Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re out to sue me…

The Transparency Project was founded in part to counter dodgy headlines and over-simplified or inaccurate media reports about all things family law. Every so often, distortion of what a case *really* says or means comes from within the system. This is one such example.

Full post: The Transparency Project

It ain’t that easy…

This is a guest post from Themis (pseudonym), a parent with experience of the family courts.

Full post: The Transparency Project

How do family courts use ‘barring orders’?

One of the tasks of the new review of family courts and domestic abuse announced last month by the MoJ is to examine courts’ use of barring orders.

Full post: The Transparency Project

How does the family court deal with domestic abuse? A snapshot – part 2

A (A Child) [2019] EWFC B16 (12 March 2019) & Re N (Children) [2019] EWCA Civ 903.

Full post: The Transparency Project

How does the family court deal with domestic abuse? A snapshot

A Lancastrian Council v M [2019] EWFC B6 (07 March 2019).

Full post: The Transparency Project

County Lines and Magical Sparkle Powers

A City Council v LS & Ors (Secure Accommodation Inherent Jurisdiction) [2019] EWHC 1384 (Fam) (04 June 2019).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Problem exists between chair and keyboard

Lucy Reed shares her top tips for paperless working.

Full post: Pink Tape

Independent research on domestic abuse and family courts

A quick review of available research.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Withdrawal of life support: minimally conscious patients

A Clinical Commissioning Group v P (by her litigation friend the Official Solicitor) and TD [2019] EWCOP 18.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Judge agrees learning disabled man can make his own choice about marriage and should be told about his finances

In May this year Mr Justice Francis handed down a carefully anonymised judgment in a case concerning PBM, a man in his mid-twenties who had an acquired brain injury as a result of a deliberate injection of insulin by his father when he was 12 months old.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the ordinary residence water….

Re S (A child) 2017.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Tag -you’re it (or not)

J-S (Children) [2019] EWCA Civ 894 (24 May 2019).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

NB on Re NB

The Court of protection case Re NB.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Courts: fit for the future – but not for the present?

More than a year has passed since the Transparency Project submitted its response (among many others) to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on the future strategy of court and tribunal estate reform. Now at last the MOJ has issued its own response.

Full post: The Transparency Project

GDP-ARgggghhhh! (The Legal Aid Agency’s guide to the GDPR)

A blog post in which the twin joys of legal aid and GDPR are combined in one glorious cluster of hideousness.

Full post: Pink Tape

ADMs apple

The Court of Appeal in Re TS (Children).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Alienating behaviours and appealing about an expert report

This post is about a High Court case called Re MFS (Appeal: Transfer of Primary Care) [2019] EWHC 768 (Fam), a judgment delivered in March by Mr Justice Williams.

Full post: The Transparency Project

“…such obviously fallacious legal arguments”

H-L (Children: Summary Dismissal of Care Proceedings).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

When children are abducted by a parent – a scourge, an unspeakable cruelty and a matter of public interest

Since yesterday the news has been full of reports about a Ukrainian ‘Billionaire, Sergiy Tigipko, investigated over abduction of [his] UK grandchildren’.

Full post: The Transparency Project

“Love her how I love her”

In a dreadfully sad case, the mum wrote in a statement to the court her reasons for not actively opposing the care and placement order in respect of her little girl.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Finding fault in the reporting of no fault divorce

Jo Edwards dissects various headlines that were screamed from the front pages of newspapers across the country last week, after the government announced plans to reform divorce law in England and Wales.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Giving hope to all concierges who date cosmetics heiresses*

Ipekçi v McConnell is a case between  – yes, you’ve guessed it – a hotel concierge, Anil Ipekçi, and  Morgan McConnell, the great-granddaughter of the founder of Avon.

Full post: The Transparency Project

What does ‘irretrievable breakdown’ mean as a ground for divorce?

Irretrievable breakdown of marriage: the old and the new.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Divorce reform: Lord Chancellor’s response – first thoughts

Response to consultation.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Stocker v Stocker: Facebook Libel and Dictionary Deficiencies

This Supreme Court judgment is on a defamation case, not family law, but it refers to wider issues about victims of domestic abuse who feel the law can sometimes be used to threaten them if they speak out.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Anonymity: private and public proceedings

Open justice principle.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

A post script about RIPA

A short while ago I wrote a post about social workers carrying out surveillance of families that they work with, which has attracted a certain amount of attention. I've had an email from a data protection officer at a local authority expressing concern that the article isn't correct, so I thought I'd better address it.

Full post: Pink Tape

Lego instructions and the views of a child: Part 2

Lego, the law and child representation: a pre-preliminary point.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Lego instructions and the views of a child: Part 1

CS v SBH: a solicitor’s role.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Videos of children being removed

Every so often a video is circulated on Facebook or Twitter that shows the distressing removal of a child from its parents by police or social workers. Yesterday was one such day.

Full post: Pink Tape

CS v SBH: a child’s competence to appoint her own lawyer

This case concerned the question whether, on an appeal, a child was entitled to choose and be represented by a solicitor of her own choice, instead of the solicitor already instructed by the court-appointed guardian.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Transparency and judicial bias – a review in 2019

Common law ‘transparency’.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

‘Guidance’ as law

David Burrows considers the status of judicially-issued practice guidance in the hierarchy of judge-made and statutory law, and questions its use as a shortcut for more formally generated procedural rules.

Full post: ICLR Blog

Social work spies? (Yes, you over there I’m talking to you…)

Social workers ‘spying’ on families through Facebook.

Full post: Pink Tape

“Unnourished by sense.”

M v P [2019] EWFC 14 (22 March 2019).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Not a vacuum but a low pressure vessel

CS v SBH & Ors [2019] EWHC 634 (Fam) (18 March 2019).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Should a Local Authority serve notice of proceedings on a father suspected of abusing the mother?

P (Notice of care proceedings to father without parental responsibility) [2019] EWFC 13 (11 March 2019).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Contempt of court: ‘publication’ and children proceedings

The tentacles of court contempt.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

I call humbug

The poor practice, serious mistakes and sometimes unlawful actions of people working in the family law system are almost always hidden.

Full post: The Transparency Project

The President’s guidance on anonymisation in published judgments

On 7 December 2018, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division, issued some practice guidance to judges entitled Practice Guidance: anonymisation and avoidance of the identification of children and the treatment of explicit descriptions of the sexual abuse of children in judgments intended for the public arena.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Judgment critical of delay from expert

X and Y (Delay : Professional Conduct of Expert) [2019] EWFC B9 (11 March 2019).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Child rights: politics or law

Judicial review and the ‘political arena’.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Capacity to use the internet

Two recent judgments in the Court of Protection sparked the usual inaccurate headlines suggesting that the court had ridden roughshod over the rights of adults with learning difficulties to access the internet, and more specifically social media.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Court of Appeal decision about orders for post-adoption contact

Re B (A Child) (Post-adoption contact) [2019] EWCA Civ 29 is the first time (since a change in the law in 2014) that the Court of Appeal has considered when an order should be made that an adopted child will have continuing contact with their birth family after he or she is adopted.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Reporting restrictions and the James Bulger murder

Venables & Anor v News Group Papers Ltd & Ors [2019] EWHC 494 (Fam) (4 March 2019).

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Can you make an Interim Care Order that lasts beyond the child’s 17th birthday?

Re Q (A Child: Interim Care Order) 2019.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Best evidence of complainants and children

In Y and E (Children) (Sexual Abuse Allegations) [2019] EWCA Civ 206 (21 February 2019) Baker LJ drew attention to the importance of ABE evidence gathering.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Lay representation in civil proceedings

McKenzie friends in 2019: a debate….

Full post: dbfamilylaw

NOT reforming the courts’ approach to McKenzie Friends: a judicial abdication of responsibility

In 2016, the Lord Chief Justice and the JEB issued a consultation entitled “Reforming the courts’ approach to McKenzie Friends”. Three years later, they have responded with a series of recommendations that basically involve blaming the government for the problem and suggesting that the government, not the judiciary, should sort it out.

Full post: The Transparency Project

In the pool or not in the pool?

C (Interim threshold not crossed) [2019] EWFC B5 (15 February 2019).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Mental capacity for handling the internet: Court of Protection

A (Capacity: Social Media and Internet Use: Best Interests)  [2019] EWCOP 2.

Full post: UK Human Rights Blog

Shamima’s baby – the family law aspect

We’ve started trying to write something about Shamima Begum and her baby several times this week, but every time we agree what we are going to write, something changes. It feels a bit like shifting sands, and the facts are very unclear. So we aren’t going to say very much. Instead, we thought it would be helpful to set out a very broad framework for what might happen if Shamima and / or her baby Jerah ever make it back to England.

Full post: The Transparency Project

BC v BG – Challenging arbitration awards in divorce cases

If one of the parties isn’t happy about the outcome of arbitration, the matter could still end up in court. The recent case of BC v BG considers the different ways this can happen, and confirms what should be the preferred approach.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Tickle’s Triumph – an independent journalist succeeds in her appeal to secure the right to report on a family case – and prompts new guidance

Today, independent journalist and Transparency Project member Louise Tickle took her appeal against a reporting restriction order made by a family judge, to the Court of Appeal. She won.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Assessing family members where parent doesn’t put them forward or objects

RE H (Care and Adoption : Assessment of wider family) 2019.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Family law and EU withdrawal

EU law and family breakdown: where are we today?

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Bullish but not bullying? UNDER PRESSURE

I do like a case name that tells you something about the nature of the case, so G (Children: Fair Hearing), Re [2019] EWCA Civ 126 (07 February 2019) told me it was probably going to be worth a read.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Divorce and the Muslim community

The Lord Chancellor will shortly – March 2019 – be reporting on his review of the replies to his divorce reform consultation: Reducing family conflict – Reform of the legal requirements for divorce.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Family courts: costs claims for the litigant in person

How much and when can litigant in person claim costs in family proceedings.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Research by ALC on “Fire-eating Courts” (sorry, “Settlement Conferences”)

The Association of Lawyers for Children research on the settlement conference pilot.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Disputing family arbitration awards

In BC v BG [2019] EWFC 7 the court was concerned with the general (and novel) question as to the effect that should be given to an arbitration award made when parties agree to arbitrate disputes that arise in proceedings for financial remedies following a divorce.

Full post: Family Law Blog

No more ‘business as usual’

We have our first View from the President, from our new President.

Full post: suesspiciousminds

A view from the coalface

I've been getting blank faces whenever I've asked colleagues what they think of the latest 'President's View' (the first from this reincarnation of the President, Lord Justice Macfarlane).

Full post: Pink Tape

President of the Family Division: what now?

First ‘view’ of Sir Andrew McFarlane P.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

A draft domestic abuse bill

Domestic abuse and domestic violence in 2019.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Government publishes draft Domestic Abuse Bill

The government has today published its response to its ‘Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse’ Consultation, which it launched in March 2018, together with a draft Domestic Abuse Bill.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Human Rights Act 1998 and family law in 2019

Recent press comment has gone back to concerns about the Tories getting rid of Human Rights Act 1998. What does this mean, in the context (mostly) of family law?

Full post: dbfamilylaw

Video hearings and family courts

A number of strands of family law and modern court practice coalesce in the civil proceedings default judgment video-link set aside scheme.

Full post: dbfamilylaw

An interesting judgment about reporting restrictions

This post is about a case called : A and B (Children) [2018] EWHC 3491 (Fam) (20 December 2018).

Full post: The Transparency Project

Hi Sky, Corrected your misleading headline, love TP xxx

Thanks to Emily Ward for alerting us to this gem of a headline from Sky News : Man loses court fight over wife’s ‘flirtatious’ kisses on text messages.

Full post: The Transparency Project

International Online Courts Forum: what we learned

We joined more than 300 government, legal and IT professionals from around the world of delegates at last month’s first International Online Courts Forum.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Another runaway mum in the news – what’s the story?

Shortly before Christmas reports began to emerge of a young mother who had disappeared with her little boy, and of the High Court Judge who gave permission for the family to be publicly named and photos shown in order to help locate them.

Full post: The Transparency Project

What’s in a judgment anyway?

In November a journalist I know and respect took to social media to air her concerns about the probity of family court process as regards transcripts of hearings.

Full post: Pink Tape

Separating twins

BT & GT (Children : twins – adoption) [2018] EWFC 76 (29 November 2018).

Full post: suesspiciousminds

Was the risk really bad enough to justify the remedy?

This question was asked by Lord Justice Peter Jackson in a judgment reported last month,  Re F (A Child: Placement Order: Proportionality) [2018] EWCA Civ 2761.

Full post: The Transparency Project

Declaration of Parentage used in Child’s Abduction Proceedings

An unusual judgment has recently been made by Mr Justice Williams in G (Declaration of Parentage – Removal of Person Identified as Mother from Birth Certificate) (No2) [2018] EWHC 3361 (Fam).

Full post: iFLG