Family Law News Review

As we approach the Easter break, we thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to reflect on how family law matters have progressed so far in 2017, revisiting some of the hot news topics.

The Telegraph has recently picked up on a theme which Hunter and Uro were commenting upon in May and June 2016 – the increased use of recording devices in family law matters, particularly those involving children. Almost inevitably, given the ease with which individuals can now use such technology that was the preserve of spy films only 15 years ago, court guidance will be required to dissuade parents using mobile phone and tablet devices in circumstances that may have an adverse effect on the children.

Ultimately, the children’s welfare is and will remain the court’s greatest concern. Their view on the impact of a parent recording conversations, openly or surreptitiously, can only be made on a case by case basis. However, this should not inhibit the court from proferring guidance to parents and practitioners alike on the subject.

Hunter and Uro recently reported on the latest “big money” settlement, involving Pauline Chai and Khoo Kay Peng, boss of Laura Ashley. Following a recent ruling in the High Court, Mrs Chai will receive in the region of £64 million as settlement to the parties’ 42 year long marriage. The settlement sees an ended to bitterly contested proceedings, with the parties alleged in the news to have spent £6 million on legal fees between them.

The judgment is expected shortly and will add a further layer of discussion to two hot, legal topics: privacy in proceedings and special contributions to a marriage. Hunter and Uro will be commenting on both issues when the judgment is set down.

Finally, the matter of Tini Owens, who failed in her bid to divorce and the grounds of her husband’s alleged unreasonable behaviour. The ruling was widely reported in the news and wider media. Mrs Owens’ failure to progress proceedings on the basis of her husband’s behaviour has renewed calls for “no-fault” based divorce.  Hunter and Uro has long supported Resolution’s call for a no fault divorce system and will continue to lobby on this subject until a change in the law that reduces conflict and dispute is adopted.

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