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PSL Essential Update - Roundup for October 2015

Date:30 OCT 2015
October has been an action-packed month for family law. From Supreme Court judgments to an array of conferences and the event which has been described as the family law equivalent of the Oscars - the Family Law Awards. This update is packed with the events over a very busy October.

Supreme Court judgments in Sharland and Gohil

On 14 October the Supreme Court handed down judgments in favour of two wives whose husbands had failed to properly disclose their assets in financial remedy proceedings. Sharland v Sharland [2015] UKSC 60 will now return to the High Court for further directions whilst Moylan J's order in Gohil v Gohil [2015] UKSC 61 was reinstated.

Jordan Publishing PSL Amy Royce-Greensill has helpfully provided summaries of Sharland and Gohil in a nutshell and Hayley Trim of Irwin Mitchell, who represented both wives, has also provided her insight.

Family Law Conference

The action-packed and insightful Family Law Conference 2015 was chaired byNicholas Francis QC. The keynote speaker was The Rt Hon Lady Justice King DBE, who addressed the delegates on such issues as the need for litigants in person to comply with the rules as much as any other party. She also noted that every week there are solicitors appearing before her acting pro bono, which struck a chord with many delegates following the recent LASPO changes to legal aid eligibility.

The morning's speakers included Piers Pressdee QC, who covered recent developments in Private Children law, Martin Loxley and Grant Howell, who covered Resolving Finance cases and Christopher Wagstaffe QC, who covered 'Essential Hot Topics - the importance of being earnest' on the subject of disclosure - very topical, albeit that the decision in Sharland and Gohil had yet to be handed down at that stage.

The afternoon was kicked off by District Judge Julie Exton, who provided a very enlightening session on the work of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court. She was followed by His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC, discussing 'The Way We Are' following the introduction of LASPO. In the final two sessions, Charles Hale QC discussed the powers of the court to vary post-nuptial settlements, and Zimran Samuel discussed the key issue of FGM and the current law and practice in that area.

All in all, an action-packed and informative conference covering an array of tricky practice areas. As always, the conference was followed by the highlight of the family law calendar - the Family Law Awards.

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Family Law Awards

Over 450 family lawyers attended the Family Law Awards at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the nominees and the profession as a whole.

The shortlist and winners were chosen by a judging panel made up of the heads of the Family Law Bar Association, Resolution, CILEx and the Association of Lawyers for Children, along with Family Law editors and publishing executives.

Sir Mark Hedley hosted the ceremony, managing proceedings expertly with personality, wit and humour. In true family law fashion, the profession celebrated the achievements of their colleagues throughout a truly memorable evening.

Jordan Publishing would like to congratulate all the winners and shortlisted nominees and thank everyone who submitted a nomination and voted.

International Family Law Conference

The International Family Law Conference took place on 21 October. Chaired by David Hodson with a keynote speech by Tim Amos QC, the conference featured sessions by leading family lawyers such as Teertha Gupta QC, speaking about Part III case-law; Lucy Loizou, covering freezing, seizing and searching orders; David Salter discussing international marital agreements; Louisa Ghervaert on international surrogacy; Aiden Vine covering international public law proceedings; Helen Blackburn discussing child abduction; Dr Rob George on relocation; and last but by no means least, an enlightening session by Denise Carter on international child mediation.

With most practices developing at least some international element, the conference featured something for everyone and was a very informative day.

Court of Protection Conference

The Court of Protection Conference took place on 13 October, featuring an array of informative sessions by expert speakers. Chaired by District Judge Marc Marin, who also gave an update on Practice and Procedure, other speakers included The Honourable Mr Justice Charles, Vice President of the Court of Appeal; Liz Eaton of the Ministry of Justice; Alex Ruck-Keene, who discussed Wishes, Feelings and Best Interests in Decision-Making; and Gordon Ashton, who gave a session on the Court of Protection: Past, Present and Future. Dr Julie Doughty closed the conference with a session on the hot topic of Transparency.

With the regular and frequent publication of new Court of Protection judgments and the tricky issues that can arise in such cases, this conference gave important coverage on the important issues in this rapidly developing area.

In other news:

See below for a list of 'at a glance' headlines of important items and articles you might have missed:

Success at Bristol’s pioneering family law session

FMC announces its strategy for professional self-regulation

Amendments to the financial remedy omnibus

Parental leave and pay to be extended to working grandparents

His Honour Judge John Altman stands down as Senior Designated Family Judge for London

Feedback for judges in the Family Court

Cardiff Court Family Free Advice Clinic launches

Coram Children’s Legal Centre boost online advice service

Divorce Centres: further progress report

FDAC – the facts

How does the Family Drug and Alcohol Court fit with the current changes to family justice