Austerity causing “serious difficulty” insists former Supreme Court President

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Former President of the Supreme Court President Lady Hale claimed in a recent interview that cuts in government spending have caused “serious difficulty” for many litigants. The 74 year-old Leeds native retired from her post this month, after two years and three months in the role. Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, she insisted: “I don’t think that anybody who has anything to do with the justice system of England and Wales could fail to be concerned about the problems which the reduction in resources in several directions has caused for the system as a whole. The…

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Resolution welcomes return of ‘no fault’ divorce bill

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The family law organisation Resolution has welcomed a recent announcement that legislation introducing ‘no fault’ divorce in England is to be returned to Parliament. Following years of campaigning by Resolution and other organisations, the Divorce, Dissolution ad Separation Bill was first introduced last summer, but then suspended when Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the December 12 general election. The bill make significant changes to existing marriage law, removing the long-standing need to cite specific reasons for a divorce application or attribute fault to one party. Instead applicants will only need to state that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, and…

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Boy should be sent to live with father, High Court concludes

By | Children, the emotional side, the family courts | No Comments

A 12 year-old should be sent to live with his father to restore their relationship, a High Court Judge ruled in a recently published case. PA v TT and H concerned a couple from a Sikh background who had married in 2005 and separated in 2007. They had one son, referred to in the judgement as ‘H’. The breakdown of the marriage was acrimonious, and there had been no less than five previous sets of proceedings concerning arrangements for the boy. These included allegations of domestic abuse, which were dismissed. Prior to the beginning of the sixth set of proceedings,…

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McKenzie Friends “biased and misleading” claims study

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McKenzie Friends provide “biased and misleading advice” to people caught up in family court disputes, a new study has claimed. McKenzie Friends are courtroom advisors who work with ‘litigants in person’ (LiPs): people who represent themselves during a court case, usually because they cannot afford legal representation. Despite their role, they do not need legal qualifications. Some charge fees while others work purely informally. Without legal qualifications McKenzie Friends cannot address the Judge while in court unless they are invited to do so. But they are allowed to provide advice to the litigant and help with note-taking and court papers….

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Supreme Court considers ‘forum shopping’ in divorce

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The Supreme Court has heard two days of evidence in an appeal concerning ‘forum shopping’ in divorce. The term ‘forum shopping’ refers to a common and much discussed practice in which one half of a multinational couple attempts to launch divorce proceedings in the jurisdiction with divorce legislation most favourable to them. In legal terminology, the Latin word ‘forum’ can mean both a specific court and a specific jurisdiction. Villiers v Villiers concerns a writ of divorce filed in 2014 by a husband in Scotland. He and his wife had lived in the country for the majority of the time…

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Younger victims of domestic violence could be “collateral damage of Brexit”

By | Children, News, the emotional side | No Comments

Children in families riven by domestic violence could be “collateral damage” of Britain’s exit from the EU a charity has claimed. Action for Children said whichever government takes the reins following the general election must guarantee support for children affected by the issue. The call came following the publication of new research conducted by the charity with the University of Stirling. This included interviews with staff from no less than 30 local councils around the country. The findings suggest that one in ten local councils provide no support all to children who have experienced domestic violence, while more than 60…

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‘Investigate family court cases reported by the media’ says Family Division President

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Family court cases highlighted by the media should be investigated for any failures to protect children and other vulnerable victims, the President of the Family Division has claimed. Speaking at a recent conference on domestic abuse held by legal charity Support Through Court (formerly known as the Personal Support Unit), Sir Andrew McFarlane endorsed the interest taken by some newspapers in the family court system, noting that two are currently running campaigns on the issue. But he highlighted a disconnect between the personal accounts often given to journalists and the rulings subsequently published, which are routinely anonymised: “In almost every…

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Children should spend time with alienated father court rules

By | Children, Law news, the emotional side, the family courts | No Comments

A mother who had pressured her children into rejecting their father must allow them to build a healthy relationship, a family court judge has ruled. During a High Court session in Brighton, His Honour Judge Bedford noted that disputes between the parents dated back many years. “The two children in this case have been the subject of litigation, on and off, for much of their lives, one child being aged 11 years and 5 months and the other children being 10 years and one month. “ He explained: “Fortunately for the children, contact took place on a regular basis following the…

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Sharing your children like an adult

By | Children, the emotional side | No Comments

There’s no question about it: successfully co-parenting your children after divorce or separation can be a challenge. It requires mutual goodwill, patience and commitment: all virtues which are easier listed than practiced, of course. Most parents want the best for their children, and are perfectly willing to work hard to ensure their happiness and welfare. They know that contact with both parents – whenever possible – has an important role to play. But it’s all too easy to lose sight of the latter principle if your marriage or relationship ended acrimoniously. Parents filled with bitterness towards their former spouse or…

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Opposite sex civil partnerships to begin on New Year’s Eve

By | Living together/cohabitation, News, the family courts | No Comments

Opposite sex couples in England and Wales will be able to enter civil partnerships for the first time on New Year’s Eve. Earlier this week the House of Lords approved the Civil Partnership (Opposite Sex Couples) Regulations 2019. These amend the Civil Partnership Act, which dates back to 2004. The newly altered provisions will allow straight couples to register civil partnerships in addition to their same sex counterparts. The amendments have been scheduled for 2 December 2019. As a 28-day notice period is still required when couples register their intention to marry or enter a civil partnership, 31 December will…

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