Facebook can catch you!

It would appear that wherever you are the Courts can catch-up with you.

Following a claim for over-paid commission by a former employee, Mr Justice Teare granted brokerage firm, Traditional Financial Services (TFS), permission to serve Court proceedings by Facebook.

The broker in question worked for TFS until 2010 and after his departure one of the company’s clients sued TFS for over-charging.

This is the first known use of the social media site for this type of action.  The argument here being that the broker’s current address was unknown but he was a regular Facebook user, could positively be identified and this gave the Courts’ power under the Civil Procedure Rules (Part 6) to serve proceedings by an alternative method where there is good reason.

This is something of a precedent that begs the question why is there no “unlike” button on Facebook.

You have been warned!

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Stantons beats the Government with Divorce Advice

The Sunday Times (24/6/12) announced that the Government is to produce a guide on how to conduct a marital or relationship breakdown amicably.  Particular attention is to be focussed on ‘how not to quarrel in front of the children’, and ‘sorting out child support payments’.

Much of this information is already available from  the Stantons’ publication “Children Handbook, Our Handbook for Separating Parents – To Help You and Your Kids Cope with Separation”, available for free download from our website homepage, www.stanlaw.co.uk

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Dads and Contact

Research suggests that one in three dads loses contact with their children within three years of separation (if that is true).
Sitting as a Deputy District Judge in the Principal Registry, I see how this happens and to be fair it’s not ALWAYS as a result of obstruction on the part of the mother–a surprising number of dads just disappear for a year or more after separation and then come back on the scene asking for contact with children who are all too aware of Dad’s desertion.
For many dads however it is now the court system and its delays which conspires against them so that a father issuing an application now in the Local Family Proceedings Court may have to wait 8 weeks or more for a first court date.
My advice to any dad where contact is being obstructed is to get into court quickly ie make a court application as soon as it looks as if the mother is going to put totally unreasonable obstacles in the way. You can always withdraw the application if there is a change of attitude.
All dads must be reassured that all the district Judges I know will do everything possible to make the contact work.
My firm offers low-cost “dip in, dip out” advice in children cases because we are so concerned that parents are not getting contact because legal advice is not accessible and often a one-off interview reassures a parent that there are steps they can take and that their children will not be lost to them if they are tenacious.

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Early Neutral Evaluation – FDR with fewer tears?

In divorce proceedings a crucial stage is the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing or FDR. The FDR is a form of early neutral evaluation: in an informal setting the Judge expresses a view about the likely outcome of the dispute in order to assist the parties towards settlement, but does not have the power to make an order if they cannot agree.

FDRs have an extremely high success rate – most cases settle at the hearing or shortly afterwards on the basis of the indication the court has given. But:-

  • Because the court lists are overloaded (and the problem is worsening), there is usually a considerable delay before the FDR takes place.
  • Because of the volume of work the Courts are now handling, it is likely that your FDR will be listed at exactly the same time as one or possibly even two more.
  • It is pot luck which Judge will hear your case.  It may be a very inexperienced Deputy District Judge with only Civil Law experience.  Because the Judges have so much in their list, Judges assigned to deal with FDRs have not always had the chance to read the papers and prepare fully for the hearing.
  • The FDR can only take place at a specified time in the progress of a case.

Jan Stanton of Stantons now offers private Early Neutral Evaluation.  Jan has been a Deputy District Judge at the Principal Registry of the Family Division for many years and is highly experienced in dealing with FDRs in cases ranging from many millions of pounds of assets to ones where there is simply not enough money to go round.  ENE (otherwise sometimes called a private FDR) will encourage the parties towards settlement and will express a clear view on the likely outcome if the dispute were to go to Court.  Jan does not have the power to impose a settlement but ENE offers great advantages: –

  • It can happen before court proceedings are started, or at any stage during the court or negotiation process.
  • There is very little delay.
  • The parties will know of Jan’s experience and that their case is receiving individual attention.
  • Jan will have had the opportunity to read the papers and prepare for the occasion.
  • The ENE can deal with all or any aspects of the dispute which the parties wish.

Jan offers ENE to cases where both parties are represented or where only one party is represented or where neither of the parties are represented.  Stantons will never have acted for either party and would not be able to act for either party at any time after the ENE.

ENEs are diarised at 10:00am with the whole day set aside for negotiation and input from the evaluator.  Jan will ask for completed Forms E with all supporting documents and any replies that have been given to questions asked of the other by either party, at least three working days before the ENE appointment to enable her to properly prepare the case.

Stantons will charge a maximum of £1,200.00 including VAT for the ENE process including preparation and a maximum of 5 hours spent on the day of the ENE appointment.  Separate rooms will be available for the parties and their representatives for discussion as the day progresses and our tea and coffee are far better than that from the Court machines.

For further information please contact Stantons at info@stanlaw.co.uk or by phone on 01474 579940 or

Posted in Divorce solicitors, Family law solicitors, Friendly solicitors, Gravesend, North Kent, Specialist lawyers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sun as a legal textbook

A little while ago I went to Rochester Grammar School as part of their careers programme to talk about Family Law as a career but to make it more interesting I called the talk “how to make a profitable career as a Footballer’s wife” and put family law in that context. It was good fun but the School got really sniffy when I asked whether I could send out a Press Release entitled “grammar girls get careers advice to be footballers’ wives” as it was “inappropriate” for the ethos of the school. I do quite a lot of careers work with schools and it’s a real eye-opener as Kent still has selective Grammar schools.  It is immediately obvious to me in the various classes I have spoken to that the brightest in the mixed ability schools are held back substantially by the disaffected majority but I’m getting used to using the Sun newspaper as my textbook to get them to see the impact of law in their lives on a day to day basis and it does seem to work!

Originally published May 2010

Posted in Divorce solicitors, Family law solicitors, Friendly solicitors, Gravesend, North Kent, Specialist lawyers | Leave a comment