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PSL Essential Update – Big June 2015

Date:29 JUN 2015
This is the first instalment of our new monthly PSL Essential Update series, highlighting the most important news, articles and judgments to keep you fully informed of all the latest family law developments.

Big Vote

Fresh(ish) from the outcome of the election we wait to see what the Conservative government has in store and what impact any changes they may make will have on family law. Initially there was much made about replacing the Human Rights Act with a new British Bill of Rights however this has already been delayed – although there are still proposals to introduce reform. The government has expressed a desire to break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights and ensure judgments of the ECHR are deemed advisory only.

Big Book

The new Family Court Practice 2015 (the Red Book to its friends) is now out both online and in print, and the hard copies have been winging their way, hot off the press to their eager recipients. As ever, the latest edition contains all the essential materials withthe latest case-law, new and amended legislation, Practice Directions, guidance, annotated statutes and rules together with commentary and step-by-step procedural guides. A must for all family law practitioners and endorsed as ‘indispensable’ by the President of the Family Division Sir James Munby himself.

Big Celebrations

We hosted our annual Family Law Reception on 24th June at the Inner Temple in London. It was a lovely sunny evening attended by a host of distinguished guests and colleagues who contribute to Family Law. Our CEO Will Ricketts said:

'We are extremely fortunate to work with such talented writers, contributors and speakers many of whom are here this evening. May I say thank you to you. It is your professionalism and commitment that is at the heart of Family Law. You may remember that last year’s Reception followed the implementation of the single Family Court and the majority of the family justice provisions in the Children and Families Act had just come into force. This marked an extraordinary time for all of us here. At Jordan Publishing, we worked extremely hard to ensure that all necessary changes appeared in our major works and that we were able to publish soon afterwards in June. We look forward to exploring new projects and working with you in the year ahead.'

Big Cases

Sharland and Gohil were heard from the 8th to 10th June in the Supreme Court.Both cases concern alleged non-disclosure in financial proceedings with the applicant wives arguing the financial orders they agreed were based on information shared with the court which was later found to be false or incomplete. The cases raise a point of law of general public importance regarding the impact such misrepresentation may have on the setting aside of such orders. At present, an order won’t be set aside even when there has been material non-disclosure (and even if that non-disclosure was deliberate and dishonest) if the court would ultimately not have made a substantially different order had proper disclosure been given.

It is hoped that the Supreme Court will offer clear guidance for any future such cases, particularly for the many that would not have the funds or opportunity to take the matter through the stages of appeal in this way.

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Big Help

From the 1-7 June it was Volunteers’ Week with the nation taking time to celebrate the important contribution made by its volunteering community. Coincidentally this is when I started volunteering at the Personal Support Unit which has thus far been a great experience with a lovely bunch of dedicated people doing what they can to support the wealth of Litigants in Person. It is truly eye watering to see first-hand how many people need help with legal representation but have no access to it.

Big LiPs

No I’m not talking about cosmetic enhancements, I mean of course the Law Society Guidance about Litigants in Person which was handed down this month in recognition of the huge impact LiPs are having on practitioners and family proceedings in general. The guidelines have been developed by the Bar Council, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and the Law Society in response to the rising numbers of people representing themselves in court due to the cuts to legal aid. The guidelines discuss how far practitioners should go in explaining and helping LiPs without finding themselves in conflict with duties to their own client. The emphasis is on clear communication, avoiding technical legal jargon and signposting LiPs to a range of sources of advice and information.

Big News

In other news, see below for a list of ‘at a glance’ headlines of important items and articles you might have missed:
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