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Family Law Journal: September 2012

Chris McIntosh and Duncan Ranton summarise lesser-known aspects of the EU maintenance regulation

There has been a lot of interest over the past year in the family law world, regarding the new EU maintenance regulation, Council Regulation (EC) No. 4/2009 of 18 December 2008 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations (the maintenance regulation), which came into force on 18 June 2011.

In the first of a two-part analysis, Julian Bremner, Marjet van Yperen-Groenleer and Kate Mooney compare and contrast the approach to spousal maintenance in England and Wales, the Netherlands and Australia

There have been rumblings and discussions in recent years as to whether it is time for long-term substantive spousal maintenance orders in England and Wales to be reviewed. Historically speaking, the concept of joint-lives orders made perfect sense when on capital distribution the surplus above needs was retained, generally speaking, by the breadwinning male spouse and that spouse then supported their former wife. There are also historical considerations regarding working women that made the concept of a joint lives order, if not palatable, at least logical.

Fiona Wilson examines the approach to evidence and contributions in recent sole name cohabitant cases

When the Supreme Court handed down its landmark judgment in Jones v Kernott [2011], it set out clear principles for dealing with the situation where a family home is bought in the joint names of an unmarried cohabiting couple without there being any express declaration of their beneficial interests in the property. These principles can be summarised as follows:

Amy Harris highlights the procedural lessons in relation to divorce procedure in Kim v Morris

Unusually, the decision in Kim v Morris [2012] relates to divorce procedure providing useful guidance for family lawyers on the impact of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010) on supplemental petitions, and:

Claire Glaister sets out the significance of the decision in Revenue and Customs v Charman for privacy and privilege in family proceedings

Tax avoidance is currently something of a political hot potato, with high-profile celebrities to plumbers and electricians being criticised for committing what some describe as a moral assault on society and a defraud on the state. Treasury Minister David Gauke MP recently announced a government consultation to curb tax avoidance, which includes proposals for powers that could potentially breach the confidentiality of individuals, such as measures to make finance companies disclose details of wealthy clients who take advantage of avoidance schemes and firms having to disclose how all their tax avoidance schemes work, not just those for which they are being criticised.

Linzi Bull reviews the courts’ approach to parental responsibility disputes with a focus on same-sex relationships

Parental responsibility is an important issue for any parent and one that should be carefully considered, ideally in advance of the child’s birth. For gay and lesbian parents, it is also an issue on which comprehensive guidance is urgently needed from the family courts. There are only a small number of reported decisions about parental responsibility and same-sex couples or families outside the context of a conventional heterosexual structure and (as can be seen from the examples below) what cases there are raise a number of questions for any potential applicant.

Seamus Burns

In the first of a two-part consideration Seamus Burns looks at the draft NICE Guidelines on the availability of IVF treatment

The draft revised fertility guidelines issued for public consultation by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) in May 2012 seemingly represent an apparent liberalisation of the existing 2004 NICE guidelines extending the availability of certain fertility treatments to a wider potential pool of infertile couples and individuals, but this notional widening of the availability/accessibility must be viewed with a certain degree of circumspection and caution, given the failure of previous governments and primary care trusts to honour and completely follow key recommendations contained in the current 2004 NICE guidelines, primarily those relating to the number of IVF treatment cycles given to infertile couples. The reality of fertility treatment does not always correspond with the avowed policy rhetoric.