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Financial Provision

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  • 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
  • A short judgment dealing with an ancillary dispute. After a final order had been approved, a question remained as to what security should be provided by the husband. The parties had failed to agree the terms of the security. Lieven J identified disputes as to (a) whether the security should be discharged when the lump sum against which it was charged was paid; (b) the precise terms of the charges; and (c) the particular properties to be charged. She decided that once the lump sum in question had been paid the security in respect of that lump sum would be discharged. The properties to form the security would be as set out in the consent order. She approved the charge drawn in the form drafted by the husband, with his amendments being applied but not the wife's. In her view, the issues around security had spiralled entirely out of control, but she made no order for costs, it not being possible to tell on the material before her where any unreasonable conduct lay. Judgment, 08/10/2020, free
  • Following a decision that the disclosure of a mother's medical records had been unnecessarily and disproportionately invasive of her right to respect for her private life, HHJ Wildblood QC wished to highlight the extent to which court lists were being filled by interim private law hearings that should not have required court involvement. He gave the example of being asked to decide at which motorway junction the handover of a child for contact should take place. Such micromanagement should only come before a court where it was genuinely necessary, and he warned that where unnecessary cases were brought, criticism and sanctions could follow. He urged parties and their lawyers to explore other ways to settle their disagreements, such as mediation. Judgment, 28/09/2020, free
  • The husband appealed from a financial remedy order made in February 2020, on the ground that the judge had failed to assess or take into account the husband's needs and only considered the wife's needs. Part of the order had been for the husband to sell a property in Miami, with the wife to receive the lump sum. The day before the hearing the court – and the husband's own solicitors – learned that the husband's beneficial interest in that property had been transferred to his mother. In Moylan LJ's view, the judge had been entitled to take the husband's litigation conduct into account. The disparity in outcome could be justified in this case. The judge had found that the burden of maintaining the children was likely to be met by the wife. Moylan LJ did not accept the submission that the judge's consideration of the husband's needs had been inadequate. Patten LJ and Newey LJ agreed. The appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 25/09/2020, free
  • The wife made an application to implement the terms of a consent order. The husband cross-applied, to have the order implemented in a different manner. The premise of the consent order had been that two valuable properties in London and New York constituted matrimonial property, and their value would be aggregated with a third property, the overall value being divided equally between the parties. In Mostyn J's judgment, the true facts on which he had made the consent order had not been known by either the parties or the court at the time the order was made, and had the true facts been known (regarding the trusts involved, which were not capable of being collapsed or dissolved) he would have made a materially different order. The order was set aside. Judgment, 09/09/2020, free

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