Impractical Child Custody Order Leads to Court Appearance

The family courts are kept busy these days with disputes over which parent children should live with – especially when the parents are of different nationalities. In a recent case, an Algerian court had awarded custody to the mother of two children, with the father, an Algerian, being granted visitation rights on weekends and holidays. The practical problem with this arrangement was that the Algerian court failed to take account of the fact that the mother and children live in the UK. Unsurprisingly, the arrangement proved unworkable. Because the mother failed to deliver the children to Algeria in accordance with the order, the result was her conviction by the Algerian…

Boundary Argument Costs Teacher £50,000

Boundary disputes can take a long time to resolve and can be ruinously expensive, as a recent case illustrates. It involved a teacher who put up a fence along what she thought was the boundary of her property. Her neighbours did not agree. The potential for a dispute was clear because she had to apply for planning permission for the fence and the difference of opinion over where the boundary lay was evident early on when her neighbours marked out a line inside the line she considered marked the edge of her property. The difference in the positions was a little more than a foot. Undaunted, the woman constructed a…

You May Want to be Careful Where Your Case is Heard

The English courts are enduringly popular with litigants, who often go to great lengths to have their cases heard in this country. The reason for this is that English law is well developed and usually achieves a high degree of fairness in its rulings. However, many contracts specify the country where disputes should be resolved and such terms are usually decisive, as is illustrated by a recent case involving a claim for financial losses. An investor had launched proceedings against a bank which was based in Monaco. She claimed to have suffered losses as a result of the bank placing unauthorised foreign currency trades or failing to follow her instructions.…

Court Approves Family Cost Control

It is common for people to appoint a family member as their attorney to manage their affairs for them should they become unable to do so. However, unless there is a specific ‘charging clause’ in the document appointing the attorney, they cannot charge for their time. Often, this will not cause any problems, but in some cases a family member appointed as attorney may face the awful choice of giving up their livelihood to care for a relative who is no longer able to care for themselves, or buying in care at a price that will exhaust the resources of the infirm person. Recently, the court had to deal with…

HMRC Get Ready to Throw the Book at Tax Evaders

In recent years, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have created a series of very generous ‘disclosure windows’ to allow people who have undisclosed assets in tax havens to reveal their existence voluntarily and thereby avoid both prosecution and the full extent of tax-geared penalties that can come with an HMRC investigation. However, because HMRC have been successful in negotiating intergovernmental disclosure arrangements with more than 90 countries worldwide, which means that they will automatically provide information to HMRC on assets, income and capital gains of ‘UK’ asset-holders within their jurisdiction, the decision has been taken to terminate the current arrangement and replace it with a much less beneficial one from…

Local Authority Not Liable for Foster Care Abuse

In general, employers can be held ‘vicariously liable’ for the actions of their employees, in the course of their employment, where these cause damage to other people. A recent case has confirmed, however, that the principle cannot be extended to foster carers. The case involved the physical and sexual abuse of a child put into foster care by Nottinghamshire County Council. The Court of Appeal ruled that the Council’s duty of care to the child was not ‘non-delegable’. Accordingly, the Council was not liable for the abuse. The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice.…

OPG Outlines Investigation Policy on Abuse by Attorneys and Deputies

With a steady and increasing trickle of cases involving the misappropriation of assets by attorneys appointed by people who have lost the ability to look after their own affairs, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has published a ‘safeguarding policy’ document designed to assist the prevention of abuse or neglect of vulnerable people. The OPG has a public duty to ‘supervise deputies appointed by the Court of Protection, and to investigate complaints or concerns about the actions of deputies, registered attorneys and people acting under an order of the Court of Protection’. The OPG is not likely to become involved in an investigation where the person giving the power…

Incorrect Documentation Fails to Cancel Charge

Just because a document is not properly executed does not mean that all rights are necessarily lost, as arecent case in the Supreme Court illustrates. It involved a bank which had a mortgage over a family home. The family wished to pay off debts and decided to sell the house and move to a smaller property, releasing funds to clear their indebtedness. The bank agreed to ‘transfer the mortgage’, but the paperwork to do that was not executed properly. The situation became an issue when the family decided to give the new home to a daughter, who sought the removal of the bank’s charge from the register at the Land…

Patient’s Wishes Determine Care

The much publicised case in which the Court of Protection ruled that clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) could lawfully be withdrawn from a patient with multiple sclerosis who was in a ‘minimally conscious state’ has been hailed as a landmark ruling. In reaching its decision that withdrawal of CANH would be in the patient’s best interests, the Court relied heavily on evidence that she would not want the treatment were she able to speak for herself. The clear message is that if you have strong views on what would or would not be acceptable as treatment for yourself in similar circumstances, you should ensure you communicate these clearly to…

Prison for Not Revealing Whereabouts of Child

When a child is taken away from one parent by the other against a ruling of the Family Court, the consequences can be severe for anyone who withholds information as to the child’s whereabouts, as a recent case illustrates. Following the break-up of his parents’ relationship, a child lived with his Polish mother in Poland. The couple had been married in the UK and the father was British, of Pakistani descent. Following a visit to Poland to see his son, the father abducted him and was thought to have returned with him to England. The mother obtained a ‘collection order’, which is a notice that can be served on a person…