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Bloomsbury Family Law Briefing: October Teaser

Top five cases

S-L (Children: Adjournment) [2019] EWCA Civ 1571 (19 September 2019) – A recorder’s adjournment order was ‘wrong’ and procedurally irregular.

Re Nasrullah Mursalin [2019] EWCA Civ 1559 (3 September 2019) – See below.

D (A Child) [2019] UKSC 42 (26 September 2019) – Parents cannot consent to deprivation of liberty of a child of 16-17.

A (A Child: Female Genital Mutilation: Asylum) [2019] EWHC 2475 (Fam) (25 September 2019), Sir Andrew McFarlane P – The family courts have no inherent jurisdiction to compel the Home Secretary to obey a FGM order.

AAA and ors v Rakoff and ors [2019] EWHC 2525 (QB), Nicklin J – Anonymity refused in a claim by lap-dancers against individuals who were concerned that their employers licences were being breached. A master-class on privacy and the open justice principle and the case law in respect of it

Committal to prison and children proceedings

The suspended prison sentence handed out by a circuit judge in the family court to the paralegal Nasrullah Mursalin – see Re Nasrullah Mursalin [2019] EWCA Civ 1559 (3 September 2019) – was greeted by universal disapproval. The sentence was set aside by the Court of Appeal, the third of such Court of Appeal set asides this year. This case, like the earlier ones, shows the depth of the misunderstandings of the law amongst the circuit judiciary. It makes suggestions as to how to avoid them.

This is criminal contempt, and should probably not be dealt with at all by a circuit judge. Any judge must be aware that guilty intent (mens rea) must be proved (Nasrullah Mursalin said the whole unfortunate episode of him putting family proceedings documents in an immigration tribunal bundle was a mistake). The respondent must have ‘proper notice’ of what he was charged with, and all allegations particularised in writing. A respondent need not give evidence; and should be told of his right to say nothing (self-incrimination privilege). And hearings must be in open court Practice Direction (Committal for Contempt: Open Court) [2015] 1 WLR 2195, [2015] 2 AllER 541

The Family Law Briefing is part of the Bloomsbury Law Online Service. The full briefing is available here.

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