The Practical Lawyer


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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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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