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  • In the course of consolidated Children Act 1989 Schedule 1 enforcement proceedings and Children Act 1989 section 8 proceedings, the father appealed against an order for financial disclosure with a penal notice, and a costs allowance order in favour of the mother. He also sought to put in evidence of the mother's alleged non-disclosure and drug use. Williams J refused the father's applications to admit fresh evidence, to amend the grounds of appeal, and for disclosure of the means by which the mother's lawyers were funded through the Children Act proceedings. He had not demonstrated a realistic prospect of success in relation to any of them, nor was there any other compelling reason to grant permission to appeal. The mother sought an order for the father to pay her costs of and occasioned by the appeal and the associated applications. Williams J was satisfied that this was an appropriate case in which to make such an order. Judgment, 05/11/2020, free
  • Following a decision that the disclosure of a mother's medical records had been unnecessarily and disproportionately invasive of her right to respect for her private life, HHJ Wildblood QC wished to highlight the extent to which court lists were being filled by interim private law hearings that should not have required court involvement. He gave the example of being asked to decide at which motorway junction the handover of a child for contact should take place. Such micromanagement should only come before a court where it was genuinely necessary, and he warned that where unnecessary cases were brought, criticism and sanctions could follow. He urged parties and their lawyers to explore other ways to settle their disagreements, such as mediation. Judgment, 28/09/2020, free
  • Three applications were before the court: the wife's application for disclosure from the eighth and ninth respondents, in support of her claims under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 and section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973; an application by five respondents to be released from their obligations under previous orders; and an application by the eighth and ninth respondents for a case management stay of the proceedings pending the outcome of proceedings in Liechtenstein. Knowles J found that the orders for disclosure directed at the eighth and ninth respondents were necessary to justly and fairly determine the wife's properly brought claim, even though those orders might be contrary to civil and criminal law in Liechtenstein. The risk of prosecution in Liechtenstein was little more than purely hypothetical. The absence of the material in question would very substantially interfere with the wife's ability to pursue her claim and would hamper the court's ability to determine the proceedings fairly. Knowles J refused the application to set aside and vary the previous orders, and refused the application for a stay of the proceedings. Judgment, 17/08/2020, free
  • The mother and the Secretary of State for the Home Department brought appeals against an order for disclosure, in private family proceedings, of redacted copies of certain documents in her asylum file, to the solicitors acting for the father and the son. In Baker LJ's view, it was clear that MacDonald J had correctly identified the applicable principles of law in his first judgment and in the second had applied them in a way which was fully within his discretion and could not be successfully challenged in the Court of Appeal. His conduct of the balancing exercise required had been "unimpeachable". Phillips LJ agreed. In Peter Jackson LJ's view, the answer to questions regarding disclosure in similar cases was "not to be found in legal generalities or contestable adjectives but in a close study of the individual circumstances". The judge had reached a decision after careful consideration. Though Peter Jackson LJ had some hesitancy about the outcome, it was not open to the Court of Appeal to say that the judge's decision had been wrong. The appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 04/08/2020, free
  • The husband sought an order for the wife to produce the files of her previous legal advisors. The husband's case was that she had waived the privilege that would normally attach to communications between a client and her legal advisors on three separate occasions, for example when claiming that they had been "frankly incompetent". Cohen J found that the wife had clearly invited the husband "into the consultation room", in claiming that her instructions had been misconstrued or misquoted or not followed. It would be unfair if the husband could not challenge this statement by reference to contemporaneous notes, emails and other communications. The files would be made available to a QC selected by the parties for sifting and, if required, redacting the necessary material. Judgment, 12/07/2020, free

Latest know-how

  • In a tweet: Disclosure of husband's confidential documents ordered from copies held by wife's lawyers. Case note, 18/10/2019, members only
  • In a tweet: The courts’ poor service - which had effectively forced the parties into arbitration – did not dilute the magnetic importance of the arbitration agreement. Case note, 04/07/2019, members only
  • Florence Jones, Pupil, 1 Hare Court, writes a case summary of Vilinova v Vilinov & Anor [2019] EWHC 1107 (Fam). Case note, 31/05/2019, members only
  • In a tweet: Adverse inferences made against H resulted in an award that gave him £160K and his undisclosed assets and W £1.4million Case note, 26/10/2018, members only
  • In a tweet: Debts were a fiction created by H to defeat W’s claims Case note, 26/10/2018, members only

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