28 OCT 2014

When will the Supreme Court put us out of our Payne? (£)

When will the Supreme Court put us out of our Payne? (£)
Family Law

EDWARD DEVEREUX and ROB GEORGE, Barristers, Harcourt Chambers

There was a time, not so long ago, when almost anyone in the family justice system you asked would name international relocation law as the area of child law that was most urgently in need of reform. Then came the Court of Appeal’s decisions in K v K (International Relocation: Shared Care Arrangement) [2011] EWCA Civ 793, [2012] 2 FLR 880 and Re F (Relocation) [2012] EWCA Civ 1364, [2013] 1 FLR 645, which took much of the heat out of the relocation debate. Since then, the pressure to reform relocation law has, to some extent, dissipated, but in this article we argue that the need for a re-think remains as pressing as ever. K v K, in particular, was a good first step, reminding judges and practitioners that Payne v Payne [2001] EWCA Civ 166, [2001] 1 FLR 1052 contains guidance, and is designed to help judges reach the welfare solution rather than to impose a solution on them. But what it definitely was not, was the end of the reign of Payne. That controversial decision, with the many flaws that have been pointed out by others before us, remains the centrepiece of relocation law, and even with its wings clipped by K v K it remains an out-dated and unhelpful authority, unsuited to modern-day parenting practices and children’s lives.

The full version of this article appears in the November 2014 issue of Family Law.

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