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Family Law Journal: March 2016

Lottie Tyler considers whether a court-appointed receiver may be an overlooked method of enforcement, not an unjustifiable expense

The decisions in Sharland v Sharland [2015] and Gohil v Gohil [2015] may represent a victory against parties who hope to cheat the system, but they do not change the inherent problem highlighted in Young v Young [2013] and Prest v Prest [2015] that the rules of the court really only matter if they are respected. The family justice system needs to have the power to change the game, so that if a party does not play nicely, they cannot play at all. On that basis, might an application for a court-appointed receiver be an overlooked weapon in the family lawyer’s arsenal?

In the first of a two-part analysis, Julian Bremner suggests that current pressures on the courts, family lawyers and the parties are damaging the justice system

Recently I caught up with a colleague at a drinks party who said to me, ‘I just don’t know how to advise clients anymore, everything is now inconsistent, decisions patchy, and dealing with the court and its administration is a complete nightmare’. I commiserated with him, traded stories about the parlous state of family law on a practical level and then we talked about other things, but the conversation made me think about changes that have taken place in family law over the last two to three years and the significant impact that has had on practice, client service and the predictability of the outcome of family cases.

Louisa Ghevaert outlines the findings and recommendations contained in a report on UK surrogacy, including survey results

The report of the Surrogacy UK Working Group on surrogacy law reform, Surrogacy in the UK: Myth busting and reform (the report) (November 2015), examined the current practice of surrogacy in the UK. In addition to myself, the Surrogacy UK Working Group comprises Dr Kirsty Horsey, senior lecturer at Kent Law School, University of Kent; Natalie Smith, trustee of Surrogacy UK; Sarah Norcross, director of the Progress Educational Trust; and Sarah Jones, a trustee of Surrogacy UK. The report analyses data, dispels myths that have shaped debate, and concludes that surrogacy law in the UK is out of date. The report also sets out recommendations for law reform, and best practice to safeguard the interests of surrogate-born children and improve surrogacy in the UK for intended parents and surrogates.

Switalskis

Andrew Baines assesses how complex adaptive system analysis can be utilised within the mediation process

Both mediation and complex adaptive system analysis are relatively new disciplines. Each seeks to make some sense of the area that lies between certainty and chaos. As the well-known quote says, ‘Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived’. Family mediation looks at that area in family breakdown and re-creation. The purpose of this article is to enquire whether the insights complex adaptive system analysis has to offer may usefully be brought to bear on the practice of mediation.

Simon Heaney and Hannah Williams set out a reminder of the remedies available to left-behind parents in both the criminal and civil courts

The case of Williams v Minnock [2015] caused a media storm in 2015 when the mother ran away with her son after the court decided that he should live with his father. It is perhaps not surprising that when emotions run high some parents decide to take matters into their own hands, and there are undoubtedly many similar cases across the country every year that fail to make the national headlines.

Alice Twaite discusses issues arising from new research on jigsaw identification, and wider concerns as to transparency in children cases

Practice guidance on transparency in the family courts was issued by the president of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, in January 2014, and took effect on 3 February 2014. The guidance requires certain judges, in certain family cases (including care proceedings), to ordinarily allow their written judgments to be published. Judgments are usually published on the free-to-access British and Irish Legal Information Institute (Bailii) website on the basis that the anonymity of the children and families involved is maintained.

Joanne Green looks at business assets including valuations, issues of liquidity and the options available to the court

When parties’ assets comprise a business or a share in a business, it can give rise to complex issues regarding how the asset should be dealt with by the court. In considering a business asset, it is first necessary to determine what value the business has, and, once the value has been established, it is then essential to consider how this value should be reflected in the overall financial settlement between the parties.