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Children – public law

An adoption order was made in circumstances where there were far more risks and uncertainties in moving the child from the adoptive placement to her birth placement than leaving her where she was.

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Legal aid – domestic violence

The five-year time limit on evidence of abuse which prevented vulnerable victims of domestic violence from securing legal aid for court hearings has been removed. This means more victims will be able to bring a claim.

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Procedure – MCA and deprivation of liberty

New guidance has been published in relation to deprivation of liberty and the Mental Capacity Act, in the context of intensive care unit settings. The guidance follows the Court of Appeal ruling in Ferreira in which a patient had a ‘severe mental impairment’ and died in an ICU. It was found that she was not in ‘state detention’ and she had not been deprived of her liberty under Article 5(1) ECHR. Arden LJ held that save in certain special circumstances, DoLs do not apply in the administration of life-saving treatment.

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Procedure – occupation and non-molestation orders

Changes under the Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2017 relate to applications for occupation and non-molestation orders with effect from 6 April 2017. The rules amend the FPR Parts 10 (applications under Part 4 FLA) and 11 (applications under Part 4A FLA) respectively to:

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Child maintenance – child support

F succeeded in his appeal in respect of liability to continue to pay child support for his daughter (D) once she was in full-time work. There had been an error in law on the part of the First-Tier Tribunal which had failed to investigate the factual matter of whether she had, in fact, been working; and whether child benefit was therefore properly or lawfully payable.

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Financial remedies – property

What effect does someone’s bankruptcy and declaration of trust have on a spouse’s beneficial interest in the bankrupt’s property which arose out of an existing consent order? A consent order was made in 2009 by which W was to be paid a lump sum in three instalments. He paid two instalments but failed to pay the third.

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Divorce – irretrievable breakdown

W unsuccessfully appealed the refusal to grant her a decree nisi, even though the judge at the Central Family Court had correctly concluded that the marriage has broken down as a matter of fact.

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Jurisdiction – children; passports

The High Court postponed the renewal of two children’s passports by their father until M had the opportunity to apply to the Australian court. In this case, the children had been living with their father (F) in Australia. He had abducted the children 12 years previously.

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Financial remedies – maintenance, needs and fairness

In this useful article, the author considers the issue of ‘fairness’ in relation to maintenance and variations of maintenance. The article is written particularly in light of the recent Court of Appeal ruling in Mills v Mills (unpublished at the time of writing) in which Mr Mills was ordered to increase his monthly maintenance payments to Mrs Mills even though they divorced more than 15 years ago.

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Procedure – Cafcass

A local practice direction issued by the Family Court reflects the increasingly stretched resources of Cafcass. This PD, produced in consultation with judges at the CFC and the Family Division Liaison Judge, is to apply until further notice, as follows:

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