Family Law Hub

Practice & Procedure

Latest updates

  • A final child arrangements order had been made, and the child was to live with his mother. The father breached the order, abducting the child for seven days. He told the court that he had been planning the abduction ever since the order was made. He had borrowed a car and a flat from a friend in preparation. Arbuthnot J found the level of culpability to be high, and the level of harm to be medium. The child had found the abduction traumatic. Finding him had required much press involvement, and it was difficult to anticipate what the effect of those stories would be on the child's development. There were several aggravating factors. Arbuthnot J committed the father to prison for four months, to be released after two months, subject to recall and probation. Judgment, 13/10/2021, free
  • An application was brought for return orders from Saudi Arabia under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court. The central factual issue was the question of abandonment, and the alleged stranding of the mother and the children in Saudi Arabia. The mother's case was that she wished to return to the United Kingdom but was unable to, and that the father had engineered this situation. The father said that the mother had settled in Saudi Arabia. She also made allegations of domestic abuse, which HHJ Mark Rogers found to be credible. He also found that the husband's departure from Saudi Arabia, taking the family's passports, was a response to the family breakdown and his desire to isolate his wife and weaken her position. She was stranded in Saudi Arabia, against her will, in circumstances brought about in part, if not in whole, by the father. The children were not in full-time education, and had no access to proper healthcare, and the judge came to the conclusion that they were not habitually resident in Saudi Arabia. The children were British and he was satisfied they required the court's protection and that subsequent matters should be dealt with here. Orders would be required to secure the return of the children to the United Kingdom. Judgment, 22/09/2021, free
  • Both parents lived in England. The mother had taken their three-year-old daughter to India in March 2019, and returned without her, leaving the child with the maternal grandparents. Though born in England, the daughter was not yet a British citizen. In April 2021, the father had applied under the inherent jurisdiction for a wardship order and a return order. This hearing was to determine whether the court had jurisdiction (including the question of habitual residence), and whether the father's delay in issuing proceedings was fatal to his application. Peel J concluded that the child had continued to be habitually resident in England and Wales and had been so at the date of the father's application. He noted that the mother had offered very little evidence about the child's situation in India. As to delay, that would be a factor in considering whether wardship and return orders should be made, but it did not entitle the court to strike out the claim unless the prospects of success had been so hopeless as to justify the exercise of case management powers in such a profoundly draconian way. Judgment, 18/09/2021, free
  • The former wife appealed against an order consequent upon a financial remedies hearing which had occupied several days in November and December 2020, following which the judge had circulated a draft reserved judgment which itself generated a request for clarification, further email submissions and ultimately a slightly revised approved judgment. The three live grounds of appeal were that the judge had been wrong to make no provision for the wife’s liabilities, had failed to step back and cross-check his award to ensure fairness, and had wrongly imposed a s 28(1A) bar. The latter ground of appeal was dismissed: the actual order made was within the available discretionary outcomes, and justifiable on the evidence. However, in the view of HHJ Mark Rogers, the practical impact of the judge’s exclusion of the costs liability had been to reduce the capital available to the wife for housing by about 37%, contrary to his own assessment of her housing need. The judge’s approach to the calculation of the correct needs-based lump sum had been wrong in law. As to the cross-check, failure to carry one out was not strictly capable of being a ground of appeal, as it was the ultimate decision that was under review, but, in the view of HHJ Mark Rogers, the judge’s failure to do so was clear and illustrated his failure to engage with the true discretionary process. The appeal was allowed and the lump sum order of £475,000 was set aside. The matter was not remitted; HHJ Mark Rogers assessed the appropriate lump sum award at £600,000. He directed that the husband should pay the wife’s costs of the appeal, the quantum of which was determined in a summary assessment, at the joint request of the parties. Judgment, 31/08/2021, free
  • Both parents were British citizens with Overseas Citizens of India status, and both had been living in India. One day before the first court hearing in child welfare proceedings brought by the father, the mother had flown their five-year-old son to England. The father now applied under the court's inherent jurisdiction for the summary return of their son to India, and asserted that this was a "hot pursuit" case. The application was opposed by the mother, who alleged domestic abuse and coercive behaviour. Cobb J reached the clear conclusion that it was in the boy's best interests to be returned to India forthwith, and for his future to be determined in the courts there. He was habitually resident in India, while his situation in England was at best transitory and fragile; for example, he was not attending school here. In Cobb J's judgement, the mother's clandestine and unilateral action in bringing the boy to England had been primarily prompted by her wish to avoid engaging in family court proceedings in India. The allegations of domestic abuse had been laid before the Indian court in the child welfare proceedings there. In his view, the risk of harm to the mother from the alleged abuse could be appropriately mitigated by the protective measures offered by the father, the fact that she could return to live with her parents, and the availability in India of civil law process (the equivalent of non-molestation proceedings). He was satisfied that the Indian court was appropriately seised of child welfare proceedings regarding the child. Judgment, 31/08/2021, free

Latest know-how

Latest training

Latest sources

Copyright 

Copyright in the original legal material published on the Family Law Hub is vested in Mills & Reeve LLP (as per date of publication shown on screen) unless indicated otherwise.

Disclaimer

The Family Law Hub website relates to the legal position in England Wales and all of the material within it has been prepared with the aim of providing key information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While Mills & Reeve LLP aims to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. You therefore acknowledge and agree that Mills & Reeve LLP and its members and employees accept no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of our website except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.

Bookmark this item