Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Dawson Cornwell

Dawson Cornwell

Izzy Walsh and Floriane Laruelle compare the contrat de mariage with prenuptial agreements

Approximately 165,000 French citizens live in the UK (Population of the United Kingdom by Country of Birth and Nationality, ONS, 2015), and 157,000 British citizens in France (What information is there on British migrants living in Europe?, ONS, January 2017). These statistics mean that it is ever more important to have a basic understanding of how each legal system works and to be able to navigate between the two.

Philippa Davies and Anna Shadbolt navigate the more problematic aspects of divorce procedure and provide a reminder of the remedies available

Divorce law and procedure can appear easy to navigate, yet for the new (or even seasoned) practitioner there are oddities along the way that require careful consideration. This article explores some of the more unusual elements of divorce law and procedure. With the assistance of key case law, we work through the process from service of a petition to decree absolute, summarising the principal stages and highlighting particular considerations that are sometimes easy to miss. Particular attention is paid to any international considerations that are all too important when advising in today’s increasingly global society. This article highlights the alarm bells that should be ringing where, for example, a respondent avoids acknowledging service, or if there is a dispute as to whether a decree should be granted or rescinded, and provides insight as to how such issues can be dealt with both on a practical and a legal level.

Martin Beard and Zoe Fleetwood discuss the issues that can arise on disposal of a body and cryo-preservation

Many will have heard or read the news stories of the 14-year-old girl (known as JS) who made a successful application for court orders in Re JS (Disposal of Body) [2016] that had the effect that her body be cryo-preserved following her death. To these novel facts and the underlying dispute the court applied principles of law known to lawyers practising in the area of wills and probate and estate administration and trust law. The case serves to remind practitioners of the law concerning the disposal of human remains and the role of personal representatives.

Anne-Marie Hutchinson and Shabina Begum consider mandatory reporting duties, legislation and the development of the case law in relation to female genital mutilation

According to the NHS statistics in England there were 1,242 newly recorded cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) between January and March 2016 (see The statistics include 11 girls who were born in the UK, and 2% of the new cases related to girls under the age of 18.

In the conclusion to a two-part analysis on forced and child marriage, Shabina Begum sets out the position in England and Wales and the potential for change

Part one of this article set out the position on early and forced marriages in Bangladesh. This concluding part examines the UK approach to forced marriage, remedies available, and recommendations as to what can be done to further reduce early and forced marriages in both the UK and in Bangladesh.

Anna Shadbolt details the law reform campaign in relation to civil partnership and the ongoing issues regarding cohabitant reform

Earlier this year the claimants in Steinfeld v Secretary of State for Education [2016] received the news that their judicial review claim for reform of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004) was unsuccessful. The progress of their campaign to open up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples has been widely reported, and watched with interest by the general public, lawyers and MPs. The claimants have voiced their ideological reasons for opposing the institution of marriage, based upon a belief that it is a historically patriarchal institution. They have explained their concerns about the obvious lack of legal protection available to unmarried, cohabiting couples in committed, long-term relationships, and they have campaigned for the ability to formalise their relationship in a way that provides for equality, regardless of sexual orientation.

In the first of a two-part analysis of forced and child marriage in Bangladesh and the UK, Shabina Begum sets out actions being taken, and the obstacles to success, in Bangladesh

In recent years there has been a focus globally to reduce early and forced marriage. In many countries this problem manifests in different ways and as a result the response to the problem is also varied. In July 2014 the UK government and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) hosted the Girl Summit in London, with a view to build partnerships and galvanise the global movements to end female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child early and forced marriage (CEFM). This event was attended by approximately 500 delegates from 50 countries and numerous countries made a pledge to end early and forced marriage in their respective countries. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Shiekh Hasina, was among those who pledged and she committed to end early and forced marriage by 2041 in Bangladesh. Bangladesh remains in the top five countries with the highest number of child marriages in the world (reference: International Center for Research on Women), where 66% of girls are married by the time they turn 18, with 32% marrying before the age of 15 (reference: Girls not Brides) (see end of article for references).

Charlotte Conner summarises the diverging approaches of the judiciary to media access and privacy and the implications for the parties

Restrictions on the reporting of financial remedy proceedings by the press have recently been in focus. Mostyn J has been particularly vocal, having delivered two recent judgments on this issue, and his decision in Appleton v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2015] came hot on the heels of his earlier decision in DL v SL [2015].

Zoë Fleetwood reviews the Council of Europe perspective on forced adoption

Earlier this year the Council of Europe produced a report titled: ‘Social services in Europe: legislation and practice of the removal of children from their families in Council of Europe member States’ (Doc 13730). The report was written by Olga Borzova of the Russian Federation. The report addresses politically and socially sensitive issues such as adoption without parental consent, severing family ties completely, placement decisions based primarily on the passage of time and the removal of children from parental care at birth. These matters have a direct impact on both children’s and their parents’ right to respect for their family life, as well as the right to a fair trial and an effective remedy. In light of this, the report makes a valuable and timely contribution to a pressing social problem.

Charlotte Conner outlines the challenges when dealing with cases involving trusts

The recent Court of Appeal decision in P v P [2015] brings into focus key issues that may arise in family proceedings when trusts are involved.

Shabina Begum highlights a recent challenge to the gateway requirements for legal aid in domestic abuse cases

As from 1 April 2013 civil legal aid is primarily governed by Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPOA 2012). Civil legal services have been preserved for some family matters such as non-molestation orders, occupation orders, forced marriage protection orders and child abduction cases. A key change introduced by LASPOA 2012 was that survivors or potential victims of domestic violence no longer automatically qualify for legal aid in family matters in relation to children: they must provide specific evidence in relation to the domestic violence or child protection issue.

In the conclusion to a two-part analysis Zoë Fleetwood looks further at the impact of a lack of representation in family proceedings post-LASPO

The first part of this article (FLJ138, ‘Standing alone’, pp8-10) set out some of the concerns arising from increased numbers of litigants in person and recent case law. This concluding part will consider further recent case law in which the unrepresented status of a party impacted on, or was the subject of comment in, proceedings and also practice points.

In the first of a two-part consideration, Zoë Fleetwood explores recent cases giving guidance on key issues that arise when dealing with litigants in person

Following the coming in to force of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) on 1 April 2013 there has been a rise in the number of litigants in person. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, in partnership with the Magistrates Association, surveyed a sample group of 461 magistrates sitting in a variety of courts across the country. Their results, published on 1 June 2014, found that 46% of the parties seen by magistrates in the private family courts were representing themselves. ‘Self-representation hinders justice’ was a conclusion reached in the report (see

Zoë Fleetwood outlines guidance provided by the Court of Appeal regarding adoption proceedings where a placement order is opposed by a parent

A raft of cases dealt with judicial practice in making adoption orders in 2013. Most notably, Re B-S (Children) [2013] became a reliable vehicle for practitioners to use when examining the case for adoption. Re B-S highlighted the essential dual mechanisms of proper evidence and adequately reasoned judgments in order for an adoption order to be reliably made (see ‘A fresh approach?’ by Matthew Maynard, FLJ131 November 2013, p2).

Zoë Fleetwood and Wendy Ramus examine the two-stage process of transferring care proceedings and the designation of a local authority

The decision in Re LM (A Child) [2013] acts as a useful guide to a jurisdictional transfer of public law proceedings. The case also illustrates the factors considered upon allocation of a case to a designated local authority. The originating member state, in this case the Republic of Ireland, made an Article 15 Brussels II bis request for transfer. The request was in response to the mother’s application to transfer proceedings to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. The mother, in an advanced stage of pregnancy, travelled to the Republic of Ireland in June 2012 with her husband, the father of the baby, in her own words, ‘to avoid my child being stolen’. In July 2012, she gave birth to her fourth child, a baby girl (LM).

Lucy Marks and Vitaliy Eremin analyse the potential implications of the coming into force of the 1996 Hague Convention in the Russian Federation

When it comes to separation and divorce, family lawyers in this country all too often deal with international couples, some of whom wish to return to their homeland following the divorce or separation with their children. Court applications for leave to remove children permanently from this jurisdiction are increasing each year.

Lucy Marks and Vitaliy Eremin compare and contrast the matrimonial regimes in Russia and England and Wales

As international marriages increase, many family lawyers may be faced with the prospect of dealing with properties or assets in Russia or the issue of whether it would be more appropriate for either party to issue proceedings in Russia, if they are able to do so. This article provides a summary of the main differences between divorce proceedings in this country and the Russian Federation.