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07 November 2014

Family Law Review

Legal aid cuts denied mother a fair hearing, says senior judge

A senior family court judge has condemned the injustice of the newly pared-back legal aid system after an illiterate mother of four, with poor sight and hearing, was forced to represent herself in a court hearing over the custody of her children.

In an unusual step, Judge Louise Hallam warned that the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was not being given the opportunity of a fair trial and that she believed others around the country were also being let down.

Hallam told the hearing: “If legal aid is being refused to people such as this, I am satisfied that injustices will occur … Mothers in her situation should have proper and full access to the court with the assistance of legal advice.”

Read the full article here 

Adoption and access to family history

Life is a mysterious journey, often attended with hazards matching those in The Lord of the Rings. However, as TV programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are? illustrate, we all have a deep need to understand our place in the world and how we came to inhabit our own ‘mortal coil’. This can be particularly poignant for adopted people and their successors.

It fell to Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division, to unravel such an issue in a judgment handed down on 9 September.

The case (In the matter of X (Adopted Child: Access to Court File) [2014] EWFC 33) concerned an application by Y, the daughter of X who had been adopted in 1930 by Mr and Mrs C. Y sought access to the original court adoption file with a view to finding out more about X’s birth mother: who was she and which part of the country had X come from?

Relevant local authorities will be interested in this decision since (under section 3(1) of the Adoption and Children Act 2002) they have a duty to maintain adoption services meeting the needs of: (i) children who may be adopted, and their parents and guardians; (ii) those wishing to adopt a child; and (iii) adopted persons, their parents, natural parents and former guardians.

Read the full article here 

UK court annuls 180 Italian divorces registered to Maidenhead mailbox

Woman charged around €4,000 to arrange for couples to circumvent slow-moving Italian judicial system

Maidenhead might, until this week, have claimed to be the divorce capital of Italy. One hundred and eighty Italian couples whose marriages were dissolved through fictitious residence in the Berkshire town have now had their divorces annulled by a British judge.

The conspiracy to circumvent the slow-moving Italian judicial system was formally ended on Tuesday by the president of the family division of the high court, Sir James Munby.

Read the full article here 

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Family expertise includes every aspect of child and matrimonial proceedings, including finance and property distribution, Human Rights Act cases, all types of public and private child law cases including adoption and care proceedings, and Children Act matters, as well as mediation, separation and divorce. Chambers intends to further develop its existing areas of expertise through organic growth.

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