The Practical Lawyer


Divorce – behaviour

Though the Owens' marriage has, indeed, broken down – Mrs Owen has failed to convince even the Supreme Court to allow her to divorce her husband on the basis he ‘has behaved in such a way that she cannot reasonably be expected to live with him’.

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Procedure – forced marriage and FGM

A new pilot Practice Direction, supplementing the FPR, is intended to improve notification to the police when the court makes FGM and forced marriage protection orders. The new pilot PD 36H came into effect on 23 July 2018 and sets out the procedure for service of certain protection orders on the police at a centralised email address. Orders are also required to be monitored by the Vulnerability Coordination Centre.

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Procedure – expert witnesses

Expert witnesses must comply with court rules and related guidance appropriate to their area of expertise. New guidance for paediatric expert witnesses in family proceedings has now been issued.

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Procedure – LIPs; cross-examination

This case was a fact-finding hearing in wardship proceedings involving an LIP who sought to cross-examine M.

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Children – accommodation

What are the limits of the LA’s powers and duties to provide accommodation for children in need under s20 CA? The Supreme Court has ruled that accommodating children under s20 requires real and voluntary delegation of parental responsibility.

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Financial remedies – maintenance

The judge was entitled not to vary an order for periodical payments so as to require H to pay W’s entire rental costs. The parties divorced in 2002 after a 15-year marriage. Under the terms of the consent order, W received a £230,000 lump sum and H would pay her annual periodical payments of £13,200.

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Procedure – standard family orders

In March 2018, the President of the Family Division circulated the second batch of Standard Family Orders (the first batch was issued with his guidance of 30 November 2017). The three further orders are to be added to the compendium of Standard Family Orders.

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Procedure – financial remedies court pilot

The Birmingham-centred West Midlands pilot of the Financial Remedies Court has been successful, and the President of the Family Division has now announced a further phase of the pilot (in modified form).

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Procedure – children; arbitration

Important practice guidance has been issued by the President. Practice Guidance: Children Arbitration in the Family Court concerns the interface between the Family Court, and arbitrations conducted under the Arbitration Act 1996 where the parties to a post-relationship breakdown private law dispute relating to the welfare of a child or children where either or both having parental responsibility, or are otherwise concerned, have agreed to submit the issues in dispute to an arbitrator for a binding decision.

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Procedure – consent orders

Practitioners should note that Pilot Practice Direction 36I supplementing FPR Part 36 r36.2 is now in force as of 6 August 2018. The PD governs a pilot scheme for the procedure for online filing of certain applications for consent orders for a financial remedy.

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