Tag Archives: Legal News

Support or Substitution? A Local Authority’s Duties Towards Parents with Learning Disabilities

A Local Authority v G (Parent with Learning Disability) [2017] EWFC B94
A recent judgment considered the correct approach in care cases where one or both of the parents suffer from learning disabilities.
The court was concerned with a girl aged 3 and a boy aged 19 months. The mother suffered from mild learning difficulties, with an IQ of 57 and partial deafness. The father was the mother’s registered carer but suffered himself from depression and stress.
His Honour Judge Dancey considered the authorities and derived the basic principles [at paragraph 35] that adults with learning difficulties can often be ‘good enough’ parents with sufficient support and that professionals and family law courts must focus on providing that support rather than removing children from their parents’ care.
The Judge warned against both direct and indirect …

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Financial Remedies Courts Coming to Chelmsford

In the 18th View from the President’s Chambers, the President of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales, Sir James Munby, has set out in some detail his plans for the new Financial Remedies Courts (‘FRCs’), including plans to pilot the scheme in the South-East as early as Easter 2018.
On 1st December 2017, the President announced plans to introduce specialist courts to deal with financial remedies, which will include claims under:
- The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
- Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989
- Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984
- The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
- The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996
We now know that the first three pilots of these new Financial Remedies Courts, in London, the West Midlands, and South-East Wales, are e…

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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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Employment Law and the ‘Gig’ Economy

News emerged this month that Theresa May has ordered a review into workers’ rights. The review, which is to be conducted by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of the Arts, will look into the growth in “non-standard forms of employment” such as self-employment, temping and zero-hours contracts. It will analyse how these ‘flexible’ employment options result in some workers losing out employment rights.
What defines an ‘employee’?
One of the major issues lies in the way that employment law differentiates between employees, workers and the self-employed. When you are considered an employee, you are entitled to certain rights including national minimum wage, paid holiday and sick pay. Workers receive a similar level of protection.
In contrast, those who are considered self-employed don’t benefit from these rights. …

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Trinity Chambers Recommended in Legal 500 2016

The Legal 500 rankings, which acknowledge the performance of leading law firms across the UK, have recently been published, and we are delighted that Trinity Chambers has been recognised as one of the region’s leading sets.
The Legal 500 is an annual publication that ranks UK law firms and individual lawyers based on a strict set of criteria. They conduct extensive research into a range of legal areas and evaluate law firms by considering a number of factors including reputation and client feedback.
It is therefore an honour to be featured among the elite chambers in Essex, a testament to our strong work ethic and commitment to our clients.
Individual Excellence
In addition to this prestigious accolade, four barristers at Trinity Chambers have been recognised for their individual expertise. Andrew Bailey, Tina Harrington, Josephine Spratt-Da…

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Robot Marriage – Is it Legally Viable?

Never one to dodge an argument, Janet Bettle (barrister in all aspects of family law) has attracted controversy for an uncompromising article published in Family Law Week.
In “With this diode, I thee wed”: Marrying robots and what this tells us about 21st century marriage, Janet collaborated with Jonathan Herring, Professor of Law at Exeter College, University of Oxford to examine the nature of marriage and how it may evolve.
Dan Cashman tweeted that the article made for ‘uncomfortable reading’; the Catholic organization the Iona Institute criticised the article. Salvomag said the question raised was ‘intriguing’ and predicted that ‘Once social robots do become mainstream, it will also only be a matter of time before someone wishes to challenge the laws that might prevent a person marrying their robot companion.’
What’s all t…

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Holiday pay claims – how will Lock vs. British Gas Trading Ltd affect you?

August is typically a popular time for holidaymakers as many take advantage of the summer sun, trading the pressures of work for adventures abroad. Almost all workers in the UK have the right to at least 5.6 weeks paid holiday each year, although a significant case currently proceeding through the courts could dramatically impact upon the amount of holiday-time equates to paid vacation and on what basis.
Lock vs. British Gas Trading Ltd recently resurfaced in the Court of Appeal after first appearing at tribunal in April 2012. This dispute brought forward by Mr Lock, a British Gas salesman, argued that he should have commission considered when calculating his holiday pay. He claimed that 60% of his typical salary was based on commission, but his wage while on holiday was reduced to its basic structure.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) reac…

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Court Of Protection Launch Case Management Pilot Practice Direction

The Court of Protection has initiated a new Case Management Pilot Practice Direction, which will commence officially on 1 September 2016 for an expected duration of up to 12 months. The pilot scheme is divided into three pathways in relation to CoP proceedings, these being Property and Affairs, Health and Welfare, and a hybrid pathway that encompasses elements of both property and health.
This scheme has a number of significant aims to improve the speed and consistency of cases held in the CoP. Applicants will be obliged to provide improved analysis of their claim at the start of the case, allowing for their advocates to provide more robust case management decisions. This also allows for any issues to be acknowledged at the outset of proceedings and handled appropriately.
The pilot direction encourages the early resolution of cases as a means …

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Family Assistance Orders: Could more use be made of them?

Gabrielle Jan Posner, Barrister and Recorder, Trinity Chambers Chelmsford, draws practitioners’ attention to a resource underused in both private and public law children cases.
Section 16 of the Children Act 1989 enables a court to make a family assistance order requiring a Cafcass officer or an officer from a local authority to advise, assist (and where appropriate) befriend any person named in the order. For a long time now I have been of the view that family assistance orders are a valuable and underused tool in both private and public law children’s cases. I suspect the reason they are underused is that you cannot apply for them. You can ask in your application for one to be made alongside another order, but the rules do not allow for making an application solely seeking a family assistance order.
Family assistance orders tend to b…

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