What an exciting week it has been! The annual Family Law Conference followed by the third Family Law Awards ceremony took place at The London Hilton on Park Lane. Both were not-to-be missed events providing all the latest family law news and the chance for a well-deserved celebratory get together with other family law professionals.
As ever the conference was jam-packed with all of the latest updates including in the fields of children law and financial remedies. The Honourable Mr Justice Coleridge gave the keynote address in which he called for a wholesale review of family law especially for unmarried couples by an independent non-political group. He also announced that he will be scaling down his judicial duties in order to focus his efforts on The Marriage Foundation.
My highlight of the day was Lewis Marks QC’s witty overview of the President’s House Rules. Unhelpfully, all I can recall from the session is that he apparently has a fear of cucumbers. Well, it was a long day! The Family Law Awards was another roaring success with well deserving winners such as Thorpe LJ and Jo Delahunty QC.
Meanwhile the family courts have remained busy. The judgment in Joyce v Joyce  EWHC 1353 (Fam) from Bodey J concerned contempt proceedings in respect of a father who failed to adhere to a return order for the return of his three children to Ireland. When the tipstaff, assisted by the police attempted to enforce a collection order the children would not comply. Upon a second attempt to enforce the order the children could not be located and the father claimed he was unaware of their whereabouts. The judge found that it was inconceivable that the father did not know where the children were. In failing to inform the court where they were, he was in contempt. Given the severity of the need for the court to be able to trace the children, the least sentence appropriate was 6 months’ imprisonment.
In the short judgment of Re C (Transcripts)  EWCA Civ 1158 the President refused the mother permission to appeal care and placement orders. At the time of filing her appeal she also filed a Form 62 request for transcripts to be prepared at the public expense. Despite efforts to chase up the application a transcript was not make available for 3 months. The President expressed his dismay that proceedings had been delayed unnecessarily and wrongly by unacceptable delays in obtaining transcripts. He made it clear that something had to be done to improve practice and performance in court offices.
Next week I will be attending the Medical Evidence in Child Abuse Conference which I am expecting to be as graphic and thought provoking as usual! There is still time to book you place if you haven’t already done so.
The content of this article should not be considered as legal advice.