Archive for January, 2015

Female Genital Mutilation a ‘Great Evil’, Says Top Judge

Non-therapeutic circumcision of male children ‘significantly harms’ them, the nation’s top family judge has ruled in a landmark case. However, the practice is a far cry from the ‘great evil’ of female genital mutilation (FGM) and is ‘tolerated’ by the law on cultural and religious grounds. Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, said that the case was the first in which issues relating to FGM had been raised in care proceedings. He was giving his judgment on the case of a three-year-old girl who social workers suspected had been subjected to FGM by her Muslim parents. Leeds City Council had taken the girl into foster care after her mother ‘seemingly abandoned’ her in the street. Exonerating the parents, Sir James said that a single genital scar did not prove that the girl had been subjected to FGM and ... Read more

Ex-Wife Battles to Re-Open £1.6 Million Divorce

A divorcee who accepted $100,000 in full and final settlement of her financial claims against her ex-husband – but later uncovered evidence that he owned a prime plot of land worth about £1.6 million – has had her hopes of re-opening her case boosted by the Court of Appeal. The wife had suspected that the husband owned land in Jordan but settled her case against him after he assured her through solicitors that that was not the case. Subsequent inquiries, however, indicated that he did in fact own such a plot, it having been put in his name by his father. The husband argued that the land was ‘beneficially’ owned by his father. However, in granting the wife permission to appeal, the Court found it arguable that there had been ‘significant non-disclosure’ by the husband. If the wife’s appeal succeeds, the ... Read more

Racehorse Owning Doctor Pulls Up Lame in Tax Dispute

A doctor’s disastrous foray into the glamorous world of racehorse ownership led to a guideline case in which the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) analysed the vexed issue of what differentiates a commercial trade from a mere hobby. The doctor thought he was onto a winner when he purchased a half share in a horse called ‘Hermes’. The horse caused ‘a minor stir’ in the racing world when he came a ‘creditable second’ in his first race and, on the strength of that performance, a buyer offered to snap up Hermes for £50,000. That was turned away in the hope that the horse would achieve further track success – and perhaps even win commercial sponsorship from the luxury brand Hermes. That turned out to be a forlorn hope, however, after it emerged that Hermes did not have winged heels after all. His showing ... Read more

Locking Up Children ‘Sends the Wrong Message’

In a decision which emphasised the overriding importance of personal liberty – and the pernicious effects of locking up children – a local authority’s plea that a 14-year-old sex trafficking victim should be confined to a secure home for her own good has been rejected by the High Court. The girl had been brought to the UK against her will and groomed by criminals for sexual exploitation. She had twice put herself in peril by absconding from her foster home to visit predatory men, once by climbing down a drainpipe. The council argued that she should be held in secure conditions for her own protection. In dismissing the application, however, the Court stressed that children should only be deprived of their liberty in the most extreme circumstances. The judge said, “Locking a child up is corrosive of a young person’s spirit. ... Read more
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