Government launches outdoor wedding consultation

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The government has launched a public consultation on plans to continuing allowing outdoor weddings on approved premises. Couples tying the knot in the UK have only been able to hold civil wedding and partnership ceremonies outdoors, at approved venues, since July last year. Before that, weddings could only take place indoors. The change was introduced by a temporary statutory instrument (government order) in order to boost the weddings industry. But this is due to expire on 5 April. The new public consultation proposes making the change a permanent one via the issuing of a further statutory instrument. The government is…

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Outdoor weddings and civil partnerships now permanently available

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Outdoor weddings and civil partnership are now permanently available to couples in England and Wales following the introduction of new legislation.   The Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 makes previously temporary measures allowing outdoor ceremonies into permanent legislation. It is a ‘statutory instrument’ – the main method by which so-called ‘secondary legislation’ is created in the UK. Secondary legislation is specific laws drafted from the broader principles of ‘primary’ legislation – e.g., acts of Parliament.   The temporary measures had been in place since summer 2021. They were introduced in order to try and encourage a…

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Girlfriend of man who disappeared in Peru receives declaration of presumed death

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The girlfriend of a man who disappeared while travelling in South America more than a decade ago has been granted a declaration of his presumed death. The man, referred to in the anonymised judgement as ‘P’, grew up in the south of England. He spent a decade working as a flight attendant, then become involved in the establishment of a restaurant in Barcelona. Then in 2008, he began a relationship with ‘D’. They lived together but did not marry. D eventually become pregnant, giving birth to a son, ‘C’, in March 2010. P was a dedicated father, spending the majority…

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Multinational couple argue over money before divorce begins

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The wife of a multimillionaire hedge fund manager has been had her claim for interim maintenance and legal costs significantly reduced by the High Court.   Referred to as ‘W’ in the judgement, she had enjoyed some business success before becoming a stay-at-home mother. She and the husband – ‘H’ – were both from outside the UK. They married in London in 2017 and went on to have two children, now aged three and one. The husband was a citizen of three separate countries, while the wife had two nationalities. The siblings are UK citizens, but they too hold other…

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Obsessive mother fails in appeal against order barring court action

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A mother who conducted an obsessive campaign against the father of her six year-old daughter has failed in an appeal against an order barring her from other court action for two whole years. A medical doctor from Hungary, with three children from earlier relationships, she met the father met in 2013. In 2015 a daughter, referred to in the Court of Appeal judgement as ‘A’, was born. In 2017 the mother travelled back to Hungary for an extended visit, leaving A and her three older children in the care of A’s father. Six months later, she returned to the UK…

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Visits by judges ‘need clearer guidelines’

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Britain’s most senior family law judge has called for clearer guidance on personal visits by judges to the subjects of hearings. Sir Andrew McFarlane is President of the Family Division of the High Court. Granting an appeal brought by the children of a women with Covid-19 complications, he said there was a “pressing need for workable guidance” on the “developing practice” of judges in the Court of Protection making personal visits. The Court of Protection is a branch of the High Court which hears cases involving the welfare of people unable to make their own decisions due to illness or…

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Syrian husband fails in bid to have Muslim divorce recognised

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A former resident of Bristol has failed to persuade the family courts that a traditional Muslim divorce was valid under English law. He and his wife were married in the Syrian town of Aleppo in 2000. They later moved to England, before returning to Syria in 2010. By this point the couple had two children. Not long afterwards, the husband went to a local divorce court and declared talaq. This is the commonest form of Islamic divorce, and one that is often the source of controversy. Talaq involves the husband making a formal declaration of repudiation. This is followed by…

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Charities stress importance of privacy rights for children

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Children should have a right to online privacy equal to that of adults, according to a legal charity. The Coram Children’s Legal Centre campaigns to protect the legal and social rights of minors and young people. Earlier in the year the organisation joined forces with disability charity Inclusion London and campaign group Liberty to intervene in a legal case against technology giant Google, which had been accused of breaching data protection laws. The case had been brought on behalf of a large group of iPhone users by an individual litigant. He argued that he should be allowed to bring a…

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Covid does not invalidate divorce settlements, Judge rules

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The High Court has rejected a claim that the Covid-19 pandemic should invalidate a divorce settlement agreed in 2019. In BT v CU, the husband owned a successful business providing school meals. On October 10 that year, a four-day hearing in the family courts reached its conclusion with an order that the husband make a series of lump payments to his estranged wife, beginning with £150,000, followed by four payments of £200,000 at yearly intervals, for a total of £950,000. The Judge also issued a pension sharing order and specified child maintenance and school fee payments for the couple’s two…

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Surrogacy surges across England and Wales

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The number of parental orders issued by the family courts has increased by almost 400 per cent in a decade, according to a recently published report Parental orders are issued by the family courts in order to transfer the status of parenthood from the surrogate mother of a child to the intended parents or parent. In 2011, 117 such orders were issued in England and Wales – but by last year 2020 that had risen to no less than 413. Under current legislation in England and Wales, a surrogate mother retains the legal status of parent after birth, even if…

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