Family Law Update

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There have been some developments in family law recently that we think you should know about:

  • Opening up Family Courts to the Press – On 27 April 2009 Jack Straw decided that the UK press (only those with valid UK press cards) would have access to all levels of Family Courts. This will include cases which had previously been heard in private and those in camera. The public will still not be entitled to attend. However it should be noted the Judge has the power to restrict the press access if deemed unsuitable and they can restrict reporting eg names and specific case details.
  • Re-opening of settlements or order due to the collapse of financial markets – The recent case of Myerson has brought this issue to the forefront. Mr Myerson wanted to reopen a settlement order as due to the financial markets collapse his assets were no longer at the level of when the order was made. Mr Myerson felt this was unfair as his wife would have received nearly 100% of the assets where he would be left with a minus figure for his proportion. However, the Court of Appeal has rejected his claim giving the message that this is simply hard luck.
  • Post Nup – This has received a lot of press attention due the case of MacLeod v MacLeod. Basically the law regarding Pre Nups remains the same eg they are not automatically valid as binding contracts, but they can be taken into consideration. Whereas a Post Nup is a valid binding contract but also subject to similar pre-conditions. Watch this space for the landmark appeal of Radmacher v Granatino to see if pre nup contracts made in Europe are legally enforceable in England.
  • Access to Justice Act 1999 (Destination of Appeals) (Family Proceedings) Order 2009 – This order means that as of 6 April 2009 appeals against decisions made by magistrates' courts in family proceedings shall lie with a county court and not a High Court.


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