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Family Law Journal: September 2014
Pannone LLP

Fiona Wood outlines the courts’ approach to assets acquired prior to marriage and the factors to be taken into account

The issue of pre-acquired assets arises in many divorce cases. While needs often mean that the presence of pre-acquired assets does not impact the outcome in smaller and medium asset cases, they can have quite an impact on the outcome of bigger money cases.

Withers LLP

Michael Gouriet and Jemma Thomas report on the basis in which an interest in property may be secured by proprietary estoppel

Establishing an equitable interest is an entirely alien concept in many jurisdictions, and the Court of Appeal decision in Davies v Davies [2014] would probably also come as a surprise to many people in this country. The idea that a claim against a thriving family farming business could effectively be based on a promise, originally made by a father to his daughter 25 years ago, certainly takes some explaining.

Seamus Burns

In the conclusion to a two-part analysis Seamus Burns further examines the open consultation on mitochondrial donation and looks at ethical issues

The first part of this article ('New horizons', FLJ138, p18-21) considered issues raised by the Department of Health’s open consultation on mitochondrial donation regarding the use of new treatment techniques to prevent the transmission of a serious mitochondrial disease from mother to child. This concluding part looks at the status of a mitochondrial donor, information available to mitochondrial conceived persons, and ethical concerns.

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.

Withers LLP

Philippa Hewitt explores the impact of Radmacher on the approach to marital agreements in Hong Kong

Prior to the decision of the Court of Final Appeal in SPH v SA (formerly known as SA) [2014], a nuptial agreement in Hong Kong (as in England before the decision in Radmacher), be it ante or pre-nuptial or post-nuptial, would only be taken into account as one of the circumstances of the case and was not enforceable. The family law community in Hong Kong has been waiting for a case that brings the principles enunciated in Radmacher (formerly Granatino) v Granatino (pre-nuptial contract) [2010] into law in Hong Kong. The Court of Final Appeal, the highest court in Hong Kong, has now unanimously endorsed the Radmacher approach that the rule that agreements providing for future separation of the parties to a marriage are contrary to public policy is obsolete and no longer applies. In SPH v SA the court looked at what weight should be given to the parties’ election in their pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements to have their marriage governed by the laws of a particular country. The case is very much a landmark decision in terms of how the family courts in Hong Kong are likely to consider pre and post-nuptial agreements in other cases.

Paula Butterworth summarises two procedures designed to accelerate and simplify financial remedy proceedings

The reforms to the family justice system in 2014 have so far primarily impacted on children proceedings but there have also been changes to financial proceedings. Of particular note are changes to accelerate certain financial cases, and this article will look at both a pilot scheme in London and the widening of the application of the accelerated/shortened financial remedy procedure by amendments to the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010).

Amy Harris sets out the courts’ approach to cases in which assets derive from a personal injury award

Divorce and personal injury can be two of the most challenging and devastating events in a person’s life. Research shows that the instance of divorce increases where a party to the marriage has suffered a personal injury. Cases involving personal injury and divorce can be complex. Practitioners must balance the competing interests of the respective needs of the spouses, one of which may have suffered life-changing injuries, and the needs of any children of the family. In this article the term ‘divorce’ also refers to civil partnership dissolution.