Domestic Violence: No Means No: Re H v F [2020] EWHC 86 (Fam)

31.01.2019 Recently, Women’s Aid told the BBC that in their view the Family Courts were not “safe spaces for domestic and sexual abuse survivors”, following a Family Court ruling on the nature of consent in the context of a rape allegation. The background was that in 2018 a father applied to the Family Court for a contact order with his children, in defence of which the mother alleged, inter alia, that the father had raped her. The Judge at first instance dismissed the rape allegation because the woman did nothing physically to prevent her former partner penetrating her. The woman appealed for several reasons and on appeal. Ms Justice Russell, sitting in the High Court, upheld the woman’s co

Tanya’s ten top tips to help minimize your legal costs Top Tip 11 Be honest.

Maybe it goes without saying, but this is one of the reasons that having a good rapport with your solicitor, is an investment. You need to be able to tell us anything. We are on your side – our client’s best interests are our first priority. It may not seem relevant or important but I would urge you to let your solicitor determine whether anything you are unsure about, is pertinent to your matter. Sometimes it is as an afterthought that a client will tell me something that turns out to be a central piece of information, or a key element influencing how I conduct a matter. I once was at court on a negotiation hearing (known as a Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing, or an FDR) along with m

Tanya’s ten top tips to help minimize your legal costs Top Tip 10/10 Choose well.

Your choice of solicitor is yours, and yours alone. Having a good rapport with them will be important as time goes on and if you understand one another well, this will help with your costs. This is especially the case when it comes to family law. Divorce, separation and children matters are incredibly personal and being able to discuss things openly with your solicitor will be crucial. I once gave a client some advice on their matter generally, in an initial (‘no strings’) fixed fee appointment. They came back many months later, having instructed a different firm in the intervening period. Things had not gone well for them through that firm’s conduct of the case, and when they moved thei

Tanya’s ten top tips to help minimize your legal costs Top Tip 9/10 Understand how your costs accrue

Sometimes your costs may be agreed at a fixed fee. Even then, you should be aware of anything that may take you out of the fixed fee, and how then your costs will be incurred. I have said before that you get what you pay for. It is worth bearing this in mind when looking into how solicitors will charge you, their hourly rate and whether they use a fixed fee. Most firms offer a ‘no strings’ initial appointment, often for a reduced rate, so that you can meet your solicitor and get some initial advice before formally instructing them. Beyond that, most solicitors use an hourly rate (to which VAT is then added) to charge for their time. As a result, you need to know what unit of time is being

Tanya’s ten top tips to help minimize your legal costs Top Tip 8/10 Tell us what works for you.

Last time on this blog, my advice was to make sure you read everything your solicitor sends you. But for some of us, reading doesn’t come all that easily. If reading isn’t your strength, tell your solicitor. We do need to keep a record of conversations, and putting things in correspondence (such as email) can help with costs but if this is not an easy way for your to communicate with us, do let us know. Sometimes writing to you will be the only way but we will adapt as much as possible to your needs, so if using bullet points helps, or phone calls and meetings are better for you, just let us know. Sometimes it is simply a case of our using a larger font – I once had a client who was very

Relationship Equality

Yesterday, that is, on 1 January 2020, civil partnerships became available to heterosexual couples. This means that to enter into a relationship involving promises (and let’s not forget of course, legal implications) heterosexual couples have a choice. As well as having the option to marry, heterosexual couples can alternatively enter into civil partnerships. Until now civil partnership has been the province of same-sex couples. But for varying reasons, sometimes of principle and sometimes personal, some heterosexual couples have wanted the option of electing not to marry, but to enter a civil partnership instead. Civil partnership was introduced to enable committed same-sex couples to ent

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which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, SRA number 623061. 

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