Family Law

Family Law Newsletter #1306.09.18

Issue #13 of Spire Barristers' Family Law Newsletter: edited by Jacqueline Thomas and Sarah Blackmore.

Articles from around the web, Legislation updates and Case Updates from Care Proceedings and Financial Remedy matters. Subscribe to receive Family Law Newsletter notifications or email us to give us any feedback.

It’s been a busy summer in the courts with issues including no-fault divorce reaching the headlines. Here’s our top news items and cases to help you start the new term fully informed….


Islamic marriage recognized as “void marriage rather than non-marriage” leaving application for financial remedies open to wife

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Tini Owens loses Supreme Court divorce fight

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Womens’ Aid highlight difficulties faced by victims of domestic abuse within the family court system

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Commons Select Committee examines Domestic Abuse Bill

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Domestic abuse survivors and children sleeping rough, survey finds

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President’s Guidance

Recent guidance from the President of the Family Division:

President’s Guidance: Addition to Compendium of Standard Family Orders

The President of the Family Division issues Guidance on arrangements for adoption visits


Legal bloggers allowed to report on family proceedings [Family Law Focus]

Five years after former family division president Sir James Munby highlighted a pressing need for greater transparency in the family justice system, the government and judiciary are to allow certain ‘legal bloggers’ to report on proceedings.

Law Gazette article

Case Updates

Recent case updates and summaries:

Owens v Owens [2018] UKSC 41

Supreme Court decision in “unreasonable behaviour” petition for divorce. Her principal ground of appeal had been that the subsection should now be interpreted as requiring not that the behaviour of Mr Owens had been such that she could not reasonably be expected to live with him but that the effect of it on her had been of that character. By the time of the hearing, that ground was no longer pursued. The court, for the first time, considers the meaning of “behaviour which means that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent” and examines whether the use of the legal shorthand “unreasonable behaviour” leads to the wrong test being applied.

The appeal was dismissed.


RD (Deprivation or Restriction of Liberty), Re [2018] EWFC 47 (28 June 2018) 

Judgment concerning issue of whether regime applied to 14 year old child deprives her of her liberty in such a way as to engage her Article 5 ECHR rights.

RD was resident in a therapeutic residential home and the levels of supervision and monitoring afforded to her were not generally different from other residents. RD was not competent to consent to a deprivation and was subject to an ICO.

The court described the decision as finely balanced and found that the regime did not impose complete control or supervision, but did impose limits and boundaries, which were restrictions comparable to any other child her age.


Re A-F No 2

Munby J’s guidance, including draft orders attached to the judgment, in cases involving the deprivation of liberty of teenagers, and consideration of transfer to the Court of Protection.


Williams and another v London Borough of Hackney [2018] UKSC 37

Court of Appeal: Lady Hale, President; Lord Kerr; Lord Wilson; Lord Carnwath; Lady Black

The focus of this appeal was on the limits of local authority powers and duties to provide accommodation of children under s.20 of the Children Act 1989 and specifically what local authorities are to do if parents seek the return of their accommodated children but a local authority perceive there are obstacles in doing so…continue reading