Family Law Hub

Case Management

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  • Both parents were British citizens, the mother living in London, the father in Switzerland. The mother applied for an Hadkinson order, for the father's two conjoined appeals to be dismissed unless he paid outstanding costs orders and other amounts previously ordered by the court. The father frankly admitted the non-payment of the amounts ordered, had not sought a stay or variation, and had not undertaken to pay. He was clearly in contempt, and had sufficient income to make payment. In determining whether to make a Hadkinson order, Poole J bore in mind that it was a case management order of the last resort, and that it had to be proportionate to the problem identified. He ordered that the father should make a payment of £88,796.37 previously ordered to be paid, together with another sum of £8,767.80 previously ordered to be paid, the total payable by a given date to the mother's current solicitors, to be held on account pending the resolution of an appeal. In default of payment, the father's two appeals would be dismissed. Judgment, 09/08/2021, free
  • This was an appeal, in the course of child arrangements proceedings, against a case management decision to exclude evidence from a fact-finding hearing where there were allegations of domestic abuse. The father's representative had raised the point that the mother's statement included allegations going beyond the five permitted in the Scott Schedule, as did other statements. The recorder noted that to permit only evidence which related to an allegation in the Scott Schedule was "a little on the narrow side", as an allegation might need to be put into context, but that it was also important to ensure that the hearing did not become unnecessarily lengthy. He had then concluded that significant sections of the mother's statement should be excluded, including her claim that that the father's violent and abusive behaviour towards the children had worsened. The mother appealed on four grounds: the recorder had been wrong to exclude the matters in the mother's sworn statement on the basis that they were irrelevant and inadmissible; wrong to exclude the professional evidence which was relevant to the child's allegations and the impact of the alleged abuse; wrong to exclude similar fact evidence, e.g. regarding the father's behaviour at work; and the recorder's conduct of the hearing had resulted in procedural fairness (a ground which was not pressed at this hearing). Judd J expressed sympathy for the recorder, who had not been responsible for any of the case management orders requiring the parties to limit their allegations to five. Nonetheless, his decision could not stand. The allegations beyond those in the Scott Schedule were neither inadmissible nor irrelevant; they were highly significant. The mother's appeal was allowed. The parents were directed to file narrative statements to be considered at the pre-trial review, alongside the mother's application to adduce evidence from doctors, her mother and the nanny. Judgment, 13/07/2021, free
  • The husband appealed from a case management order made in financial remedy proceedings. The parties had separated in 2016, after 29 years of marriage. It was accepted on both sides that their assets had been built up during the marriage. There had been negotiations but the wife did not consider herself bound by the agreement. The judge below had found that an abbreviated process was not appropriate, since the significance of the agreement would require detailed analysis, and he ordered further case management. On appeal, the husband argued that the judge had erred in refusing to set down his show cause application for hearing, and in making case management decisions that would have been unnecessary if the show cause application had been successful. The wife argued that the judge's order had been within his discretion. Theis J dismissed the appeal on all grounds, rejecting any suggestion that the judge had been wrong or erred in law. He had been entitled to make the order that he made, for the reasons he set out. Such cases were fact specific, and there was no inflexible rule as to how the proceedings should be conducted. She urged the parties to negotiate, to bring them certainty and finality, and to reduce the impact of increasing legal costs. Judgment, 16/12/2020, free
  • The plan looks at how the civil and family courts are increasing capacity. News, 11/11/2020, free
  • The questions were whether a child should be told of his biological father, whether the husband (the psychological father) should be allowed to take the child on holiday to France, and what directions should be given relating to a deceit claim. The mother did not want the child to be told, and the biological father denied his paternity. Cohen J decided that the child should be told when an independent social worker, agreed upon by the parents, thought the time was right. He refused permission for the holiday, not being confident that the child's return could be achieved if the husband took him to the UAE. Cohen J allowed the mother's application to strike out the deceit claim to proceed to a hearing. Judgment, 18/08/2019, free

Latest know-how

Latest training

  • Recording of webinar first broadcast on 15th October 2020. Webcast, 20/10/2020, free
  • Matthew Long, of 29 Bedford Row, reviews the current best practice guidelines for managing cases involving litigants in person, explains the role of McKenzie Friends and offers some practical tips drawn from his experience. Webcast, 07/02/2018, members only
  • Mena Ruparel, a committee member of the Law Society Family Law Section, presents an overview of the revised Law Society Family Law Protocol, revised and re-issued in October 2015. Webcast, 30/11/2015, free
  • Webinar first broadcast on Thursday 29 October 2015. Running time: 56 mins approx Webcast, 03/11/2015, members only
  • All too often we only think about tactics in the run up to a Final Hearing, or possibly an FDR, but we should be thinking about them at the outset, or at least as soon as we have a picture of the parties’ assets. In this most practical of webinars, Marc Saunderson of Mills & Reeve provides an invaluable toolkit of hints & reminders to help you make the most of the FDA, touching on completing Forms A & E, constructing chronologies and gathering the documentation you need on the day. Webcast, 20/06/2014, members only

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