non-molestation orders

Non-molestation orders data under review

Since 2013, when LASPO came into force, it has been reported by the National Audit Office that up to 80% of private family law cases before the courts involve at least one party that has no legal representation. This is an increase of some 30%, or approximately 18,500 families per year, on pre-LASPO levels. Within this same time frame, the …

partnership

Civil partnership to be made open to all

Civil partnership is to be available to heterosexual couples following the recent Supreme Court case of Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for International Development [2018]. Many family law practitioners had urged the government to extend the scope of civil partnership after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Steinfeld and Keidan, wherein the court found that there was no justification for the discrimination …

transparency

Transparency on the increase in family courts

Running from 1 October 2018 until 30 June 2019, family law courts in England Wales are now operating a pilot for “duly authorised” lawyers to “blog” about report on private hearings. However, there are still some restrictions and rules in place to protect the parties’ privacy. The greater transparency of these hearings is operating for a pilot period, with rules set …

skype

Skype the answer to modern day court user needs

In his retirement speech at the Royal Courts of Justice, outgoing President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby suggested that members of the public should be asked if they want to go to a physical court building or simply talk to the judge via Skype “…from their kitchen…”. Sir James Munby went on to state that “…anyone who thinks …

petition

Tini Owens loses divorce petition fight at Supreme Court

Tini Owens has lost a Supreme Court appeal to be granted a divorce because she said her marriage was unhappy. In May 2015 Mrs Owens issued a divorce petition which has been the subject of a great number of court hearings, concluding in the Supreme Court proceedings. Mrs Owens’ petition was based upon section 1(2)(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, in which …

civil

Marriage and civil partnerships soon open to all?

This week, the Supreme Court ruled that restricting civil partnerships exclusively to same-sex couples is discriminatory, putting the government under significant pressure to allow heterosexual couples to enter into the same unions. The court found unanimously in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, confirming that their human rights had been breached in not being able to enter into a civil …

settlement

Court reject claim for financial settlement 27 years after separation

In the recently reported case of  A v B (No 2) [2018], the court concluded that a former husband, who brought an application for financial remedy 26 years after the grant of decree nisi, did not merit any financial provision. The parties had met in 1980 and married in 1983, later having two children in 1986 and 1989.  The marriage broke …

family

The end of the nuclear family

Sir James Munby, the president of the High Court’s family division made a speech at Liverpool University in honour of 20th century social reformer, Eleanor Rathbone, earlier this week in which he called for family law to “adapt itself to these realities” and described the pace of change “maddeningly slow”. He went on to say that the modern British family was complex …

LASPO

LASPO fallout – mediation failing to relieve the court’s workload

Between October and December 2017, mediation instructions fell by 15%, when compared to the same period in 2016, with the total number of initial mediation instructions currently standing at around 1,500 – the lowest  number of initial instructions in any quarter since the implementation of the LASPO Act. Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) during this same period were down …

unmarried

Calls for unmarried couples reform marches on

Momentum for a change in the law affecting unmarried couples has gathered pace in recent years, reflecting the status of unmarried couples as the fastest growing relationship type in England and Wales, which has doubled in the last 20 years. Unmarried couples living up and down the land appear to be widely unaware that they are at risk of financial …