Family Law

Family law no island: Statutory charge or Pyrrhic damages

Points of Law

Continuing his series discussing the impact on family law and practice of legal developments in other areas, David Burrows considers the origins of the legal aid statutory charge in an old common law remedy developed in cases by reference to which the statutory provisions should still be construed.

Human Rights Act 1998 damages and legal aid

It is often said the old jokes are the best. So it is of case law; but only occasionally of wine. Of the legal aid statutory …

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“Setting a precedent” – what does it actually mean? (Transparency Project)

In this guest post from the Transparency Project, barrister Lucy Reed explains the doctrine of precedent and how it works in practice, correcting a mistake made by more than one newspaper recently in reporting the financial dispute arising out of a divorce.

 

On 27 February 2017 The Telegraph reported on an ongoing appeal in the Court of Appeal by a wealthy wife (Mrs Sharp) in respect of the financial order made following her divorce. Continue Reading

Guilty until proven innocent? — Lecture by Professor Jo Delahunty QC

Giving the second of a series of lectures at Gresham College on the difference between crime and family law proceedings, Jo Delahunty QC spoke about the use of expert medical evidence in cases concerning the death or serious injury of a child. She explored, by way of example, one of her own most challenging cases, that of baby Jayden Wray, in which severe rickets and vitamin D deficiency could have accounted for what at first seemed a case of gross …

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Family law no island (5): Precedent — a search for certainty in law

Points of Law

David Burrows continues his series discussing the impact on family law and practice of legal developments in other areas, with the first of two articles on the common law doctrine of precedent.

1. Precedent: a search for certainty in law Certainty and the law

In his Sir David Williams lecture The Rule of Law 2016 (PDF) Lord Bingham nominated as his first ‘sub rule’ for his definition of rule of law, that the law must be clear and accessible:

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Family law no island (4): A metwand for family proceedings — common law and vulnerable witnesses

Points of Law

Continuing his series discussing the impact on family law and practice of legal developments in other areas, David Burrows questions Sir James Munby’s recent announcement that primary legislation is required to remedy the situation in which the victim of alleged abuse can face cross-examination by their alleged abuser in the family courts in a manner not permitted in the criminal courts. He suggests there is already a solution available under existing case law and statute.

Evidence of …

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Court of Protection – Paul Briggs case on withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment

This week the Court of Protection, sitting in Manchester, has been hearing a case about a policeman, Paul Briggs, whose wife, Lindsey Briggs has applied to the court for withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment (the feeding tube) that she no longer believes is in her husband’s best interests.

Mr Briggs suffered severe brain damage in a crash in July 2015 and is now in a minimally conscious state.  The “best case scenario” for his recovery …

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Family law no island (3): Criminal contempt, private lives and children proceedings

Points of Law

Continuing his series discussing the impact on family law and practice of reported cases arising in other areas of law, David Burrows considers contempt of court and limitations of the freedom to report on matters of public interest being litigated in court, particularly where they affect children.

 

Beyond ‘fair and temperate criticism’

A spectrum of contempt proceedings applies “criminal contempt” (as defined by Lord Diplock, see below) to protection of privacy of children and other protected parties. And contempt is …

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Family law no island (2): Release of family courts hearing documents

Points of Law

Continuing his series discussing the impact on family law and practice of reported cases arising in other areas of law, David Burrows considers some of the implications of the drive for greater transparency  in the family courts.

 

Common law: to make sense of the proceedings

Transparency of family courts is a real concern for Sir James Munby P. Law reports provide a litany of judgments as his developing guide to open court principles balanced against the confidentiality appropriate in many …

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Family law: no island entire unto itself

Points of Law

In a series of posts on this blog, David Burrows will be discussing the impact on family law and practice of reported cases arising in other areas of law. As he explains in this introduction to the series, family law is not an isolated, self-contained jurisdiction, but forms part of the general law, with which it must conform.

Case law through a family law prism

No area of legal specialisation is an island entire unto itself. This …

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Old Case Law to Construe a New Rule

Points of Law

Set aside: a new rule for financial relief proceedings

By David Burrows

It cannot often be that you need a seventy-year old case to construe a brand new statutory provision; but the recent addition of rule 9.9A to the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (application to set aside a financial remedy order) makes such a demand: see Peek v Peek [1948] P 46 (pdf); [1947] 2 All ER 578 (PDA Div Ct: Lord Merriman P and Wallington J).

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