Family Law Hub

Senior Courts Act 1981

Statute, published: 31/12/1981


Items referring to this

  • Appeals arising from Schedule 1 claims concerning correction of a previous judgment in the proceedings and whether the father should not be penalised for failing to complete an incorrect version of Form E as directed. Appeals dimissed. Judgment, 27/06/2014, free
  • In these financial remedy proceedings, a final order, apportioning ownership of various properties in England and in the country of origin of both parties to the marriage, which was the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), had been made in the Principal Registry of the Family Division. By express words within the judge's order, neither party was entitled to make any further application in relation to their marriage in this jurisdiction "or in any other jurisdiction". Here, the wife was seeking to appeal against a range of orders, including a) an anti-suit injunction restraining the wife from commencing or carrying on any proceedings in any jurisdiction, but in particular in TRNC, either in connection with her marriage to the husband or in connection with any property owned by him; and b) a stay on any attempt to enforce payment of the outstanding lump sum. Judgment, 18/03/2014, free
  • The main issue in this case was whether the 'marriage' – which lasted for 18 years and which produced 4 children and where all accepted them as husband and wife - in fact was to be treated in English law as not a marriage at all, not even one which could be declared void for failing to comply with the formalities of marriage. The judge found that it was a void marriage and the wife was thus entitled to a decree of nullity. Judgment, 06/08/2018, free
  • Judgment, 29/01/2013, free
  • Appeal against an order made under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court which directed that DNA extracted from a sample provided by the deceased should be tested against a bodily sample to be taken from the Respondent in order to establish whether the deceased was or was not the Respondent's biological father. Appeal dismissed. Judgment, 08/02/2018, free
  • Judgment, 18/07/2012, free
  • Judgment by the President in child abduction case raising 2 points of general importance: 1) what powers the court has to compel third parties to secure return of an abducted child where they do not have parental responsibility or control over the child and; 2) the role, powers and proper basis for making orders concerning non-subject children in such proceedings Judgment, 20/06/2014, free
  • Parties who were in contempt of court for failing to disclose the whereabouts of the M and child in this widely publicised child abduction case were released from custody after the M's employer contacted the court with her contact details. Judgment, 13/11/2013, free
  • Wasted costs order made against the father's solicitors for failing to comply with case managements orders and failing to lodge a trial bundle in an effective and timeous way. Judgment, 16/11/2015, free
  • Costs order made against Capita after they failed to provide interpreters in a public law case, leading to the adjournment of the hearing. Judgment, 06/02/2015, free
  • A costs order in the sum of £15,000 was made against the father of the child after he had continually breached court orders. Judgment, 13/10/2017, free
  • Child Arrangements Order provided that the child, whose mother had died, was to live with the mother's friends and not the father. The father was also ordered to pay £10,000 as a contribution to the other party's costs. Judgment, 12/04/2016, free
  • In a tweet: Test in Re A (children) [2013] UKSC 60 was used to assess whether the parties were habitually resident in England Judgment, 06/08/2018, free
  • Father's appeal against an order which allowed the mother, who had previously abducted the child to Israel and made unfounded allegations against the father, direct contact with the child was allowed. Judgment, 20/12/2017, free
  • Financial remedy proceedings had concluded in 2004 with the wife agreeing to a clean break despite her suspicions that the husband had not made a full disclosure of his assets. In 2007 the husband was found guilty of money laundering on a huge scale and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. During the criminal trial the wife learnt that non-disclosure had indeed occurred and applied to have the 2004 order set aside. Mr Justice Moylan, at first instance, did set aside one paragraph of the order, saying that he was satisfied that the husband had failed to give full and frank disclosure of his true financial circumstances during the course of the substantive ancillary relief proceedings, and that his failure was of sufficient materiality to justify granting the wife's application for a rehearing of her claim for financial relief. He was also satisfied that the principles of Ladd v Marshall were established in this case. The husband appealed on the bases that included: 1) A judge at first instance has no jurisdiction to set aside an order granting substantive financial relief made by another judge of equivalent status at first instance; 2) In any event, the judge, sitting at first instance, had no jurisdiction to proceed (as he purported to do) on the basis of the principles set out in Ladd v Marshall (which authority sets out principles upon which an appellate court may admit fresh evidence); 3) If the judge did have jurisdiction to set aside the original order on the basis of material non-disclosure, he could only properly exercise that jurisdiction once it had been proved that material non-disclosure had occurred. The appeal was allowed. Judgment, 13/03/2014, free
  • Wife believed that the husband had not provided full and frank disclosure of his financial circumstances but compromised her claims in a consent order despite this in order to achieve finality. Consent order was set aside by Moylan J because of material non-disclosure. This decision was reversed by the Court of Appeal on grounds of the inadmissibility of the evidence on which he had relied. The Supreme Court allowed the wife's appeal, saying that even if he had referred only to the evidence admissible before him, Moylan J would still properly have found the husband to have been guilty of material non-disclosure; that his order should therefore be reinstated; and that the wife’s claim for further capital provision should therefore proceed before him. Judgment, 14/10/2015, free
  • In a tweet: Take child's refugee status into account when considering return order to non-Hague Convention country. In brief: The court emphasised that if a child has been granted asylum by the time a return order application within wardship proceedings is heard, the court must give proper consideration to this, even if it is not an absolute bar to a return order being made. Also as the child is a ward of the court, the judge has a duty to ensure that any proposed consent order is in their best interests. Judgment, 12/10/2016, free
  • Appeal against committal orders in relation to breach of an undertaking and 2 other orders after the court found that the husband had not disclosed certain documents in this long running financial provision case. The appeals were dismissed apart from the one in relation to the breach of the undertaking. Judgment, 11/05/2018, free
  • Application by the Father for a wasted costs order against the Local Authority which had been directed by the Court to prepare a report in the proceedings pursuant to section 37 of the Children Act 1989. Judgment, 11/07/2013, free
  • Hughmans, the solicitors firm acting for the respondent wife in financial provision proceedings, was claiming for unpaid fees. The wife was counterclaiming for professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, wasted costs and compensation. Judgment, 01/04/2015, members only
  • Financial provision case in which the parties had spent a total of £920,000 on costs where the total assets amounted to £2.9m. Judgment, 13/11/2014, free
  • An unusual case where the English court was first seised of the parties' divorce proceedings. The husband then arranged for the divorce proceedings by mutual consent to be issued in the Spanish court. The English proceedings were then stayed (and subsequently dismissed) on the primary ground that the parties had entered into an agreement (the "Agreement") whereby the wife undertook that she had abandoned the English divorce proceedings, so that she was estopped from arguing that those proceedings remained extant. The wife argued that the effect of the Council Regulation No 2201/2003 was to prevent the court implementing any agreement by the parties as to the appropriate jurisdiction for divorce proceedings. It was submitted that the effect of articles 16 and 19 of the Council Regulation was to give jurisdiction to the court first seised of the matter, and to require the second court to decline jurisdiction in favour of the first court. In this case, the English court was seised first, and accordingly no subsequent agreement of any kind could displace its jurisdiction. Lord Justice Vos ruled that the judge was wrong to order a stay of the proceedings on the basis of the Agreement. He ought to have held that the provisions of article 19 of the Council Regulation were applicable and could not be overridden by the Agreement. In these circumstances, the suggestion that the proceedings should be taken to have lapsed could not succeed. Judgment, 29/01/2014, free
  • Robust guidance from Mostyn J that, for those cases where a residence or similar parental responsibility made in another EU country exists and a child has allegedly been wrongfully retained, parties should be looking at Brussels II Revised and not Hague. Judgment, 05/07/2012, free
  • Application by 14 year old girl with terminal cancer that her body be cryo-preserved after death. Mother supported her application, father did not. The court ruled that the mother was best placed to manage this unusual and difficult situation and therefore made orders placing responsibility in her hands and prevented the father from intervening. Judgment, 21/11/2016, free
  • Permission to take a seriously ill 5 year old boy to Prague to receive treatment for brain cancer was granted after the parents removed the child from a Southampton hospital, sparking a nationwide hunt for the child and resulting in him being made a ward of court. The wardship was also discharged. Judgment, 09/09/2014, free
  • Application by the W for the continuation of an ex parte freezing order made against the H, where the W had obtained documentation relating to the H's assets illegitimately. Application declined. Mostyn J appended to the judgment standard examples of freezing and search orders which were considered by the President and authorised to be promulgated for general use (these example orders are also listed under Precedents). Judgment, 26/06/2013, free
  • In brief: Although these Hague Convention proceedings had been adjourned to allow the mother (“M”) to resolve her immigration status in the US, the time had come to fix the case for a hearing even those issues were still alive. Judgment, 06/08/2018, free
  • Application for permission to appeal an order made by Mr Justice Coleridge in financial remedy proceedings where he ruled that the Chinese Tigers South Africa Trust was not a post nuptial settlement. The judge gave permission to appeal, despite legal costs already amounting to over £2m - he urged the parties to settle before it came back for the appeal hearing. Judgment, 11/01/2016, free
  • Appeal by H against a refusal to make an order to secure a witness statement from the police that he thought would assist him in proving allegations of his wife's unreasonable behaviour. Appeal dismissed, partly because it was a case management decision and the CoA should only interfere in rare circumstances, and partly because the judge was aware of the need to meet the overriding objective of the FPR to deal with cases expeditiously. Black LJ also notes that the couple could have been divorced by consent by now as 2 years had passed since separation. Judgment, 11/02/2015, free
  • The recorder had made a residence order in favour of the mother but refused to make findings against the intervener in relation to incidents of sexual abuse alleged by the child or to categorise admitted behaviours as having sinister sexual overtones or abusive connotation. This was an appeal against that refusal. The appeal was dismissed on the basis that the final order was that sought by the appellants and there was no order, judgment or determination for appeal. The child's reported upset at the recorder’s failure to make findings against the intervener, or that of any other complainant in similar circumstances, did not elevate a negative finding to one “pregnant with legal consequences”. Judgment, 04/10/2013, free
  • Hearing to decide contact between the children and F in a case where the M had been forcibly stranded in Pakistan. A costs order in the sum of £70,000 was made against the grandmother. Judgment, 23/08/2016, free
  • Application by former wife for an appointment of a Receiver under s.37 of the Senior Courts Act, an extended civil restraint order pursuant to Rule 4.8 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 and an extension of a freezing injunction in a case where the former husband had defaulted on child maintenance payments for some years. Judgment, 01/05/2014, free
  • Wife's application for a judgment summons against the husband in respect of £2,200 of arrears of child periodical payments and £5,500 in respect of an unpaid costs order. A suspended sentence was imposed. Judgment, 06/05/2016, free
  • Wife's appeal against a stay of proceedings brought by her in England on the ground that India was the more appropriate forum to hear the proceedings (forum non conveniens). Appeal dismissed. Judgment, 20/10/2013, free
  • A case where the mother (“M”) and three children sought various long-term protective injunctions protecting them against the father (“F”) and, in respect of the youngest child, various orders relating to child arrangements and restricting F’s ability to exercise parental responsibility. Most interestingly, the court endorsed an injunction which prevented F holding himself out as being any of them in any electronic mail, social networking or other communications – it is believed to be the first time that such an order has been made. Judgment, 29/07/2014, free
  • Application by a father for the return of his daughter to Poland, pursuant to the provisions of the Hague Convention. Judgment, 16/05/2016, free
  • An injunction which restrained the husband from directly or indirectly engaging in any business that competed with the family company was to remain in force. The judge said that if it did not compete (which the H alleged) then there was nothing in the injunction which in any way fettered the operation of that company. If it did compete, then it was right that there should be an injunction because by operating a competing business he would be in breach of his fiduciary duties as a shadow director of the family business. Judgment, 14/01/2014, free
  • In this judgment the court has given guidance on the allocation of cases of international surrogacy; specifically that all applications for parental orders when the child or children are born outside the UK are to be allocated (not transferred) to be heard by a judge of the High Court. The guidance contained in this judgment extends to the role and investigations to be carried out by the parental order reporter; specifically that, in order to complete the parental order report, the child must be seen with the Applicants by the reporter to enable her/him to assess the child's welfare satisfactorily, in all circumstances except if there is judged to be sufficient independent evidence. Judgment, 08/12/2015, free
  • These proceedings raise the issue of whether the Court can direct scientific testing of the DNA of a person who has died for the purpose of providing evidence of paternity. Judgment, 20/04/2016, free
  • Mother was objecting to the renewal of British passports for her 3 daughters who were wrongfully removed by the father to Australia over 10 years ago and two of whom were still wards of court. Her main concern was that if their British passports were renewed, they may disappear again with the father to a different country. The court extended both the children's wardship and the order restraining renewal of the British passports for a period of one month, that being a sufficient period to enable the mother to apply to the Australian court to prevent the children from leaving Australia. Judgment, 16/03/2017, free
  • Training note, 25/07/2012, members only
  • Judgment, 03/01/2013, free
  • Reminder that applications for freezing orders must be made to the Family Court at district judge level, unless the criteria in the Efficiency Statement justify it being heard at High Court judge level. The criteria in this case were not met, because, in effect, the applicant had already frozen the property by the imposition of his home rights charge. Judgment, 01/08/2017, free
  • Notes for Christopher Wagstaffe QC's talk presented at the At A Glance Conference 2016 Training note, 23/06/2016, members only
  • A relatively high value financial provision case where the parties had already spent more than £1m in legal fees. The judge reached a decision on distribution which "represent[ed] a fair outcome bearing in mind (i) the existence of non-matrimonial property; (ii) reattribution issues; (iii) the nature of the assets which each will retain at conclusion of proceedings and (iv) sharing." Judgment, 21/08/2014, free
  • In brief: Following the making of an order returning the child to Spain from England, the mother’s (“M”) mental health rapidly deteriorated. She successfully applied to the High Court to have the order set aside and a re-hearing listed following a psychiatric assessment. The Court of Appeal upheld the set aside, concluding that the High Court has the power under the inherent jurisdiction to review and set aside 1980 Hague Convention final orders. The power can be used where there has been a fundamental change of circumstances which undermines the basis on which the original order was made. Here the original return order had been made where the court found that M had not made out her Article 13(b) defence which included M’s claims that there were grave risks to her mental health. Judgment, 16/08/2018, free
  • An order was made in relation to the sale of the family home which the wife opposed. Judgment, 04/10/2016, free
  • Judgment, 08/11/2012, free
  • Application for a reporting restriction order on the previous financial remedy proceedings. A reporting restriction order was made preventing the publication of any information relating to the proceedings save for the judgment. Judgment, 06/08/2018, free
  • The judge had to decide whether, as the father and the children's guardian maintained, the courts of England and Wales have jurisdiction over the child in respect of matters of parental responsibility or whether, as his mother argued, jurisdiction now rests with the courts of Northern Ireland. The judge ruled in favour of the father. Judgment, 19/03/2018, free

Published: 31/12/1981


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