Rupert Chapman

Contact and Domestic Violence: New practice guidance comes into effect

As of 22nd April 2014 a new practice direction (PD12J) applies in all private law children cases where issues of domestic violence are relevant.

The PD provides a definition of domestic violence which includes controlling behaviour “designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependant by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.” Read more

Domestic Violence Fees to be Scrapped

The fees for non-molestation and occupation orders (and forced marriage protection orders) in domestic violence cases, presently at £75, are to be scrapped from 22nd April 2014; the day when the single family court is created.  This is part of the fee changes in civil and family courts in England and Wales that aim to ensure the income generated by fees more closely matches the cost of the service provided. Read more

Supreme Court’s Long Awaited Judgment in Deprivation of Liberty Cases

After 5 months of anxious anticipation the Supreme Court has handed down judgment in the cases of P v Cheshire West and P & Q v Surrey County Council.  This judgment is a key moment in defining the rights of those who lack capacity.  A House of Lords Select Committee recently suggested that the Mental Capacity Act 2005 has suffered from a lack of awareness and understanding amongst those working with mentally incapacitated adults and possibly tens of thousands of individuals are being deprived of their liberty without the protection of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS).

On the face of it the Supreme Court judgment has simplified the question of whether someone is deprived of their liberty.  Time will tell what the impact will be on practice on the ground but one thing that seems certain is that local authorities will see an increase in the number of DOLS cases.

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Qualifying nuptial agreements: A quick look at the current law and future developments

Traditionally in this country the use of nuptial agreements has been very limited on public policy grounds, both on the basis that agreements relating to a future and hypothetical separation were void because they offend the principle of the life long union of marriage, and secondly as such agreements could not remove the Court of its jurisdiction. Read more