The Practical Lawyer


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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Public law – parents with learning disabilities

What’s the correct focus for public law arguments in support of parents with learning disabilities being allowed to care for their children? This is the question addressed by the author, who highlights the challenges presented by proceedings involving the local authority – and parents with learning disabilities who have a newborn, or very young children. Typically, the LA is concerned at the mother’s ability to cope with caring for them, so issues care proceedings.  

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Procedure – freezing injunction; Family Court

In a money case, it is impossible to conceive of any circumstances where an application for a freezing order should be heard in the High Court, rather than the Family Court. An application for a freezing order should only be determined in the Family Court.  

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Financial remedies – non-matrimonial property

The court is not required to adopt a formulaic approach in relation to non-matrimonial property when determining a claim by application of the sharing principle.  

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Children – adoption

A judgment taking a ‘linear structure’ does not itself make the judge’s analysis or ruling wrong. In this case, care and placement orders were made in respect of a child, and M appealed.  

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Public law – deprivation of liberty

The local authority applied for Deprivation of Liberty and Secure Accommodation Orders in relation to a dysfunctional 14-year-old boy. He was already the subject of a care order and placed in a residential unit. However, the boy absconded and was later found by police in a drugs den, and was working as a drugs courier. He already had a criminal record, and was facing robbery charges.  

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Procedure – HFEA

There have been a number of rulings involving administrative failures in the completion and signing of forms by clinics before applications under the HFEA 2008, with legal implications for the applicants. In a recent case, the court had to consider a particular issue for the first time and, while doing so, acknowledge once again the profoundly distressing impact on those unwittingly caught up in these kinds of cases.  

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Procedure – children; domestic violence

A new Practice Direction 12J (Child Arrangements and Contact Orders: Domestic Abuse and Harm) has been issued by the President of the Family Division. Following an earlier review of PD12J by Cobb J, his report was published in January 2017 and its recommendations were all (with one exception) accepted by the President.  

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Constructive trusts – property
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Last year, we had county court claims in Cardiff and Truro in which it was held that the encroachment of Japanese knotweed would be actionable as a ‘private nuisance’. The Cardiff cases have now... Read more...
Procedure – expert witnesses
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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. Read more...
Self-employed – or worker?
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The Pimlico Plumbers case was seen as a victory for workers in the gig economy, with the Supreme Court looking at the reality of the relationship (rather than the legal labels attached). So, what... Read more...
Offences – mens rea
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This was a pre-trial appeal of a ruling at a preparatory hearing. The two appellants (A) faced charges under s17 Terrorism Act 2000 of sending money overseas, or arranging to do so, knowing or having... Read more...


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