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Family Law Journal: April 2017
Hall Brown

Abigail Lowther reviews the right to privacy in proceedings before the Court of Appeal

In Norman v Norman [2017], the Court of Appeal dismissed the wife’s applications for anonymity in respect of an appeal relating to financial remedy proceedings. The leading judgment was given by Gloster LJ, supported by Lewison and King LJJ, and found that only exceptional circumstances would justify a departure from the normal principle that matters in the Court of Appeal are heard in open court and are not subject to anonymity directions. The court found that this case did not include any such exceptional circumstances.

Che Meakins assesses the difference between costs already incurred and those required to fund future litigation on an application for a legal services payment order

In BC v DE [2016], the applicant mother made an application for the respondent father to pay her outstanding and prospective legal costs, neither of which were considered disproportionate or unreasonable at the preliminary hearings. The issues before the court were whether a claim for historic costs could be made on an application for a legal services payment order (LSPO), such order by its nature being considered where there are prospective costs rather than retrospective, and further whether the applicant’s application was in effect being utilised as a method of circumventing the rules under Pt 44, Civil Procedure Rules 1998 concerning cost awards.

Alison Schmidt looks at the arguments for and against mediators drafting financial consent orders

In November 2016, the Family Mediation Council (FMC) issued a member consultation to ascertain views on the following questions:

Glaser Jones

Shlomit Glaser and Tim Jones examine issues of privacy and confidentiality in family proceedings

Confidentiality can be a significant issue in family proceedings for many divorcing couples. This is particularly so for those going through a divorce where substantial assets are at issue, in the shadow of legal proceedings. For public figures, there may be the desire to protect a modicum of a private life. For others, who have no public profile, there will be the wish to avoid becoming the focus of critical media attention purely because there are large sums at issue, or there is some newsworthy aspect to the way that one or both parties have behaved. In all cases, confidentiality may help to preserve the equanimity of the parties in what can be an acrimonious and stressful case. Most recently the matter has attracted some attention because of the publicity given to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce, where it seems that the actors have agreed to keep future details of their divorce confidential by using a private judge as they work to ‘reunify’ the family. Closer to home, the issue of confidentiality was discussed further following the decision of the High Court that the financial details of Liam Gallagher’s divorce to Nicole Appleton could not be reported. Similarly, restricted information emerged following the divorce of David Walliams from Lara Stone, where it was ordered that the terms of the financial agreement between them could not be revealed by the media. In essence, all the media could report was that a hearing had started on one day and ended in agreement the next.

Claire Molyneux summarises the courts’ approach to delay in making a financial remedy application, and how the principles in Wyatt v Vince are being applied

What is the impact on entitlement to financial remedies if there is a material delay between separation/divorce and the financial remedy application itself? This issue was notably considered by the Supreme Court decision of Wyatt v Vince [2015], in which it was decided that the wife had a legally recognisable claim that should be considered by the court, even where there had been a period of 31 years since the parties’ short marriage broke down.

Vardags

Moji Sobowale outlines the law relating to the recognition of an overseas marriage, and the potential outcomes on an application for a declaration of validity

The issues surrounding the recognition of foreign marriages are far from straightforward, and the outcome seldom pleases all parties. The matter becomes more complex when religious ceremonies, sometimes celebrated without a clearly dictated form, are then the subject of English divorce proceedings.

Hall Brown

Ellen Walker considers proposals for family cases to be dealt with online, and developments to date

In the Autumn Statement 2015, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced that radical and unprecedented court reforms were intended to be implemented by 2020. In total, a £700m budget will be dedicated to investment in the court ‘modernisation programme’ that will update and digitise all courts in England and Wales, moving from an outdated paper-based system to one that is in step with the internet society and the growing expectation that services will be delivered digitally.