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Dictionary Private Child Law 2024 agreed cover

Dictionary of Private Children Law (2024)

A unique reference guide to the key concepts, cases, and practice of private children law.

ISBN: Paperback | 978-1-80161-102-2 | Digital | 978-1-80161-103-9

Dictionary of Private Children Law 2024 | Print

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Dictionary of Private Children Law 2024 | eBook

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Dictionary of Private Children Law & Dictionary of Public Children Law 2024 bundle | eBook

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Dictionary of Private Children Law & Dictionary of Public Children Law 2024 bundle | Print

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Zoe1 1

Zoe Saunders

Piers Pressdee QC profile

Piers Pressdee KC

Rob George

Professor Rob George

The Dictionary of Private Children Law is a unique reference guide to the key concepts, cases, and practice of private children law. Its A4 format and targeted concise content makes it a unique model of accessibility and portability.

Presented in an easy to use A-Z format, with cross references where required, each entry acts like a practice note on the topic setting out the essential law, key cases, and practice points. The book distills the combined experience of the editors with the aim of providing a concise practical handbook focusing on the most important issues and practice points likely to be encountered by anybody involved in a private children law case. The intention is to achieve this aim for judges and practitioners working in the field, but also to provide a book sufficiently accessible for litigants acting without lawyers.

What's new for 2024?
  • This 2024 edition has been fully updated to include changes and developments in the law from the last 12 months.
Who will find the book useful?
  • Every family law solicitor, barrister or legal executive advising clients on disputes about children after divorce or separation
  • Family Court Judges
  • Mediators, Arbitrators, and other professionals involved in out of court dispute resolution
  • McKenzie Friends and litigants in person

Page count: 115

'Here you have at your fingertips a well-written and user-friendly guide to the essential aspects of the subject, organised in a clear and carefully-structured fashion to enable the reader to find the relevant law in the blink of an eye.'

The Rt Hon Lord Justice Baker

'I am delighted to have been asked to write a short Foreword to the first edition of this excellent new work … its style and format make it an invaluable tool for anyone needing a pithy summary of the relevant law. The number of entries illustrates the astonishingly wide range of issues that arise in private children law. On behalf of the readers of this work, I have road tested the dictionary by reference to a random list of topics and have found it to be succinct, clear and informative ... I congratulate Judge Hess and his colleagues on this invaluable addition to the family law library.'

The Rt Hon Lord Justice Baker

'Practical people need reliable tools and the Dictionary of Private Children Law is an invaluable addition to the toolbox.'

The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Baker
  • Dictionary of Private Children Law
  • Copyright
  • Foreword to the fourth edition
  • Introduction to the 2024 edition
  • Abduction Outside the UK
  • Abduction Within the UK
  • Activity Directions and Conditions
  • Allocation, Gatekeeping and Transfer of Proceedings
  • Appeals
  • Applicants and Applications
  • Arbitration
  • Cafcass
  • Cafcass Monitoring
  • Capability of Parents
  • Change of Living Arrangements
  • Child Arrangements Orders (General)
  • Child Arrangements Orders (‘Live With’ Provision)
  • Child Arrangements Orders (‘Spend Time With’/‘Have Contact With’ Provision)
  • Child Arrangements Programme (CAP)
  • Child Giving Evidence
  • Child’s Age, Sex, Background and Other Relevant Characteristics
  • Child’s Needs
  • Children Meeting Judges
  • Children’s Guardian and the Child as a Party
  • Civil Restraint Orders
  • Coercive and Controlling Behaviour
  • Compensation Orders
  • Consent Orders
  • Contact and Shared Care: General Principles
  • Costs
  • Death of Children
  • Delay
  • Disclosure
  • Dispute Resolution Appointment (DRA)
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Education
  • Effect of Change (Status Quo)
  • Enforcement and Enforcement Orders
  • Expert Evidence
  • Fact-Finding Hearings
  • Family Assistance Orders
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA)
  • Forced Marriage
  • Guardianship
  • Habitual Residence
  • Hague Convention 1996
  • Harm and Risk of Harm
  • Independent Social Workers
  • Interim Orders and Interim Hearings
  • Intractable Contact Disputes
  • Judicial Bias and Recusal
  • Jurisdiction
  • Legal Aid
  • Litigants-in-Person
  • McKenzie Friends
  • Media Attendance and Reporting
  • Mediation and ADR
  • Medical Examination and Treatment
  • Mental Capacity
  • MIAMs
  • Names of Children
  • No Order Principle
  • Non-Parental Contact
  • NYAS
  • Overriding Objective
  • Parentage and DNA Testing
  • Parental Alienation and Alienating Behaviours
  • Parental Involvement Presumption
  • Parental Responsibility: Acquisition and Loss
  • Parental Responsibility: Definition and Scope
  • Parental Status and Legitimacy
  • Parenthood
  • Port Alerts and Tipstaff Orders (Passport, Location and Collection Orders)
  • Prohibited Steps Orders
  • Property Belonging to Children
  • Publicity and Confidentiality
  • Recognition and Enforcement of Orders
  • Religion
  • Relocation Outside the UK: Holidays
  • Relocation Outside the UK: Permanent Moves
  • Relocation Within the UK
  • Rights
  • Safeguarding
  • Section 37 Direction
  • Section 91(14) Orders
  • Security for Costs
  • Setting Aside, Variation, Rescission and Reopening
  • Special Guardianship Orders
  • Specific Issue Orders
  • Step-Parent Adoption
  • Supervised and Supported Contact
  • Surrogacy
  • Terrorism and Radicalisation
  • Undertakings
  • Wardship and the Inherent Jurisdiction
  • Warning Notices and Penal Notices
  • Welfare Checklist
  • Welfare Reports
  • Welfare: Paramountcy Principle
  • Wishes and Feelings of the Child
  • Withdrawal of Applications
  • Without Notice Applications

The majority of separating couples manage to resolve their differences without recourse to litigation. To a greater or lesser degree, separation or divorce is always painful, at least for one party. But even if the outcome is rarely as ‘amicable’ as often asserted, for many people it is ultimately at least tolerable. Most separating couples and their children work out a way of getting along. One judge, now retired, told with me with a smile that he always cooked Christmas lunch for both of his wives and all of his children. (He was, I stress, a divorcé, not a bigamist.) That degree of amicability is perhaps unattainable in most cases, but it is indicative of a modus vivendi to which many would aspire.

For others, however, this is not their experience. Many have to go through a process of dispute resolution before the issues about children and finances are sorted out. A smaller number have to go to court. A very small proportion find themselves stuck in proceedings seemingly indefinitely.

The court system in which these litigants pursue their cases has been hit by a series of crises over the last ten years which has left it ill-equipped to deal with the work expeditiously – the impact of LASPO, a shortage of judges, the crumbling court estate, reductions in court staff, restrictions in sitting days, inadequate IT and, most dramatically, the Covid-19 pandemic. All this has resulted in undue and unacceptable delays. In proceedings involving children, so-called public law cases (concerning issues of child protection between local authorities and families) understandably take priority alongside cases about urgent medical treatment and child abduction. This leaves cases involving disagreements between parents about child arrangements and the division of parenting time at the back of the queue. In an era of diminished resources, it is unsurprising that it is these cases which have experienced the greatest increase in delays. At the time of writing, the average time taken to resolve these cases is 44 weeks. Over 80,000 children in England and Wales are currently in private children’s proceedings.

Hitherto, these cases have gone largely unnoticed because proceedings have always taken place in private. Now, the implementation of the reforms instigated following the Transparency Review published by the President of the Family Division is beginning to shed greater light on what goes on. Following an initial pilot in Cardiff, Cumbria and Leeds, the reforms are being extended to 16 other courts. As I write these words on 28 January 2024, staff at the Central Family Court are preparing to implement the new scheme next week. By the time these words are published, it will have been in effect in London and a dozen or so other courts across the country for several weeks. It will be interesting to see what gets published. Judges cannot and should not have any say in how newspapers and bloggers report what goes on in court, provided the rules and restrictions on anonymity are obeyed. So far, the focus has been directed to the courts’ treatment of allegations of domestic abuse, which continues to be a matter of concern to many people. There are, however, many other issues which are also worthy of attention – not least the efforts to steer separating parents away from court and into alternative ways of settling their differences – and it is to be hoped that expanded reporting will increase public interest and debate.

One other development we are all keeping an eye on is the progress of the Pathfinder Project which is trialling a different way of dealing with private children’s applications. The approach is investigative, with a more intensive involvement for Cafcass at the outset, focusing on the key issues about the child’s welfare, enabling the court more easily to hear the voice of the child, and directing cases to out-of-court dispute resolution processes where appropriate whilst being alert to allegations of domestic abuse which need to be brought to the court’s attention. So far the project has been confined to two pilot courts in North Wales and Dorset where under the leadership of the Designated Family Judges, respectively HH Judge Gaynor Lloyd and HH Judge Chris Simmonds, it has been dramatically successful in bringing about earlier resolution in the vast majority of cases. This coming year, the pilot is being extended to a small number of additional courts. The commitment of greater resources to achieve a resolution with the aim of saving money down the line is always an attractive idea but budget holders are understandably keen to ensure that the new approach really does work before making that commitment.

Whether you are a litigant in person struggling with the law in a dispute about your children, or a lawyer wanting to have all the relevant law at your fingertips, or an appeal judge with long experience in the field but who needs to be reminded of the latest developments, this well-designed and judiciously-edited Dictionary is an invaluable resource. I dare say that journalists and bloggers thinking of reporting on cases on the family courts may also find it illuminating. The editorial team is to be congratulated on updating it so assiduously once again.

The Right Honourable Lord Justice Baker

January 2024

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Dictionary of Private Children Law (2024) thumbnail image

Zoe Saunders

Dictionary of Private Children Law (2024) thumbnail image

Piers Pressdee KC

Dictionary of Private Children Law (2024) thumbnail image

Professor Rob George