the family courts

Brother and sister remain habitually resident in England and Wales, High Court rules

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A brother and sister who have been living with their grandfather and aunt in Libya for almost two years remain legal residents of the UK, the High Court has ruled. Both parents are Libyan citizens, and both come from wealthy families. After marrying in 2007 they moved to the UK to attend university and start a family. Their son and daughter are now aged 12 and 13 respectively. In addition to being British citizens, the children also hold Libyan citizenship thanks to their parents. In 2020, the father travelled back to Libya with the children to visit his family. Sitting…

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Court of Appeal declares findings against father ‘unsafe’

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Findings of abuse and assault made against the father of three children were unsafe, the Court of Appeal ruled. The children – twin boys aged nine and their 12-year-old sister – saw their father regularly following the breakdown of the parents’ marriage in 2017, regularly staying overnight at his home. But then arguments between the parents began and the 12 year-old refused to continue seeing her father. In June 2019 the father threatened legal proceedings and the mother began to restrict the time the twins spent with the father to daytime visits. The father applied for a child arrangements order:…

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Senior Judges say thank you to family law professionals

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Two of the most senior family law judges in England and Wales have thanked legal professionals for their efforts in maintaining the legal system during the current covid-19 pandemic. Lady Justice King and Mrs Justice Theis issued a message on behalf of Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division, who is currently recuperating from heart surgery. They wrote: “It would not be an exaggeration to say that this year more than any other has been extraordinary. Even in these unprecedented times each one of you has played your part to keep our heavily burdened system functioning.” The swift…

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Family Division President rules out remote hearing in complex family case

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The case against a mother suspected of abusing her child must be held in person, the President of the Family Division has declared. Re P (A Child: Remote Hearing) [2020] EWFC 32 concerned a mother suspected by her local authority of fabricating or inducing illness in the child, a practice known as ‘Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy’ or more formally, ‘Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another’. She disputes the allegations. The local authority launched proceedings against the mother in April last year, following lengthy previous disputes with other members of the child’s family. The seven year-old was sent to live with a friend…

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