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  • The mother applied to commit the father for contempt of court. They had met, married and lived in England. In 2018 they had travelled to Saudi Arabia, where the father had said they would thereafter remain. During a trip to Pakistan for a wedding, the mother had made arrangements to return to England, but had been prevented from bringing one of their two children. She commenced proceedings here on the basis that the child remained habitually resident in England and Wales, and the father was ordered to bring her back. He did not. Holman J was satisfied that the father had been fully engaged in the proceedings, and that he was fully aware of the precise terms of the order. He was now deliberately in contempt of court. However, the mother's wish was to have her daughter returned, not for the father to be imprisoned, and Holman J adjourned the question of sanction and sentence to a date not less than six weeks after the hearing, with no sentence to be served if the father did return the child. Judgment, 30/11/2019, free
  • The wife was seeking to enforce a financial order made in her favour. It had been the largest financial order ever made in favour of a wife in the jurisdiction and the husband had not paid a penny of it. She now made this application in respect of documents which had been obtained from a former employee of the husband, who was now assisting in her litigation enforcement efforts. An application for directions pursuant to UL v BK should have been made when the documents were received, but was not. Given that this was a case involving fraud and evasion on the husband's part, Knowles J directed that the wife and her lawyers were entitled to retain and use certain of the documents as if they had been disclosed by the husband, including those that were potentially privileged. Knowles J also gave guidance as to what should be done in similar situations in future. Judgment, 27/11/2019, free
  • Leave to apply for financial relief had been granted to the wife at an ex parte hearing under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. The husband applied to set it aside. The parties lived only in Russia throughout the marriage, and had become very wealthy during the 1990s. There had been a blizzard of litigation since the divorce. The husband alleged that Cohen J had been materially misled by the wife's representatives when making the order. Cohen J regretted having been persuaded to hear the application without notice, and decided that the grant of leave was indeed given as a result of the court being misled, . The leave to apply for financial relief was set aside. The wife's application was considered afresh and dismissed. Her case was not appropriate for determination in England and Wales. Judgment, 12/11/2019, free
  • Seven summonses were before Cohen J. One was the wife's judgment summons, claiming the husband had not paid the sums due under the order and requesting committal. The husband admitted that he was in arrears, but argued that he was unable to pay. Looking at his expenditure, Cohen J was satisfied that that was not the case, and found him to be in contempt of court. Consideration of what punishment to impose was adjourned to a later hearing, and the husband was directed to file information and evidence regarding the claimed changes in his circumstances. Judgment, 12/11/2019, free
  • New guidance released 29th October 2019 from the president of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane. News, 31/10/2019, free

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