Latest figures show an increase in the number of Litigants in Person

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The Ministry of Justice have release figures for the number of privately funded (in other words, non-Legal Aid) cases commenced between April and June 2017. The number of cases have increased by 3% to 13,029 and they show an increase from 36% to 38% of the number of cases where neither side was represented by a solicitor or barrister. Many more cases will have gone to court with only one side having legal representation.

Many of these people have never had ...

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Charlie Gard and Legal Aid

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It is one of the less discussed aspects of the tragic case of Charlie Gard that his parents had no access to Legal Aid so that they could be represented before the courts.

They were very fortunate that their solicitors acted for free (pro-bono). The hospital had their fees paid by the state. Charlie himself was represented by a guardian who was paid for by the state but the state refused to pay for Charlie’s parents to be represented.

If the state ...

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Fixed Fees in Non-Family Law work

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In one of the most significant developments in how solicitors charge for non-family law work Lord Justice Jackson of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales has announced a pilot scheme under which solicitors who win cases for their clients will only be able to charge a fixed fee against the losing party.

For claims of £250,000 or less the fees will be capped at £80,000

The pilot will be open to new cases for two years and be monitored by ...

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The Courts decide that, after 17 years, the law has changed and assets no longer have to be shared equally after a short marriage

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In one of the most significant divorce cases to come before the courts for a number of years, couples who divorce after short marriages with no children cannot now expect an equal share of marital assets after a ruling by the Court of Appeal in the case of Sharp v Sharp.

The judges said that Mr Sharp could not claim half of his ex-wife Julie’s fortune after their four-year, childless marriage and they reduced his award by £725,000. The ...

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European Court of Human Rights to make final decision over Charlie Gard’s life supporting treatment.

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The European Court of Human Rights indicated to the United Kingdom Government that they should provide Charlie Gard with such treatment and nursing care as may be appropriate to ensure that he suffers the least distress and retains the greatest dignity consistent, insofar as possible, with maintaining life until midnight on Tuesday 13 June 2017.

On Tuesday 6 June 2017, in light of the UK High Court order permitting the withdrawal of Charlie Gard’s artificial ventilation and in anticipation of the ...

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Mediation has failed: 95% of separating couples go straight to court

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New figures obtained by National Family Mediation show that government policy aimed at promoting mediation as the preferred way of settling disputes over parenting, finance and property has failed.

Since 22 April 2014 attendance at a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) has been compulsory before a separating couple can apply to the court asking a judge to sort out their finances.

However, figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Justice show that in 2014/15 only one ...

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UK One of the Most Generous for Maintenance

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A recent review, by Penningtons Manches, of the current legislation and case law across 16 countries to provide a global comparison of the level of spousal maintenance from (1) lifelong income facilitating the lifestyle during the marriage to (2) no form of post-divorce spousal support.

The top five countries in which ex-spouses receive virtually nothing post-divorce are Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Finland, Japan and Russia. At the other end of the scale, the top five countries where ex-spouses can expect ...

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Sorting out finances on divorce

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An excellent guide to the law has been produced by the Family justice Council called Sorting Out Finances on Divorce.

It was produced for the benefit of the ever increasing number of litigants in person. That is people who do not have a lawyer to advise them.

Its aim is to demystify the law.

The problem with English divorce law is that there was no one place where you could find the law. It consists of (1) many statutes, most of ...

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Internal Relocation

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In a recent Court of Appeal case called Re C (Internal Relocation) (reported at [2015] EWCA 1305) the Court of Appeal provided long awaited clarity and guidance as to the law concerning internal relocation cases.

It is well known that if you want to stop your ex taking your children to live in, for example, Australia, France or the USA you can go to court and ask a judge to decide whether they should be allowed to go or not.

What is ...

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Divorce by easy formula

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Gary Lineker has suggested that divorce be by formula: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/divorce-should-be-done-by-easy-formula-says-lineker-t5tmb2rtt

For people with lots of money this would work very well because they will have more than enough to meet the needs of both spouses and their children.

For people with not enough money to meet everyone’s needs post divorce, it is much harder to divide the assets up fairly. After all, if there’s not enough money for everyone to be rehoused, you have to decide whether the children and their primary ...

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