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Family Law

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Penningtons Manches , 24 AUG 2015

Penningtons Manches submits its response to the Law Commission's consultation on enforcement of family financial orders

The Penningtons Manches family law team has submitted its response to the Law Commission's consultation on its recommendations for reform of the law and procedure for the enforcement of family financial orders.

Co-authors Jane Craig, head of the family department, and senior associate Edward Floyd agree with the Family Law Bar Association's assessment that the current landscape of enforcement is 'hopelessly complex and procedurally tortuous', and welcome the majority of the Law Commission's initial recommendations.

In the family team's experience, non-compliance with family financial orders can have a devastating effect on those whom such orders are intended to benefit. The family team's view is that the current system is weighted on favour of those who wish to frustrate the enforcement of family financial orders and makes recommendations on how the balance can be redressed and the prospects of those seeking to enforce family financial orders can be improved.

The following four measures are recommended to mitigate the effects on creditors (the people to whom payment is owed) of family financial orders that are not complied with:
  • The introduction of a streamlined and simplified court procedure for enforcement with clear, centralised guidance available
  • The introduction of powers to obtain information from third parties
  • A wider choice of coercive sanctions for non-compliance
  • A robust judicial approach to case management
Says Jane Craig: 'We also support information obtained from third parties being passed on to the creditor to being made available at court. Where a party is in default of a family financial order, the balance between preserving the privacy of the debtor and the right of the creditor to receive payment ordered by the court should be determined in favour of the creditor.'

Penningtons Manches also urges the Law Commission to reform the rules for fixed costs in enforcement proceedings are they are 'arcane and outdated', and cause confusion.

The firm's full response can be viewed here.

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