The Practical Lawyer


Children – cross-examination

A complainant in family proceedings not being offered the same protection as a complainant in a criminal trial is ‘manifestly irrational and unfair’, the High Court has ruled.

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Civil partnership – human rights

The lack of provision in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 for opposite-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership is incompatible with human rights law.

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Children – vaccination

The parents of a child (B) were separated and disagreed about a number of issues, including whether she should be immunised.

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Cohabitation – widowed parent’s allowance

The Supreme Court made a declaration that s39A Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) 1992 Act, by which a widowed parent can only claim widowed parent’s allowance (WPA) if they were married to or the civil partner of the deceased (D), is incompatible with Art 14 ECHR.

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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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