA: imagination vs practice in child support

In GN v MA we see the most recent stage in a continuing application for child support under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

The new Special Guardianship Regulations

The Special Guardianship ( Amendment ) Regulations 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Aburn v Aburn: Appeal allowed against advance variation of periodical payments order

A summary of Aburn v Aburn [2016] EWCA Civ 72 (04 February 2016), which concerned an appeal relating to a provision for an automatic increase in the level of periodical payments payable to the wife following the date upon which the youngest child ceased privately funded secondary education.

Full post: Family Lore

Why lawyers and mediators should work closely together

If lawyers and mediators don’t work together to give clients what they want, others will, says guest blogger Mary Banham-Hall.

Full post: Family Law Blog

One last chance

RE C (A child: Refusal to make Interim Care Order) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

The Costa dignity…. Financial abuse case

Re AH 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Heterosexual Civil Partnership Refusal Not A Human Rights Breach

The High Court has ruled in the case of Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for Education, a human rights challenge to the law of Civil Partnerships.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Debating the appropriate standard of proof for really serious stuff

There has been some public discussion of the standard of proof in family proceedings as against the standard of proof in the criminal courts – largely prompted on this occasion by publication of the judgment arising from the care proceedings concerning the sibling(s) of Poppi Worthington.

Full post: Pink Tape

S (A Child): Tainted report not permitted on re-hearing of adoption application

A summary of S (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 1345 (3 November 2015), which concerned the re-hearing of a step-parent adoption in respect of an 8 year-old boy.

Full post: Family Lore

Court of Appeal criticise Judge for insufficient analysis of the placement options

In re P (A child) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

It’s January – we’re all trying to slim down

Bundles again. They are still too fat. The Pres has put them on another crash diet.

Full post: Pink Tape

Poppi Worthington – the Judge publishes his decision about what happened to her

F v Cumbria County Council and M (fact-finding no 2) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Important case regarding learning difficulties

Re D (A child) (No 3) 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Risk-taking and the Court of Protection

Re Z and Others 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Judge describes police investigation as “cack-handed”

Wigan Council v M and Others 2015.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Appointing a professional as deputy, rather than a family member

Again, a Court of Protection case.  This time by Senior Judge Lush. Re A 2016.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Court of Protection and Criminal Injuries compensation

PJV v The Assistant Director Adult Social Care Newcastle City Council 2015.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

The Form E Fiasco

There has been a lot of hype about the so-called Form E Fiasco.

Full post: Pink Tape

DFE report on Special Guardianship reports… my report

The DfE special guardianship review: report on findings.

Full post: suesspiciousminds