Family Law Hub

Fairness

Latest updates

  • Two barristers had separated in January 2019. The husband wished an immediate order for sale of the family home to be made, to enable him to enforce his entitlement to £250,000 plus statutory interest. The wife hoped for a finding that the entire order approving a previous agreement should be set aside, with the effect of putting the case back to square one with all arguments re-opened. HHJ Edward Hess reached a clear view that the facts of this case did not pass the "setting aside" test from Walkden v Walkden [2010] 1 FLR 174: "given the importance attached to finality in settlements of this nature, the circumstances must be truly exceptional before a capital settlement can be re-opened". After considering the fairness of the parties' suggested scenarios, he decided in the end that making an order for sale, but delaying its implementation, would be the scenario most likely to give both parties some prospect of a reasonable financial future. Judgment, 18/03/2021, free
  • An appeal against an order prohibiting counsel acting for the father from accepting further instructions from him in proceedings under Part II of the Children Act 1989. The father was from Pakistan, the mother from the UK, and they had married under Islamic law, separating two years later. Counsel in question had previously acted for the father, liaising with the mother, in immigration proceedings, following which the mother had made a complaint of professional misconduct against her. MacDonald J dismissed this appeal. It was possible that counsel's continued participation would lead to a reasonable lay apprehension of unfairness. The judge had not failed to give adequate weight to the potential for the mother to adopt a tactical position amounting to an abuse of process. Given the evidence before the court of counsel's highly personalised responses to the mother's complaints, the potential for difficulties to arise in cross-examination of the mother by counsel was plain. Judgment, 14/10/2020, free
  • The father sought permission to appeal out of time against a district judge's finding of fact that he had abused his daughter. Francis J decided that the findings were so unsafe and their consequences so series that they could not be allowed to stand, despite the exceptional delay in appealing. He noted with surprise the district judge's assertion that the mother's counsel could conduct the cross-examination of the expert witness on behalf of the litigant-in-person father as well as the mother, a suggestion which Francis J said was "incorrect and plainly wrong". The expert had not been cross-examined on his misunderstanding of a previous judgment in the case, and in failing to depart from the expert's view the district judge fell into further error. The procedure adopted was irregular enough to cause injustice within the meaning of FPR Part 30. Permission to appeal out of time was granted, the appeal was allowed and the finding of fact set aside. The matter would be remitted for re-hearing by a High Court judge of the Family Division. Judgment, 19/05/2020, free
  • The Court of Appeal recently gave judgment in XW v XH [2019] EWCA Civ 2262, an appeal by the wife (‘W’) against the financial remedy order made by Mr Justice Baker (as he then was) on 21 December 2017 (see XW v XH [2017] EWFC 76). He had ordered that W should receive capital resources which, when added to her own assets, would give her approximately £152m – a significant sum, but equal to only 29% of the parties’ combined capital resources of £530m. Judgment, 03/02/2020, free
  • The case concerned an application by the husband to set aside: a) an order for deemed service of a divorce petition; b) all orders which stemmed from that petition (certificate of entitlement, decree nisi, decree absolute). The question for the court was: did the alleged procedural errors in service render the orders void or voidable? The court concluded that: a) under the Family Procedure Rules (“FPR”) the alleged errors in service would not necessarily render these orders void; b) when considering the prejudice to both parties, this was not a case where the orders were void; d) if the orders were voidable the court would not exercise its discretion and set aside the orders. The husband’s application was dismissed. News, 13/12/2019, free

Latest know-how

Latest training

  • Recording of webinar broadcast on 7th February 2019 Webcast, 11/02/2019, members only
  • Joe Switalski, of 29 Bedford Row, reviews the current case law and judicial thinking surrounding 'short marriages' in financial remedy proceedings. Recorded 19 March 2018. Webcast, 21/03/2018, members only

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