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  • The mother had applied without notice for a specific issue order for the father to return their two children to her care, asserting that he had retained them at the conclusion of an agreed period of contact. After the matter was listed on notice to the father, he told the court that he had not returned the children due to concerns about their welfare. No substantive order was made at that hearing. The mother now applied for a costs order. In the view of HHJ Middleton-Roy, this was not a case where it would be appropriate to depart from the general principle that each party should bear their own costs. There would be no order as to costs. He noted with approval that the parties had now agreed to attend therapeutic mediation with a view to improving the communication between them and to resolve issues in respect of the children. Judgment, 25/09/2020, free
  • The parties had been married and had a ten-year-old daughter. The proceedings had been protracted and involved substantial costs. The judge had made an income clean break order. The husband had applied to enforce the outstanding payment of the lump sum. The wife now applied to set the order aside, make a new order or vary its terms insofar as it dismissed income claims and required payment of a lump sum. She argued that where there was an executory order which had not been fully implemented, and the current circumstances were inequitable, the original order should be set aside and everything opened up again. She placed specific reliance on Thwaite [1981] 2 All ER 789. DDJ David Hodson dismissed her application, apart from as to the date of payment. He was satisfied that the appropriate test was either "significant change of circumstances or quasi-Barder" and in his view none of the reasons given in this case came remotely close. Judgment, 21/08/2020, free
  • An application by the wife to vary and extend the freezing orders granted against the first respondent in 2016, to cover all of his assets. They had been granted because of a real risk that the judgment – that the husband should pay the wife £453,576,152 by way of financial remedy consequent upon the breakdown of their marriage – would otherwise have gone unsatisfied. Knowles J had no hesitation in concluding that there was a real risk that the judgments and orders in the wife's favour would go unsatisfied if the relief were not granted. The husband's complex web of illicit transactions had expanded beyond the perceived scope of the original freezing orders, with the result that he and third parties had felt able to ignore the court's orders with impunity. Judgment, 21/08/2020, free
  • Four applications were before the court: to commit the wife for breach of a non-molestation order; to commit her for breach of an order made on 5 October 2017; for an order for sale of the wife's house; and (from the wife) to discharge the previous orders made against her. Lieven J reached the conclusion that the wife's allegations against the husband were without foundation and that she had been pursuing a "cruel and destructive" campaign against him. However, committing her once again to prison would not achieve anything. Lieven J did make the order for sale sought. A representative of the Press Association raised a concern regarding section 1 of the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992. Lieven J decided that where an alleged victim's identity was already in the public domain, the prohibition in section 1 could only take effect to the degree that it had any operative effect. She anonymised the judgment to the extent of calling the parties' children J and B. Judgment, 08/08/2020, free
  • The couple had been separated since 2012 and divorced since 2014. They had two children, aged 13 and 15. The husband was in very substantial breach of his financial obligations under a previous order, to the extent of £2.6m. The husband claimed that he was insolvent and could be made bankrupt by any one of his many creditors. In HHJ Hess's view, the husband was asking her to re-open the overall quantum of a lump sum by instalments which had been part of a consent order which had been intended to be a final package. Since he was a substantial cause of his own problems, she could not regard those problems as rendering it unjust to hold him to the original order. Despite his current difficulties, the order would not be discharged by bankruptcy proceedings or by time limitation, so the former wife might one day be able to enforce it. The capital order was varied to adopt a new, agreed figure, and the child periodical payments order was varied in accordance with an agreement reached between the parties. Judgment, 08/08/2020, free

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