An appeal, splitting siblings and Ashya King: The last week in family law

Alison Sharland has been granted permission to take her divorce case to the Supreme Court next June after it was found that her husband misled both her and the High Court over the value of his company. The Supreme Court has confirmed that the case raises a point of law of general public importance and will hear her appeal against the decision made by the Court of Appeal in February, which refused to set aside an agreement she had entered into with her former husband on divorce, despite his misrepresentation.

A Freedom of Information request by the charity Action for Childrenhas found that during the last financial year a third of UK children were separated from their brothers and sisters when placed in foster care. The figure rose to 45 per cent in the East Midlands. The charity said that splitting siblings “can ignite feelings of loss and abandonment which can affect emotional and mental health. They increase the risk of unstable foster placements and poor performance at school, as well as further problems in adulthood, such as difficulty finding a job, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness or criminal activity.” Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said: “For many children, being taken into care can be a confusing and upsetting time; add the distress of being split up from your brother or sister into the mix and the impact will last a lifetime.”

The High Court’s decision in the Ashya King wardship case has been published, and the judgment can be seen here. The court gave permission, in accordance with his parents’ wishes, for Ashya to be taken for treatment to Prague in the Czech Republic. The judgment sets out Mr Justice Baker’s reasons for making that decision.

A Mexican mother has succeeded in her application for the return of her fifteen year old daughter to Mexico. In AVH v SI & Another the parents were married in England but separated when the child was only a year or so old. The mother subsequently returned to Mexico, with the daughter. However, in July this year the daughter came to London without telling her mother, and with the assistance of her father. The mother applied for the daughter’s return, under the Hague Convention. Despite the daughter’s objection, Mr Justice Cobb ordered that she return to Mexico.

Cafcass has published its latest figures for care applications and private law demand, for August 2014. In that month Cafcass received a total of 894 care applications, representing an 8% increase compared to those received in August 2013. As to private law demand, Cafcass received a total of 2,516 new private law cases, which is a 37% decrease on August 2013 levels, seemingly reflecting the continuing effect of the abolition of legal aid in April 2013.

And finally, a woman has been granted permission to look at court files relating to her father’s adoption to discover the identity of her grandmother, in a ground-breaking judgment that sets a precedent for revealing secret family histories. The ruling by the President of the Family Division Sir James Munby will allow the woman to explore her ancestry – an inquiry previously blocked by an adoption order dating back to 1930. The judgment is based upon the fact that the grandmother, adoptive parents and father in the case are all known or assumed to be dead.