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A week in family law: Domestic abuse, call for reform and worries for modernisation

08/06/2018 - Divorce | Family | Family Law | Industry News

Another week in family law passes and this week I have noted a number of articles and research on domestic abuse in the UK today. It’s also been another week of reform calls and a very sobering insight into the reality of the current court modernisation process. Here are my thoughts… ONS examines data on…

Support for domestic abuse victims during lockdown

25/11/2020 - COVID-19 Advice | Domestic abuse | Relationships

As we mark White Ribbon Day (25th November) and the start of the UN’s 16 Days of Activism, we revisit a blog written by Shanika Varga, a Senior Solicitor at our office in Leeds who explains five ways victims can access support for domestic abuse during the lockdown Support for domestic abuse during lockdown Most…

New Domestic Abuse Bill published

21/01/2019 - Family

“Throughout my political career I have worked to bring about an end to domestic abuse. Our new Domestic Abuse Bill will help survivors and stamp out this life-shattering crime.” So tweeted Prime Minister Theresa May, announcing the new Domestic Abuse Bill. Well, it’s a nice idea, but of course nothing will bring an end to…

A closer look at the latest call for a family justice inquiry

03/06/2019 - Family Law

In my weekly review post here last Friday I mentioned the recent call from a group of 37 “concerned family and human rights lawyers, working in-house in women’s organisations, in private practice and at the Bar”, who are asking for an independent inquiry into the treatment of domestic abuse in the family courts. As I…

A few thoughts on the domestic abuse consultation

13/03/2018 - Family Law

“Through this Bill I want to fundamentally change the way we as a country think about domestic abuse, recognising that it is a crime that comes in many forms – physical, emotional, economic. This is about creating a society that protects individuals and families at the earliest opportunity, before such abuse has a chance to…

Committee recommends strengthening of Domestic Abuse Bill

18/06/2019 - Family Law | Relationships

Last week was a bumper week for new family law legislation. First we had the introduction of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill on Thursday, and that was quickly followed on Friday by the publication of the report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee (of MPs and Members of the Lords) on the Government’s draft Domestic…

Domestic abuse prosecutions without the victim’s support

31/01/2020 - Relationships

Evidence-led domestic abuse cases HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (‘HMCPSI’) and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (‘HMICFRS’) have published a joint report on ‘evidence-led’ domestic abuse cases (i.e. where the victim of domestic abuse decides not to support a prosecution), finding that the handling of such prosecutions requires improvement. OK, I…

Domestic abuse survivors to protest this weekend

24/10/2019 - Relationships | Uncategorized

Westminster has been a hive of protest recently. Whether another protest, due this Saturday, will be noticed amongst all the others, I don’t know. Still, that isn’t deterring a group of domestic abuse survivors, who are campaigning to change the way domestic abuse is treated in the family court. The Court Said Specifically, the protest,…

Statistics reveal important trends in living arrangements

15/08/2019 - Family Law | Industry News

As I mentioned here last Friday, the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’) has published its latest Families and households statistical bulletin containing figures for trends in living arrangements in the UK, for 2018. They make interesting reading, and are of considerable importance for the future shape of family law, so I thought I would take…

Should parental alienation be included in the definition of domestic abuse?

01/11/2019 - Children

Parental alienation and domestic abuse As I have mentioned here numerous times, the Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill is currently making its (somewhat bumpy) way through Parliament. The purpose of the Bill is to “raise awareness and understanding of domestic abuse and its impact on victims, to further improve the effectiveness of the justice system in…

Time to change how the courts handle domestic abuse

20/01/2021 - Domestic abuse

Maybe this year will finally be the year of change for victims of domestic abuse and how the courts handle domestic abuse. On the 5th of January, we saw the second reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill in the House of Lords which will introduce, amongst others, a new definition of domestic abuse, extra protection…

The mental effects of domestic abuse

11/06/2019 - Relationships

I suspect that when most people think of domestic abuse they envisage physical abuse, and physical injuries to the victim. At least that is likely to be the case with people who have not experienced abuse, or witnessed it, whether first- or second-hand. But domestic abuse, even of the physical kind, can also seriously affect…

Criminal justice system takes over the burden of dealing with domestic abuse

12/10/2017 - Family Law

“It’s a domestic – we don’t get involved in domestics.” That, or something very similar, would have been the response of most police officers called to a domestic abuse incident back in the 1980s, when I began practising. The police weren’t interested, leaving victims of domestic abuse to seek their own remedies, through the civil…

President gives overview of domestic abuse allegations in family proceedings

04/12/2019 - Family Law

Domestic abuse allegations in family proceedings Speech to charity helping litigants in person I mentioned here the other day a speech that the President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane gave a couple of weeks ago to a conference held by the Support Through Court charity, formerly known as the Personal Support Unit, which…


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