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.
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.
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,
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.
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
extremely fortunate to work with such talented writers, contributors and
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.'
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.
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
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.
No I’m not talking about cosmetic enhancements, I mean of
course the Law Society Guidance about Litigants
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
In other news, see below for a list of ‘at a glance’
headlines of important items and articles you might have missed: Follow Amy Sanders on Twitter @Amy_Sanders1