The Practical Lawyer


Children – guardians

A Law Society practice note gives useful guidance for practitioners appointed by the court to represent children in proceedings in the case of delays between the order appointing a children’s guardian in specified proceedings, and the allocation of a children’s guardian. The guidance is aimed at all solicitors representing children in public family law proceedings.

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Abduction – return order

M sought the return of her two very young children from Madagascar where they were living with F after he wrongfully removed them from the UK. The children are UK citizens and have UK passports and are entitled to Madagascan citizenship. F is a UK and Madagascan citizen and was living in the UK when the parties married in 2012, and M is an Indian citizen who came to the UK on a student visa in 2011.

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Financial remedies – settlements

W made her acceptance of the terms of a financial settlement conditional on H having made full and frank disclosure of all his assets at the time, the Court of Appeal has ruled. H’s failure to provide full and frank disclosure meant the settlement could be reopened.

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Children – surrogacy

The difficulties that can particularly arise where same-sex couples choose to become parents are illustrated in a recent case. The background to this case is somewhat complex. Two men in a civil partnership had twins born in 2013 to a surrogate. A is the biological father, and he and B wanted another child using the gametes of the woman who donated the eggs for the twins’ conception.

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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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