The Practical Lawyer


Children – care proceedings

M unsuccessfully applied for permission to appeal an order that her child (N) should continue to live with F. The order also limited M’s contact to indirect contact by sending cards, letters, and a small gift once every three weeks via the local authority social worker. Under the trial judge’s order, W was also barred from making any applications for child arrangement orders in respect of N without the leave of the court for a period of three years, except if M applied for a psychological assessment of herself.

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Evidence – Trimega warning

Family practitioners who have or had clients involved in family case where hair strand testing for drug and alcohol use was provided by Trimega Laboratories between 2010 and 2014 should note important advice from the Ministry of Justice. The advice is for all those concerned about potentially unreliable forensic toxicology tests.

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Financial remedies – spousal maintenance

This updated note on universal credit (UC) and its impact on spousal maintenance will be invaluable to practitioners advising clients in receipt of UC and other benefits. The guidance recites the background to the UC and links to what the author believes is the most recent roll-out guide to it.

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Children – foster care; vicarious liability

The LA had no non-delegable duty to ensure the reasonable care of fostered children. The Supreme Court has ruled that the LA was liable for the abuse perpetrated by the foster parents of the appellant (A).

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Financial remedies – indemnities

The court has power to order a party to make the mortgage repayments and other household outgoings, and to indemnify the other party against liability.

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Financial remedies – variation of undertakings

In this useful article, the author comments on a Supreme Court ruling on the court’s powers to vary undertakings, and its guidance on varying family orders. W applied to vary undertakings found in the consent order, including to discharge mortgage payments on a property, indemnify H, and to use her best endeavours to release him from the covenants under the mortgage.

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Procedure – hair strand testing

Important guidance for hair strand testing for cocaine has been given in a recent ruling in care proceedings involving an eight-month-old girl. In this case, M’s use of cocaine was the key factual dispute. M admitted that she had used cocaine previously, but was adamant she had not used it during the last two years.

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Financial remedies – family trusts

The High Court has highlighted the importance of considering whether family trust assets are available on divorce.

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Financial remedies – asset held by companies

Practitioners will welcome clarification as to when assets held by third parties can be taken into account on divorce. In this case (described as ‘titanic litigation’ by Bodey J), £18m-worth of land and buildings were held in a family company structure owned by H. A major issue was whether or not the beneficial interest in those assets was held by H.

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Adoption – register

The Adoption and Children Act Register (Search and Inspection) Regulations 2017 came into force on 2 November 2017. Under the Regulations, prospective adopters can undertake a search and inspection of the Adoption and Children Act Register. They must, however, be deemed suitable prospective adopters by an adoption agency before they can do so under Part 4 of the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005.

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