Weekly Family Law Update August 17, 2021

Costs mediation and census figures

Father must pay mother’s costs before proceeding with appeal

A father who wished to appeal against orders made in proceedings relating to his children was ordered to pay the mother’s costs of those proceedings, before he could go ahead with the appeal.

The case involved complex children proceedings, in which the court ordered the father to pay the mother’s legal costs, in the sum of £97,000.

The father failed to comply with that order, making it difficult for the mother to pay for lawyers to represent her in further proceedings.

The father issued his appeal, and the mother asked the court to order that the appeal should be dismissed unless the father pay the costs.

The court found that the father was in contempt of court for not paying the costs, which it also found he could afford to pay.

Accordingly, the court ordered the father to pay the costs to the mother’s solicitors by 4pm on the 30th of April, failing which the father’s appeal would be dismissed.

Government wants more disputes resolved out of court

The Government has launched a ‘call for evidence’, seeking views on the best ways to settle family, business and other civil disputes away from the court room.

Responses to the call for evidence will shape future reforms to civil, family and administrative justice, with Ministers determined to help more people resolve their issues without the stress and cost of a court case. It will examine whether new technologies, as well as services such as mediation and conciliation, could provide smarter and less adversarial routes for finding resolutions.

Evidence is being gathered from a range of interested parties including the judiciary, legal profession, mediators and other conflict resolvers, academics, and the advice sector. It will provide the basis for future reforms later in this parliament.

The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP, commented:

“We want the public, families and businesses to be able to resolve disputes easily and with as little stress as possible – avoiding often lengthy and costly court battles.

“That is why I am delighted to launch this important call for evidence which will help shape our plans to harness new technologies and ensure more people can get resolutions in ways that work for them.

“I look forward to hearing a range of views that will be invaluable in informing our next steps.”

Tenfold rise in divorce since 1961

Taking advantage of new digitised data from the 1961 Census, the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’) has published an article examining how much life changed between 1961 and 2011.

The article includes figures for marriages and divorces over the fifty year period between 1961 and 2011.

The figures show that at the time of the 1961 Census, 68% of people aged 16 years and over were married and 0.8% were divorced. In the 2011 Census, this had changed to 49% of people aged 16 years and over married or in a same-sex civil partnership, and 9% divorced or in a legally dissolved civil partnership.

The figures also show that the proportion of people married was lower in 2011 in almost every local area of England and Wales than 50 years previously. Only 6 local authority areas, as they existed in 1961, saw an increase in marriage. Most of these areas, and the places that saw the smallest reduction in marriage, were rural, possibly because of communities being typically older.

The ONS point out that since 2003 there has been a drop in divorce, both because of fewer people being married and people typically getting married later – marriages at older ages tend to be less likely to break up.

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Prince Family Law has grown in size and reputation to become one of the leading specialist family law practices in South Yorkshire and the East Midlands.  Our work centres on a variety of high profile family law cases to include; Prenuptial/ Postnuptial Agreementsdivorce/separationfinancial settlements  and much more.