The case related to an application for leave to remove in respect of two teenagers. One being under 16, the other aged 17. The appellate court refused appeal against the recorder´s decision to refuse leave to remove in respect of the younger teen, despite their expressing their wish to relocate. The underlying reason was that the mother´s plans for the relocation were not sufficiently thought through. In respect of the older child, appeal was allowed, as “The simple fact is that E is too old to be directed by the court in a matter of this kind.” Continue reading Re C (Older Children: Relocation)  EWCA Civ 1298
How many children were the subject of leave to remove applications in 2014?
We’ve just been reading Freedom of Information statistics from Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS).
Now we’ll give you a bit of a clue… according to those same statistics, the number of children involved in cases where an order was made relating to leave to remove was given as 255 (in all of 2014). Also, remember that according to Government statistics, in 2010, the proportion of children born to foreign born mothers was 50% in London (and 25% nationally) so one might expect the number to be quite high!
Failures in Judicial Case Allocation and Gatekeeping
We have seen a number of cases recently where the courts are failing to follow rules in relation to case allocation. Some of the worst examples include:
- leave to remove cases (where one parent seeks to remove the children abroad).
- complex cases previously heard in senior courts ending up heard by magistrates who fail to examine case history prior to varying the existing orders (which came before them for enforcement).
In short, the wrong level of judge is hearing cases in breach of court rules and guidance. If your case is allocated to the wrong level of judge, ask for it to be moved to the right level by writing into the court. We suggest writing into the court where the application was made, and addressing your letter to the Designated Family Judge (DFJ) responsible for Gatekeeping and Case Allocation. If you can, take the letter into court, hand it into the court administration department and ask for a receipt to confirm delivery. After this, if matters continue to be heard at the wrong level, write a position statement including a request for the case to be transferred and deliver this to court two days before the next hearing. Raise the matter orally at the hearing and take a copy of that position statement and the letter sent to the DFJ into court with you.
Case outcomes can be put at risk when too junior a judge hears them. This is why the rules exist to ensure more complex cases are heard by more experienced judiciary. In this article, we remind people of how cases should be allocated and the rules which govern this. Please reference the guidance we cite when asking that the court move proceedings to the correct level of judge.
Continue reading Failures in Judicial Case Allocation and Gatekeeping
New Case Law: Leave to Remove – Gender and Payne – Essential Reading
In August, Lord Justice Ryder handed down judgment in a case which involved leave to remove. Continue reading New Case Law: Leave to Remove – Gender and Payne – Essential Reading
New Case Law – Leave to Remove – N v N (Removal from the jurisdiction)  EWFC B89
The mother´s having placed obstacles in the way of contact was a factor in leave to remove being refused. The mother’s arguments were unduly critical of the father and she could not think of a single positive thing to say about him. Her focus had been on the maternal family whereas it should have been on the child’s needs and his parents.
The judge did not accept she would be devastated but disappointed. The judge usefully bullet points the matters he weighed when considering the case before him. The mother’s application for leave to remove was refused.
Read the full text of the judgment
Download the judgment
Leave to Remove Guidance for the non-relocating parent
On the weekend I was asked what goes through my head (not the first time in the last week) when working on arguments in leave to remove cases. The question “are they very difficult to stop” raises the response “no, but you can’t hope to just walk into court without detailed preparation and get a good result”. You need to have facts pertinent to the individual case to work with and build the arguments around those facts. You need to prepare thoroughly. There are pitfalls too to be avoided and these are discussed further on. Continue reading Leave to Remove Guidance for the non-relocating parent
BBC World Service – Is Virtual Parenting Time a Substitute for Physical Contact
If you didn’t catch my interview on the BBC World Service this week on Skype contact, you can hear it on our Youtube Channel (or via the video below). The father interviewed, ‘Peter’, explains the problems extremely well. Was moving the child 400 miles away from this man in the child’s best interests? Hearing him, I struggle to see how it was. Continue reading BBC World Service – Is Virtual Parenting Time a Substitute for Physical Contact
Added to our case law libraries – W (Children)  EWFC B215
The case was heard in the Chelmsford Family Court. The Guardian supported an order for shared living arrangements and the mother had interfered with the interim contact arrangements leading to the father making a further application for a reversal of residence. Continue reading Added to our case law libraries – W (Children)  EWFC B215
In today’s Daily Mail – The fathers who only see their children on a computer screen
If you missed the Daily Mail article today on the limitations of Skype as a source of contact, you can read it via the link below:
The fathers who only see their children on a computer screen
It’s worth remembering that some mums are affected by this too. Regardless of gender, all of their children are affected. You really can’t hug Skype.
In this week’s Spectator Magazine – Skype Dads: A New Sorrow of Divorce in the Internet Age
In this week’s Spectator Magazine, an article on the problems facing non-resident parents and their children when the children are removed abroad. More parents discuss their experiences and the difficulties involved. The international element of parental separation is an area of increasing interest for the press. Make sure you also listen to this week’s Radio 5 Live discussion (on the same subject).
To read the Spectator article, follow the link below:
Meet the Skype Dads: a new sorrow of divorce in the internet age