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Posts Tagged ‘cases’

Family Courts in the dock

Hat Tip to John Bolch at Family Lore for this story on a class action against ‘The Family Courts’ in the Hague. How – urm…audacious. I hope there is more substance to this suit than is apparent from either the company organising the action or this Telegraph article, from which one might form the impression that it is lawful or commonplace to remove children on the sole basis of a risk of future harm without proving any base facts. I think perhaps somebody should send them a copy of Re B [2008] UKHL 35.

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snake

the aptly named rat snake (thanks to Cotinis on flickr)

Andrew Commins, a colleague in chambers, has written an interesting article for Family Law Week on the impact of remarriage on variation applications by the ex spouse. I particularly like the mental image described in the extract from Delaney v Delaney [1991] 2 FLR 457, CA, that the court will deprecate “any notion that a former husband and extant father may slough off the tight skin of familial responsibility and…slither into and lose himself in the greener grass on the other side...” (Delaney, at page 461E).

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Fork tongued husbands be warned…

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Nearly Legal flags up new guidance following two judgments in the European Court concerning the rights of the children of migrant workers to education. This is important because where the right exists the parent and primary carer of the child will be entitled to benefits and homelessness assistance that they might otherwise not have been able to access. This is not the sort of stuff you want to read for fun unless you really need to get to grips with the issues for the benefit of a particular client (and I don’t so I haven’t), but do be aware that these judgments may give clients in a vulnerable financial position access to financial and other assistance that a local authority / benefits agency might have refused them in the past.

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Just a signpost to a useful summary of the legal position regarding negligence claims against local authorities / social workers in relation to child protection matters, recently published on the Community Care website.

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Family Lore has alerted me to this curious decision of Lord Justice Wall on permission (RW v SW [2010] EWCA Civ 457 (29 April 2010)). Wall LJ adjourned off a father’s application for permission to appeal to a two judge court notwithstanding the fact that his own view was that the appeal had no reasonable prospect of success, on the sole basis that the father is ‘one of many who feel let down by the system’.

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Hmmm…I admire the sentiment – it is important that all groups of litigants in the family justice system should feel that their case has been dealt with thoroughly – but is it right as a matter of principle that those that complain the loudest should get special consideration? Unusually in this case there is no public or private expense in the form of legal costs as the appellant father was in person and the mother (as is usual with permission applications) was not involved at that stage. However there IS a not insignificant expense no doubt to Her Majesty’s Court Service and judicial time is being taken from something else when the permission application has already been thoroughly considered. What if the two judge court disagrees with Lord Justice Wall and grants permission? Would not the Mother have cause to complain that the Father had been given two bites of the cherry? Certainly if the boot were on the other foot there would be uproar about discrimination against fathers.

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This judgment makes me uneasy. Thoughts?

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I’m used to being kicked discreetly by my solicitor when I say something stupid in court (joke) but I have other distractions at the moment, such as a lack of anywhere to expand my lungs, a foot lodged under my ribs and the constant need that clients and opponents currently have to double check ‘you’re not about to have it now are you?’. Not to mention the urgent need to go to the loo five minutes into every hearing. But hey, I take it all in my (penguin) stride.

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The lovely security guard at Bristol has told me I’m ‘blooming, no really blooming’ (transl: wow you are MASSIVE) fifty times if she’s told me once, my client last week compared me to a skittle, and in certain courts I can’t fit behind the bench without almost toppling backwards into plebs row.

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It won’t be long now. Of course I will keep blogging (in fact I was strangely prolific last time I was on maternity leave), but this is just to say: if you notice a gap in posting don’t go away for ever. I will be back and I expect you lot to be too.

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But for now at least, I am still rolling (quite literally) from one hearing to the next, reassuring all my clients that they are getting two heads for the price of one, and a funny walk to cheer them up.

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A father in Jersey has issued an action against his ex-wife to compel her to give their healthy 9 year old the swine flu jab, reports the Telegraph. What’s the greater risk – swine flu or parents who resolve every dispute by way of litigation? There’s no innoculation to protect against the harmful effects of parental acrimony.

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