John Bolch on what family lawyers were talking about this week…

Family Law|Industry News|June 13th 2014

Police are issuing personal warnings to men and women with a record of domestic violence in the run-up to England’s first World Cup game, acting on evidence that abuse against wives, girlfriends and partners spikes dramatically in the aftermath of matches – whether the team wins or loses. The most detailed research into the links between the football World Cup and domestic abuse rates has revealed that in one force area in England and Wales, violent incidents increased by 38% when England lost – but also rose by 26% when they won. The research, by Lancaster University criminologist Dr Stuart Kirby, a former police officer, monitored police reports of domestic violence during the last three World Cups in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

The President of the Family Division has asked the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, to explain how a children dispute case can proceed without legal aid. In a judgment that effectively challenges the Ministry of Justice’s policy of removing public funding for most private family law cases Sir James Munby has had to adjourn a case because he has reached a legal dead end. In the case, identified only as Q v Q, the lack of legal aid for a convicted sex offender who wants to maintain contact with his son has emerged as a crucial factor preventing the court delivering a fair hearing. The unrepresented man does not speak much English and requires an interpreter.

The President has also said that courts should consider ordering contraception lessons for problem parents who have had multiple children taken into care. Speaking at the annual meeting of the British Association of Social Workers he said that cases where mothers had a dozen or more children only for them to be taken away by social service were a “distressingly regular occurrence”. He described a new initiative being trialled around the country by the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts, which have been encouraging parents to use birth control to change their behaviour and prevent “repetitive pregnancies”.

A British woman who claims that she was secretly married to the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia has had a key success in a multi-million pound claim, as the High Court rejected a “state immunity” application by the King’s son. Janan Harb told the High Court in London that she married King Fahd when he was a prince in 1968, but that she was forced to leave the country several years later, before he ascended to the throne. She claims she is owed a lump sum of £12 million which was promised to her 11 years ago, plus the ownership of two high-value apartments in central London. Lawyers for Prince Abdul Aziz, the king’s son, argued he had “state immunity” and therefore applied for an order declaring that the court had no jurisdiction to try Mrs Harb’s claim. However, Mrs Justice Rose dismissed the application, opening the way for a full hearing.

Cafcass has published its latest figures for care applications and private law demand, for May 2014. In that month Cafcass received a total of 857 care applications, representing a 13% decrease compared to those received in May 2013. As to private law demand, Cafcass received a total of 2,239 new private law cases, which is a huge 55% decrease on April 2013 levels, reflecting the effect of the abolition of legal aid.

Lastly, the Ministry of Justice has published an analytical summary presenting findings from the 2012/13 Crime Survey for England and Wales examining public attitudes towards and experiences of the family justice system, including mediation. Overall, the survey showed that although the public’s direct experience of the family justice system was limited, those who had been involved reported positively on their experiences. Around half of adults were aware of the family justice system and mediation as an alternative to court. Overall, the majority of adults were confident in the system.

On that positive note I will wish you a good weekend.

Photo by Jack via Flickr

Author: John Bolch

John Bolch often wonders how he ever became a family lawyer. He no longer practises, but has instead earned a reputation as one of the UK's best-known family law bloggers.

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  1. John Bolch on what family lawyers were talking about this week… | Order Transfer Factor says:

    […] John Bolch on what family lawyers were talking about this week… A British woman who claims that she was secretly married to the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia has had a key success in a multi-million pound claim, as the High Court rejected a “state immunity” application by the King's son. Janan Harb told the High … Read more on Marilyn Stowe Blog […]

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