Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Family Law Journal: September 2015

Rachel Rogers sets out the key aspects of Resolution’s manifesto for law reform, including no-fault divorce

The general election in May 2015 brought a new parliament, a new government and a new set of policy commitments, as set out in the first wholly Conservative Queen’s Speech for nearly twenty years. But, despite a raft of evidence showing that issues with the family justice system are affecting British people at every level of society, there was scant reference to any genuine commitment – in the Queen’s Speech or any of the main parties’ manifestos – to reform this vital area of public policy.


Clare Williams and Sam Hall examine the limits of confidentiality between client and legal advisor and the implications in G v G

One of the fundamental principles underpinning the administration of justice is legal professional privilege (LPP). It is something lawyers rarely have to confront head-on; it usually sits in the background and facilitates the taking of legal advice by clients, safe in the knowledge that their communications will remain protected from disclosure. When an issue around LPP arises, things can become very esoteric indeed and this is exactly what happened in G v G [2015].

Beth Mason and Georgia Day look at the Court of Appeal decision in Critchell and what may constitute a Barder event

Family lawyers are used to advising their clients of the courts’ desire for certainty and finality in financial proceedings. Consent orders should not be entered into lightly and even a final order not made by consent cannot be appealed on a whim. We are all too familiar with the issue of non-matrimonial assets and particularly a client’s fear that their spouse may have recourse in the future to post-separation (and even post-order) assets: the classic case of post-separation lottery wins, for example. For the most part we are able to reassure our clients that once a deal is done, or an order made, that is the end of the matter, but should the decision in Critchell v Critchell [2015], the latest in the Barder (per Barder v Caluori [1988]) line of authorities, alter the advice we are giving?

Lehna Hewitt reviews the courts’ approach to cases where an order may be made on the basis of assets owned by a third party

The recent Court of Appeal judgment in Gadhavi v Gadhavi [2015] considered the limits of the court’s powers of ‘judicious encouragement’ against family members or other third parties in financial remedy proceedings, and the distinction between the fiduciary obligations of a trustee to a beneficiary and the relationship between a donor and a donee.

Alison Green and Adam Patterson consider a Privy Council decision that provides a salutary lesson on preparation for, and the conduct of, litigation

The decision in Bromfield v Bromfield [2015] concerns a Jamaican case but provides practitioners in this jurisdiction with useful insight on how the Privy Council approached a variation of maintenance claim, along with, once again, how a claim by a spouse regarding a family company may be treated.

Rita Veitch outlines the courts’ approach to recognition of an overseas divorce and the circumstances in which recognition may be refused

With increasing international mobility family lawyers are more and more often faced with cases with an international element. In Liaw v Lee [2015] the court was concerned with divorce proceedings in England and Malaysia and asked to consider the wife’s application for refusal of recognition of the decree absolute obtained by the husband in Malaysia.

Hart Brown

Vanessa McMurtrie analyses a recent decision on improperly obtained documents and assesses the dominance of needs in middle-income cases

The relatively modest assets in Arbili v Arbili [2015] make this decision of particular interest: all too often reported cases are concerned with the very wealthy. Most high-street practitioners will deal with ordinary wealth, where academic arguments about matrimonial and non-matrimonial assets, whether assets were acquired before or after separation, inherited wealth, and the principle of sharing, are trumped by need. The case also raises interesting points about the use of improperly obtained documents, and the impact of that on the court’s approach, where the husband sought to set aside the order on the basis of non-disclosure by the wife, together with departure from equality in a ‘needs’ case.