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January 2017 / 11 posts found

Interview: Andrew Langdon QC

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Criminal silk Andrew Langdon used his inaugural speech as chairman of the bar in December to relate his unusual journey to the leadership. When Haile Selassie was overthrown as emperor of Ethiopia in 1974, Langdon’s parents were in the country working on a farm. The family was forced to flee at gunpoint and came to England as refugees. As Selassie did in the 1930s, they settled in the West Country (the emperor chose Bath); unlike Selassie, the family made the move with no money.   Langdon is still based in the region providing, he told his audience, a service ‘for [...]

Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill receives its second reading

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Home > News Baroness Deech’s private member’s bill seeks to replace section 25(2) of the MCA 1973 The Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill received its second reading on 27 January 2017 and has been committed to the Committee of the whole house on a date to be announced.  The bill is a private member's bill introduced by Baroness Deech. The Bill received its first reading in the House of Lords on 26 May 2016. The Bill proposes to replace section 25(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 with "provisions about the principles to be applied in determining applications for such orders, including [...]

Alaskan divorce courts to treat pets more like children

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Home > News New law provides for joint ownership of family animals The Animal Legal Defense Fund of the United States has reported in its blog that Alaska has become the first state in the country to empower judges to take into account the "well-being of the animal" in custody disputes involving non-human family members. Amendments to the state divorce statute, which became effective on 17 January 2017, expressly require courts to address the interests of companion animals when deciding how to assign ownership in divorce and dissolution proceedings. It is, according to the ALDF, also the first to explicitly [...]

Allowing councils to opt out of legal duties to ‘experiment’ with service delivery will place childr…

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In just a few months, the Family Court has seen its budget shrink from £2.4bn to £1.6bn. These cuts, as well as ongoing delays in improving the system, are wreaking havoc on society’s most vulnerable families. The latest set of concerns stem from the drastic reduction in legal aid, which also saw the government implement a set of requirements that had to be met before victims of domestic violence could access legal support. Arguing that the need to show evidence of violence underlined the importance of fairness in legal proceedings, the government conveniently sidestepped difficulties surrounding pre-trial evidence gathering in [...]

Assisted reproduction: consent given for first child is valid consent for second child (High Court)

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In P and others (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008) [2017] EWHC 49 (Fam), Munby P held that the consent given by the birth mother's partner, to being the parent of any child born by assisted reproduction for the first child born, is valid for any second child born by further assisted reproduction. This judgment relates to various assisted reproduction cases with differing issues about consent forms and is part of the series starting with Re A and Others (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008) [2015] EWHC 2602 (Fam) (see Legal update, Providing valid consent in assisted reproduction cases (High [...]

Encrypted Skype authorised for vulnerable father with agoraphobia to participate in proceedings (Fam…

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In Medway Council v R and others (Participation of vulnerable parties) [2016] EWFC B104, the court authorised the use of an encrypted Skype video service, to allow a father suffering from severe agoraphobia, to participate in care proceedings. Please click the button below if you have Practical Law enabled OnePass account. If you have forgotten your [...]

16th View from the President’s Chambers: Children and vulnerable witnesses: where are we?

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In relation to recommendation 2, I said that I had been arguing for a similar bar in the Family Court to that in the Youth and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 'but without success to date'. I observed that 'There are clear resource implications so this is properly a matter for ministers.' I added, 'I have yet to detect any firm sign that ministers are prepared to extend the criminal arrangement to family proceedings.' I went on: 'Last year the Ministry of Justice conducted research into private law cases where the court was faced with the prospect of an alleged perpetrator [...]

Family Mediation Week highlights £48 billion cost of family breakdown to the taxpayer as charity cal…

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Family Mediation Association spokesperson, Beverley Sayers added: 'Family Mediation Week helps raise awareness amongst separating couples that lawyers and courts aren’t their only divorce option. If both parties can stay patient and open minded, there are much better and cheaper alternatives to going to court,including mediation, and collaborative family law and arbitration. These are usually quicker, cheaper and less confrontational than the traditional court process, making a big difference to any kids involved in what is a hurtful time for everyone in the family.' Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, Sir Oliver Heald said: 'I am a strong [...]

The deprivation of a child’s liberty

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The making of a secure accommodation order lies at the extreme end of the court’s powers. However, they are not uncommon. They are, in fact, fairly regularly used in relation to teenagers who put themselves in risky and harmful situations, apparently through choice. Such an application will usually arise following a period of time in foster care or residential accommodation. They will often involve teenagers who are the victims of sexual exploitation or who engage in alcohol and/or drug misuse. The deprivation of a child’s liberty is something which family practitioners have, perhaps unavoidably, become hardened to. The case of [...]

Manimony – When Husband’s Receive Alimony

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Role Reversal: Women Paying Their Ex-Husbands Alimony? By Richard Renkin Women having to pay alimony to their ex-husbands isn’t unheard of. In fact, the trend also known as manimony is one that’s becoming increasingly more common. Women have fought hard for social equality and have worked their way up corporate ladders, taking home increasingly more money each year. However, with great paychecks comes great responsibility. If you happen to be the breadwinner of the family and you’re considering divorce, don’t be surprised if your soon-to-be ex-husband requests alimony support. The times have drastically changed. Recent numbers from the Bureau of [...]