The Practical Lawyer


Procedure – serious case reviews

New guidance on judicial co-operation with serious case reviews (SCR), applicable to judges sitting in the Family Division or the Family Court, has been issued by the President of the Family Division. SCRs may, for instance, follow the death of a child where the local authority has had contact with the child.

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Procedure – TOLATA

The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) is not the preserve of the Chancery Court by any means, with trust law often arising in the family law context in a number of situations, including:

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Adoption order – fairness of procedure

An LA’s decision to place a child for adoption was quashed by the High Court because of procedural unfairness. By way of background, M applied for judicial review in relation to the fairness of the LA’s decision to place her daughter, aged six, for adoption on the grounds of procedural unfairness.

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Procedure – enforcement

In this case, F failed to make monthly payments to M following an order made in Poland. M believed that F was living and working in the UK, and applied for enforcement of the order under EU Council Regulation 4/2009. However, attempts to trace F had been unfruitful and he had not yet been served with an order to attend court.

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Procedure – enforcement of maintenance orders

The Official Solicitor’s office has published an updated list of reciprocating countries where parents can apply to enforce or change a child maintenance decision made in UK courts.

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Financial remedies – appeals

A succession of appeals by W has failed following a consent order, by which periodical maintenance payments were to be paid to W for a fixed term. The consent order stated their intention that W would be financially independent within five years of the date of the order.

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Procedure – translation costs

Opposing sides must collaborate to avoid time-consuming satellite litigation, the Court of Appeal has directed, where there is an issue of the costs of translation in pubic law children proceedings.

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Procedure – divorce petitions

In the high-profile Owens v Owens case, W unsuccessfully petitioned for divorce. Her petition was founded on s1(2)(b) MCA. Even though the judge found as a matter of fact that the marriage had broken down, W had failed to prove H had behaved in such a way that W cannot reasonably be expected to live with him. Her appeal also failed.

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Procedure – forms

From 6 April 2017, 18 new and amended forms are in force – notably covering declaration of parentage, enforcement and protective orders. The forms, published by the Family Procedure Rules Committee, are as follows:

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Domestic violence – criminal behaviour order

A CBO is available on conviction for any criminal offence in the criminal courts and is aimed at tackling the most serious and persistent offenders before the court.

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