The Ministry of Justice has announced that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (DDSA 2020), which received Royal Assent on 25 June 2020, will now have a commencement date of 6 April 2022....
Well, not quite the sudden influx of cases I had imagined but still a pretty interesting week.
A particular highlight was N v C  EWHC 399 (Fam),  FLR forthcoming, which seemed a suitably just decision to refuse the mother’s Sch 1 application following the child’s change of primary residence from the mother to the father who was already providing the mother with accommodation. She sought a further £200,000 for refurbishment works plus a maintenance order of £2,200 per month. Which begs the question, how was this provision to be of any benefit to the child? In addition, the father had already made several generous offers to settle, all of which had been refused by the mother. In case further incentive, beyond the law, was needed to read the full judgment the father was also a famous musician!
Meanwhile in the Court of Appeal, the decision of Re P-S  EWCA Civ 223,  FLR forthcoming, concerned a 15-year-old boy who appealed a final care order on the basis that he should have been provided with the opportunity to give oral evidence to make the strength of his objections known. The appeal was dismissed in circumstances where it was clear that the judge had been made aware of the boy’s feelings and had duly taken that factor into account. However, the ‘the bleak fact was that this was a feckless mother who put her own needs before those of the children’. The CA held that the judge, having found the threshold crossed, was left with no alternative but to grant the care order.
On an international note, the judgment in Re T (A Child: Art 15, Brussels II Revised)  EWHC 521 (Fam),  FLR forthcoming, concerned a Slovakian underage mother who fled to the UK from a children’s home in Slovakia. Care proceedings were underway in England when the Slovakian authorities made a request for a return of the mother and baby claiming that they remained habitually resident there and that the mother was still the subject of an order issued by the Slovakian courts which was entitled to recognition and enforcement in this jurisdiction. Mostyn J held that while the mother was indeed still habitually resident in Slovakia, the child had not spent a day there and, therefore, applying the binding authority of ZA and PA v NA (Abduction: Habitual Residence)  EWCA Civ 1396,  FLR forthcoming, this was one of the rare cases where the child had no place of habitual residence. All the requirements of Art 15 were satisfied on the facts of the case and a transfer request would be made.
For fuller coverage of this week’s and previous weeks’ cases – click here.
I hope everyone has an enjoyable Easter break and I look forward to another action-packed judicial term!