The Practical Lawyer


Children – contact

The judge failed to test his factual conclusion against family law principles, the Court of Appeal held in a landmark case where F was refused direct contact with her children.

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Procedure – amended FR forms

Following the recent issue of Practice Guidance on Standard Financial and Enforcement Orders in November 2017, practitioners should note that there was a minor error affecting some of those standard forms in financial remedy cases. The President of the Family Division has reissued the orders, now corrected as appropriate. Source:


Procedure – identification of LA

The principal issue in this case was whether, on publication of information relating to special guardianship proceedings, the local authority involved should be named. The question, said the court, was whether the grandmother should have the right to tell her story and whether as part of the telling of it, the LA should be named. It decided that the LA – Gloucestershire County Council – should be named.

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Children – child abduction

In Hague Convention proceedings, the judge erred in her finding acquiescence on the part of F. The correct conclusion was that F acquiesced in M remaining in England by entering into a custody agreement. Proceedings were brought under the Hague Convention concerning their 21-month-old son.

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Practice – disbarring solicitor

An application was made by H to have W’s solicitor debarred from acting for her in divorce proceedings commenced by her, on the basis that certain confidential, privileged matters had been divulged to her law firm.

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Children – relocation

F successfully appealed a decision allowing an appeal from a relocation order. M wanted either to relocate to Italy with the parties’ five-year-old son, or stay in the UK with him in her primary care. However, F wanted their son to remain in the UK with continued shared arrangements between him and M.

At first instance, the judge departed from the Cafcass officer’s recommendations and concluded on a fine balance that it would be in D’s best interests to remain in the UK and for both parents to share his care.

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Procedure – urgent issue of petition

The author comments on circumstances when practitioners face the need for the urgent issue of a divorce petition when a freezing injunction is needed, or when there is a forum dispute. She writes following contact with a fellow family lawyer who received an official line from HMCTS thus:

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Public law – parents with learning disabilities

The author comments on the issue of local authorities and ‘learning disabled’ parenting following a case concerning the suitability of parents where both had mental health and learning difficulties. The Family Court decided that their two young children should be placed for adoption as the parents could not meet their needs, and parental consent was dispensed with. The court also made a 12-month supervision order in respect of the children’s half-sister who was 12.

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Unmarried partners – property rights

When will the courts allow the transfer of property to an unmarried partner out of a deceased partner’s estate? A recent ruling shows how the courts approach their jurisdictional powers in the transfer of property under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (I(PFD)A). This is the first time an application by an unmarried partner under the amended subsections 1(1)(ba) and 1(1A) I(PFD)A has been heard.

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Care proceedings – adoption

F’s appeal to the Court of Appeal of a decision to place his baby daughter with her sibling’s adopters was dismissed. B was born in Spring 2016, and her brother was born in 2015 and adopted in 2016. At issue was whether B should be adopted with her brother’s adoptive parents, or her father’s cousin and her partner. The trial judge made care and placement orders with a view to B’s adoption by the brother’s adoptive parents.

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