LAW BLOG

Inheritance (Provision for Family Dependents) Act 1975: A Caution Over Moral Claims

In the recent case of Ball v Ball 2017 EWHC 1750 Ch, the High Court rejected a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 (IPFDA) made by three adult children against their mother’s estate.
The IPFDA allows the court to provide further financial provisions for family and dependents who have been left out of a will, been left with less than they thought due, or if no will had been written prior to death. This includes, but is not limited to, the spouse of the deceased, the deceased’s children, and dependants maintained by the deceased.
In this particular case, the mother had disinherited three of her children for reporting their father to the police for indecent assault offences, for which the father was later convicted. The mother, who was not the abuser, had a clear intention for the 20 years following the …

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Statutory Demands: Creditor faces costs order even when they were entitled to serve the statutory demand

Dunhill v Hughmans (A Firm) [2017] EWHC 2073 (Ch)
The High Court has recently held that although a creditor was ‘entitled’ to serve its statutory demand when it did, it had not been ‘appropriate’ to do so. Accordingly, the creditor was liable for the debtor’s costs of applying to set aside.
The court held that the creditor was entitled to serve its statutory demand upon obtaining summary judgment. However, it went on to consider that entitlement against the appropriateness of doing so when the creditor knew the debtor was seeking permission to appeal.
Upon the debtor’s appeal being allowed, the creditor proposed withdrawing its statutory demand with no order as to costs. The court held that it was reasonable for the debtor to reject that proposal. The debtor was therefore entitled to her costs.
This is a reminder that creditors mus…

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Don’t (Let the Court) Be Blinded By Science

In this article, Family Law expert David O’Brien discusses one of his cases that brought into question the sole use of hair strand testing as determinative scientific evidence and why the results of such tests might not always be as they first seem.
I recently acted for a 37-year-old mother in care proceedings in respect of her 4th child (BB). The mother’s three other children had been permanently removed from her care during two previous court cases.
Sadly, the mother had been addicted to amphetamines from the age of 16 and had a long history of alcohol misuse and mental health difficulties, with suicidal and self-harm ideations.
All of the mother’s relationships had been categorised by domestic violence and the police had been called to over seven “domestics” in the year prior to the mother discovering she was pregnant with BB. The…

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A Review of Landlords’ Right to Rent Obligations

The Immigration Act 2014 saw the introduction of new Right to Rent obligations for landlords and managing agents, who are now required to check that their tenants are legally eligible to live in the rented property. Failure to comply could see landlords fined up to £3,000 and following The Immigration Act 2016 amendments, possibly convicted of a criminal offence.
18 months on from the Act, the House of Commons briefing paper has highlighted concerns about private landlords’ awareness of these duties.
There are three types of ‘rights to rent’ under the 2014 Act:

The ‘unlimited’ right to rent which applies to British citizens, EES and Swiss nationals and those who have been given indefinite leave to remain in the UK;
The ‘time-limited’ right to rent which applies to those who are entitled to remain in …

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The New Cafcass Guidance on the Use of Professional Time

In her latest article for Family Law Week, Gabrielle Jan Posner considers Cafcass’s response to the record levels of demand for its services.
Read it here: bit.ly/GJPCafcassGuidance.

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Family Law FAQ: Divorce

According to the Holmes and Rahe scale, getting a divorce is the second most stressful life event, after the death of spouse. We don’t get married with the expectation of later getting divorced and most are entirely unprepared for this outcome, with little knowledge of the processes and factors involved.
Further daunted by the prospect of paying court and representation fees, some may be tempted by the numerous websites offering ‘DIY divorces’, which boast low costs and quick results. However, without the guidance and experience of a legal professional, you could end up worse off in the long run. The knowledge and skill a legal professional brings to the table ensures that you receive the right information and benefit from their connections to other professionals. Plus, every divorce is different – there’s no set way to handle it. Wo…

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Family Law: Enforcing Contact Orders

This article is about what you can do if you have a court order to see your child, but your ex-partner breaks that order and won’t let you see them. If contact is stopped in breach of an order, it is vital that the case is brought back to court promptly. Any delay plays straight into the hands of the person in breach of the order by enabling them to work on the child so as to make it more difficult to re-establish contact.
There are a number of technicalities involved and the process can be a tricky one. If you do not want, or cannot afford, to instruct a solicitor you might consider having a direct access barrister to assist you for some or all of the process.
Our Direct Access Barristers are skilled in negotiation and advocacy. Plus, they can help you to draft applications and statements. Call us on 01245 605040 to arrange an initial meeti…

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Family Law FAQ: Child Custody

Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as ‘custody’ in English law anymore. This is an outdated term which has since been replaced by the concept of child arrangements orders and parental responsibility. The fact that many parents still understand the process of arranging their child’s living arrangements following separation or divorce as getting custody is a testament to the generally murky understanding of this area of family law.
Divorce and separation are emotionally taxing processes for all, especially any children involved. Naturally, parents wish to carry out the necessary arrangements with as a little disruption to their child’s life as possible. We’ve gathered a series of common questions our barristers have been posed by parents and devised answers to them, to make sure your understanding of child arrangements orders is…

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New Article by Gabrielle Jan Posner Published on Family Law Week

In her latest article for Family Law Week, Gabrielle, one of our family law experts, highlights that within private law children’s proceedings, Child Contact Interventions can be an extremely effective tool in resolving disputes about contact arrangements. She argues that more use should be made of them and shares her top tips for achieving a successful outcome.
To read the full article on Family Law Week, click here: bit.ly/GJPChildContactInterventions.

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Family Law Jargon Buster

Divorce or separation is said to be the second most stressful event in a person’s life after the death of a spouse. If you and your ex husband/wife/partner cannot agree about the arrangements for your child(ren) and/or are not able to agree about your finances, the prospect of having to go to court to sort it out may seem very daunting and is probably adding to your stress levels.
This is why there are initiatives designed to resolve divorce and other family law proceedings without having to go to court, such as mediation and arbitration.
Recently, there has been a real effort to make court proceedings more accessible and to use plain language. In one case last year, when the judgment was to be read by a young person, an esteemed High Court Judge spoke in simple sentences and put in emojis. Family judges have come a long way from the cantank…

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