Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Family Law Journal: December 2014/January 2015

In the conclusion to a two-part analysis Jane Booth sets out methods of enforcing a lump sum order

This article follows the back-to-basics guide to lump sum orders in FLJ141 (‘Dual purpose’, p19-21) and discusses enforcement and steps that can be taken to reduce the need to commence proceedings.

Ellie Foster examines the impact of changed circumstances on applications for variation of periodical payments

There is life after divorce and any ongoing financial relationship between parties must be subject to review. As well as the statutory terminating events, periodical payments are always capable of variation. This allows the court to vary or terminate payments to respond to changes in the parties’ personal circumstances. The flip side to this is that there is always inherent uncertainty for the parties as the payments are reliant on future needs and obligations.

Chris Bryden and Matthew Shaw look at the issues surrounding increased transparency in the family courts and what further changes may lie ahead

Transparency has become another fashionable buzzword for politicians and the senior judiciary alike to imply accountability, frankness and honesty. When do you hear a government minister or a judge say that open justice is not a good idea? That it might be a bad idea for the courts to be scrutinised by the same public that funds them and (ideally) obeys their decisions? At first glance it would seem that the courts should be transparent and that these arguments ought to have been put to bed long ago. But the battle between opacity and transparency in the courts of England and Wales is still very much alive. Recently the battle has been between the Home Office and civil liberties groups over the use of ‘closed material procedure’, ie secret courts for the hearing of evidence that may or may not compromise Britain’s national security. The family courts have also been subject to their fair share of attention by way of reforms regarding transparency in January 2014 (see www.legalease.co.uk/transparency-guidance), and a consultation (see www.legalease.co.uk/transparency-consultation), which closed in October 2014, asked where those reforms should go next.

Frances Bailey outlines options and steps that may be taken by the courts to encourage parties to attend non-court dispute resolution

Resolution’s third annual Family Dispute Resolution Week (DR Week) will take place on the 24-28 November 2014. The laudable aim is to raise awareness of the alternatives to court for separating couples and their families. This article recaps the various dispute resolution methods and considers the means by which the courts can encourage parties away from the traditional court process.


Ruth Abrams considers the interrelationship between nuptial settlements and trusts, the procedure for permission to appeal and the significance of new relationships

The decision of Mostyn J in AB v CB [2014] is of interest for a number of reasons:

In the first of a two-part analysis Julian Bremner highlights the potential pitfalls of offering free-of-charge interviews and failing to fully explore a client’s options

The family law market is increasingly challenging. The need to be competitive has never been greater, and family lawyers have had to become more flexible regarding methods of bringing in new business and methods of charging, eg:

Rachel Donald discusses the consequences of deception in divorce proceedings and the vulnerabilities of the current procedure

In Rapisarda v Colladon [2014] Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division, handed down a judgment that exposed what he described as a ‘conspiracy to pervert the course of justice on an almost industrial scale’ in the English family courts. The decision deals with the dismissal of more than 180 separate divorces. The case was brought by way of a plea from the Queen’s Proctor alleging fraud in every case, using their inherent power to intervene in each set of proceedings under s8, Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973).