UK heatwave

Hello Hugo

Hope you are keeping well.

As the Telegraph article below relates, today was the hottest day in June since 1976 – the year before I was born.  It certainly felt it.  Ironically, the peak was recorded at Heathrow, the location where you last set foot in the UK in 2011.

The heat this week has been oppressive and reminds me of when I worked in Japan:  in the summer months, when walking to the station in the mornings, my shirt would be soaked through with sweat.  Similar experiences in London this week.

I imagine that the weather is similarly oppressive in Hiroshima so hope that you are coping with it better than I would be.

It would be great to hear from you some time…

 

The Telegraph

UK Weather: barristers remove wigs and gowns as Britain sizzles in hottest June day since 1976

Britain enjoyed the hottest June day for 40 years 
Britain enjoyed the hottest June day for 40 years  CREDIT: AMER GHAZZAL / BARCROFT IMAGES

Barristers and judges were allowed to ditch their traditional gowns and wigs and school sent pupils home as Britain experience the hottest day for 40 years yesterday.

Temperatures soared above 34C as the UK saw its hottest June day since 1976, the Met Office confirmed.

Heathrow in west London had recorded temperatures of 94.1F (34.5C) by 4pm, the highest for June since the 35.6C (96F) recorded in Southampton on June 28 1976.

Sweltering temperatures inside Croydon Crown Court forced Judge Deborah Charles to allow counsel to leave their heavy black gowns and horse-hair wigs to one side as they addressed a jury in the opening of a case.

Andover Church of England Primary School, Hants, closed its doors at 11.30am yesterday morning because of the increased heat.

Wednesday saw the hottest summer solstice on record as temperatures rose above 86F (30C) for the fifth consecutive day in a row.

A lady sunbathes as they enjoy the hot weather on the beach in Brighton, East Sussex
A lady sunbathes as they enjoy the hot weather on the beach in Brighton, East SussexCREDIT: GARETH FULLER PA 

But the hottest prolonged spell in June since the drought summer of 1976 is set to come to an end, as a cold front swept across the UK overnightt

There are also weather warnings in place for Wednesday afternoon and evening, with heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast for parts of southern Scotland, northern England, north Wales and the Midlands.

The Met Office warned of the potential for torrential downpours, frequent lightning, very large hailstones and strong gusts of wind, which could lead to localised flooding and temporary disruption of power supplies.

Chief meteorologist Steve Willington said: “The high pressure that has dominated our weather of late is starting to move away, allowing fresher air in from the west.

“A cold front that will pass through the UK will mark an end to the hot spell of weather in the south and bring cloudier skies and lower temperatures.”

 Large crowds of sun seekers pack Brighton beach to cool off on scorching day
 Large crowds of sun seekers pack Brighton beach to cool off on scorching day CREDIT: BARCROFT MEDIA

The sweltering temperatures have seen “unprecedented demand” for ambulance services in London, with people fainting, collapsing and becoming unconscious in the heat.

Patients calling for non-emergencies are likely to wait four hours for an ambulance, London Ambulance Service warned.

On Monday, London Ambulance Service call handlers answered 6,613 emergency calls, compared with 4,695 the week before – a 41 per cent increase – and the service warned this was expected to continue while the heatwave lasted.

Peter McKenna, deputy director of operations, said: “Our crews are extremely busy.

“On Monday we attended 20 per cent more seriously ill and injured patients than the same day last week and we’ve also been involved in a number of high-profile major incidents.”

Medical director Dr Fenella Wrigley said: “We see an increase in calls because people can forget to stay hydrated and the heat can exacerbate heart and breathing conditions.

“We are getting calls from people who do not need an ambulance – for minor sunburn, heat rash, hayfever.

“These can be dealt with by a pharmacist. If you call us for something minor, you may experience a long wait.”

Youngsters were urged not to go swimming in lakes, rivers and reservoirs during the hot weather, following the deaths of two teenagers in separate incidents.

A 16-year-old boy died at a reservoir in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on Monday, while a 15-year-old boy died after going into a lake with friends in the Pelsall area of the Black Country, in the West Midlands, on Tuesday evening.

West Midlands Fire Service’s area commander Ben Brook, said: “We absolutely understand the temptation to swim, have fun and cool down during the heatwave, but we are asking people not to.

“It simply isn’t worth the risk nor the heartbreak for all involved when things go wrong.”

A pensioner also drowned off the Sussex coast on Monday.

Thousands of sun-worshippers witnessed a spectacular dawn as they gathered at Stonehenge for the summer solstice.

Approximately 13,000 people descended on the neolithic monument in Wiltshire to watch the sun rise at 4.52am – up from 12,000 last year.

Source:  “UK weather:  barristers remove wigs and gowns as Britain sizzles in hottest June day since 1976”, The Telegraph, 21 June 2017

The Economist article: Unhappily ever after

KATE BAGGOTT and her two children live in a tiny converted attic in a village near Frankfurt. Ms Baggott, who is Canadian, has a temporary residence permit and cannot work or receive benefits. The trio arrived in Germany in October, after a Canadian court order gave them a day’s notice to get on the plane. Ms Baggott’s ex-husband, a Canadian living in Germany, had revoked his permission for the children’s move to Canada after they had been there nearly a year, alleging “parental child abduction”. A German court has given Ms Baggott full custody, but she must stay until an appeal is over.

Such ordeals are becoming more common as the number of multi-national and footloose families grows. Across the European Union, for example, one in seven births is to a woman who is a foreign citizen. In London a whopping two-thirds of newborns in 2015 had at least one parent who was born abroad. In Denmark, Spain and Sweden more than a tenth of divorces end marriages in which at least one partner is a non-citizen.

The first question in a cross-border break-up is which country’s laws apply. When lots of money is at stake there is an incentive to “forum shop”. Some jurisdictions are friendlier to the richer partner. Germany and Sweden exclude assets owned before the marriage from any settlement. Ongoing financial support of one partner by the other is rare in France and Texas—and ruled out in another American state, Georgia, if the spouse seeking support was adulterous.

Under English law, by contrast, family fortunes are generally split evenly, including anything owned before the marriage. Prenuptial agreements, especially if drawn up by a lawyer representing both spouses, are often ignored. The wife of a Russian oligarch or a Malaysian tycoon can file for divorce in London if she can persuade a judge that she has sufficient links to England. A judge, says David Hodson, a family lawyer in London, might be presented with a list of items supporting her claim, which may be as trivial as which sports team the husband roots for, or where the family poodle gets a trim.

Across the European Union, until recently the rule has been that the courts of the country in which divorce papers are filed first gets to hear the case. The result was that couples often rushed to file rather than attempting to fix marital problems. But in some countries that is changing: last year Estonia became the 17th EU country since 2010 to sign an agreement known as Rome III that specifies how to decide which country’s law applies (usually the couple’s most recent country of residence, unless they agree otherwise). Though the deal brings welcome clarity, it can mean that courts in one country have to apply another country’s unfamiliar laws. And one spouse may be tricked or bullied into agreeing to a divorce under the rules that best suit the other.

The bitterest battles, though, are about children, not money. Approaches to custody vary wildly from place to place. Getting children back if an ex-partner has taken them abroad can be impossible. And when a cross-border marriage ends, one partner’s right to stay in the country where the couple lived may end, too, if it depended on the other’s nationality or visa.

Treasures of the heart

Under the Hague Abduction Convention, a treaty signed by 95 countries, decisions about custody and relocation fall to courts in the child’s country of “habitual residence”. If one parent takes a child abroad without the other’s consent or a court order, that counts as child abduction. The destination country must arrange the child’s return.

But plenty of countries have not signed, including Egypt, India and Nigeria. They can be havens for abducting parents. Around 1,800 children are abducted from EU countries each year. More than 600 were taken from America in 2015; about 500 abductions to America are reported to the country’s authorities each year.

Some countries, including Australia and New Zealand, often regard themselves as a child’s habitual residence from the moment the child arrives. The EU sets the threshold at three months. America differs from state to state: six months’ residence is usually what counts. GlobalARRK, a British charity that helps parents like Ms Baggott, is campaigning for information on such rules to be included among the documents issued to families for their move abroad. It also lobbies for a standard threshold of one year for habitual residence and advises parents to sign a pre-move contract stating that the child can go home at any time. Though such contracts are not watertight, they would at least alert parents to the issue.

Britain is comparatively generous to foreign parents who seek a child’s return: it provides help with legal advice and translation. But plenty of countries do little or nothing. Family judges in many places favour their compatriots, though they may dress up their decisions as being in the child’s interests. Parents who can no longer pay their way through foreign courts may never see their children again.

Some parents do not realise they are committing a crime when they take the children abroad, says Alison Shalaby of Reunite, a British charity that supports families involved in cross-border custody disputes. Even the authorities may not know the law. Michael, whose former partner took their children from Britain to France in 2015, was told by police that no crime had been committed. After he arranged for Reunite to brief them, it took more than five months to get a French court order for the children’s return.

Other countries are slower still, often because there are no designated judges familiar with international laws. Over a third of abductions from America to Brazil, for example, drag on for at least 18 months. When a case is eventually heard the children may be well settled, and the judge reluctant to order their return.

A renewed push is under way to cut the number of child abductions, and to resolve cases quickly. The EU is considering setting an 18-week deadline for the completion of all return proceedings and making the process cheaper by abolishing various court fees. And more countries are signing up to the Hague convention: Pakistan, where about 40 to 50 British children are taken each year, will sign next month. India, one of the main destinations for abducting parents, recently launched a public consultation on whether to sign up, too.

But the convention has a big flaw: it makes no mention of domestic violence. Many of the parents it classifies as abductors are women fleeing abusive partners. One eastern European woman who moved to Britain shortly before giving birth and fled her violent fiancé four months later, says she was turned away by women’s shelters and denied benefits because she had lived in Britain for such a short time. For the past year she has lived on charity from friends. The police have taken her passport to stop her leaving Britain with the baby. Another European woman, living in New Zealand, says she fears being deported without her toddlers when her visa expires in a few months. She fled domestic abuse with the children and a bag of clothes in December, and has been moving from one friend’s house to another ever since.

Child abduction is often a desperate parent’s move of last resort, says GlobalARRK’s founder, Roz Osborne. One parent, who has residence rights, may have been granted sole or joint custody, meaning the children cannot be taken abroad without permission. But the other parent may have entered on a spousal visa which lapses when the marriage ends. Even if permission to remain is granted, it may be without the right to work or receive state benefits. In such cases, the decision of a family court guaranteeing visiting rights or joint custody can be close to meaningless.

Britain’s departure from the EU could mean many more divorcing parents find themselves in this desperate state. Around 3.3m citizens of other EU countries live in Britain, and 1.2m Britons have moved in the opposite direction; so far it is unclear whether they will continue to have the right to stay put and work. And in America, says Jeremy Morley, a lawyer in New York who specialises in international family law, immigration issues are increasingly used as weapons in child-custody cases. Judges in family courts, he says, often pay little attention to immigration issues when ruling on custody, because they know few people are deported solely because their visas have expired. But under Donald Trump, that may change.

Many parents have no idea what they sign up for when they agree to follow a spouse abroad, says Ms Osborne. They may mistakenly believe that if things do not work out, they can simply bring the children back home. Ms Baggott’s move to Germany was supposed to be a five-year adventure, the duration of her husband’s work visa. Instead, she says, she has endured “a decade of hell”.

Source:  Unhappily ever after – For multi-national families, breaking up can lead to tragedy”, The Economist, 18 February 2017

London event: Taking Flight – Domestic Violence and Child Abduction

An international child abduction lecture is taking place next month at the London College where I undertook my LLM degree; the speaker is Baroness Hale of Richmond.  Lady Hale, who I have (successfully) conducted Supreme Court litigation before (albeit not in this context), is a former family law academic (Professor at the University of Manchester, before joining the Law Commission prior to her appointment to the High Court) who now sits as the Deputy President of the UK’s Supreme Court.  With the current President, Lord Neuberger, due to retire later this year, Lady Hale is widely tipped to replace him. I disagree with much of what she has written – more so as an academic than a judge – but, despite this, her views on the many issues thrown into play in this day and age, and as summarised below, by international parental child abduction will be well worth listening to.

Details and booking link below:

UCL Faculty of Laws logo.jpg

Taking Flight – Domestic Violence and Child Abduction

Thursday 16 March 2017, 18:00 – 19:00

Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Speaker: The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE (The Supreme Court)
Chair: Lady Justice Black

(Head of International Family Justice)
Admission: Free
Accreditation: This event is accredited with 1 CPD hour with the SRA and BSB
Series: Current Legal Problems 2016-17

About the lecture:

Increasing concerns that victims of domestic violence, who flee the country with their children, are effectively being forced, under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, to return to face their abusers, led to calls for a Protocol to the Convention which would make special provision for such cases. Instead, however, the Hague Conference on Private International Law has established a Working Group with the aim of developing a Guide to Good Practice in relation to article 13(1)(b) of the Convention. This provides an exception to the automatic return of children to their country of habitual residence required by article 12, where there is a grave risk that their return would expose them to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place them in an intolerable situation.

The Working Group has not found this an easy task. It raises so many difficult questions of principle. Should concern for the victims of domestic violence ever override the concern for the welfare of children which the Convention aims to protect? When is a risk of harm to a parent also a risk of harm to a child? How is a court in the receiving country to resolve disputes about who did what to whom? How effective are protective measures in the home country? What can the receiving country do both to assist the home country and to provide protection in the meantime? How does the interface with the 1996 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children work? Is Europe a special case? And what about the human rights of the children and both of their parents? Perhaps above all, is there a risk that, in its anxiety to preserve the integrity of the 1980 Convention, the Working Group will lose sight of the reasons why it was set up?

About the speaker:

Brenda Hale is the most senior woman judge in the United Kingdom. She became a High Court Judge in 1994, after a varied career teaching law at the University of Manchester and reforming the law as a member of the Law Commission. She was promoted to the Court of Appeal in 1999 and to the House of Lords in 2004. In 2009, the ‘Law Lords’ became the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, where she has been Deputy President since 2013. Her principal interests are in family, social welfare and equality law.

About Current Legal Problems:

The Current Legal Problems annual lecture series was established over sixty years ago. The lectures are public, delivered on a weekly basis and chaired by members of the judiciary.

The Current Legal Problems (CLP) annual volume is published on behalf of UCL Laws by Oxford University Press, and features scholarly articles that offer a critical analysis of important current legal issues.

It covers all areas of legal sponsorship and features a wide range of methodological approaches to law. With its emphasis on contemporary developments, CLP is a major point of reference for legal scholarship.

Find out more about CLP on the Oxford University Press website

To book:  “Taking Flight – Domestic Violence and Child Abduction”, UCL Faculty of Laws Events Page

Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee

BBC

Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee: Gun salutes mark 65 years on the throne

  • 6 February 2017

A 41-gun salute has been fired in London’s Green Park to mark the Queen’s 65 years on the throne.

Gun salutes also took place in Cardiff, Edinburgh and York.

The Queen has become the first British monarch to reach a sapphire jubilee, after becoming the UK’s longest-reigning monarch in 2015, aged 89.

A portrait of the Queen by British photographer David Bailey has been reissued for the anniversary.

In the photo, the Queen wears sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding gift in 1947.

The portrait was among a series taken by Bailey in 2014, with one released for the Queen’s 88th birthday that year.

Portrait of the Queen by David BaileyImage copyrightDAVID BAILEY© 2017
Image captionThe Queen has become the first British monarch to reach their Sapphire Jubilee

In the portrait, the Queen, who is now 90, wears a necklace made of 16 large, oblong sapphires surrounded by diamonds, with a matching pair of drop earrings.

Over the years, she has added to the gifts from her father with a tiara and a bracelet to complement the original jewellery.

The world’s longest-reigning monarchs

It is tradition for the Queen to spend the Accession Day – as the anniversary of the day she became monarch is officially known – in private at her Sandringham Estate, in Norfolk, and return to Buckingham Palace a few days later.


Other monarchs to pass the sapphire milestone:

  • King Sobhuza II of Swaziland reigned for 82 years – the longest verifiable reign of any monarch in recorded history. He led Swaziland through independence until his death in 1982.
  • King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand had ruled for 70 years when he died last October. He began his reign aged just 18 years old.
  • Franz Joseph I was Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia for 67 years until his death in 1916. His nephew was Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was assassinated in 1914.
  • King Louis XIV of France reigned for 72 years before his death in 1715. He became king, aged four, after his father’s death.

Prime Minister Theresa May offered her congratulations, hailing the Queen as “truly an inspiration to all of us”.

The prime minister said: “I know the nation will join with me today in celebrating and giving thanks for the lifetime of service Her Majesty the Queen has given to our country and to the Commonwealth.”

Mrs May said it was “a testament to her selfless devotion to the nation” that the Queen had made clear she did not want official celebrations to mark the historic milestone.


Another first for Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen after her coronationImage copyrightPA
Image captionThe monarch, pictured in 1953, leaving Westminster Abbey after the Coronation

By Peter Hunt, BBC diplomatic and royal correspondent

Longevity for a hereditary head of state has brought many milestones.

She is Britain’s longest reigning monarch, having overtaken her great great grandmother, Victoria, in 2015.

Today, after 23,742 days on the throne, it’s the start of the first sapphire jubilee in British history.

For the Queen, it’s a moment for contemplation rather than celebration – as it is also the anniversary of her father’s death.

In the coming months and years, she will, inevitably, do less and other royals will take on more – most notably Prince William, once he finishes his job as an air ambulance pilot in the summer.

The 90-year-old working monarch has another significant moment on the horizon.

In November, she and Prince Philip will mark 70 years of marriage.

Read more from Peter Hunt here


In London, royal gun salutes commemorated the occasion across the capital.

A 41-gun salute was fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park at midday and a 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company was fired at the Tower of London at 13:00 GMT.

Larger-scale jubilee celebrations are expected to be reserved for the Platinum Jubilee in 2022, when the monarch will mark 70 years.

Members of the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21-gun salute at Edinburgh CastleImage copyrightPA
Image captionMembers of the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 21-gun salute at Edinburgh Castle
Members of C Troop 211 Battery fire a 21-gun salute in the grounds of Cardiff CastleImage copyrightPA
Image captionA 21-gun salute was fired in the grounds of Cardiff Castle
Members of the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, fire a 21-gun salute in York's Museum GardensImage copyrightPA
Image captionIn York, a 21-gun salute was fired in Museum Gardens
Source:  “Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee:  Gun salutes mark 65 years on the throne”, BBC News, 6 February 2017 

Further Reading:  “Queen Elizabeth II marks record 65 years on throne”, The Japan Times, 27 February 2017 (added 28 February 2017)

New international child relocation rankings reveal that Belgian courts are the least likely to grant a relocation order

The first ever international child relocation rankings, compiled by the Penningtons Manches family law team, reveal that Belgium is the jurisdiction least likely to allow a parent to relocate with a child internationally. The courts in New Zealand, Denmark and Scotland are also particularly reluctant to allow one parent to take a child out of the country permanently without the agreement of the other parent.

At the top of the rankings, the five countries most likely to allow international relocation – particularly for mothers – are Greece, Japan, Ukraine, Israel and Turkey.

Penningtons Manches’ second international family law report, entitled Can we go or must we stay? The International Child Relocation Rankings, reviewed comparative data from 22 countries in Thomson Reuters’ International Relocation of Children, A Global Guide from Practical Law 2016. This comprises Q&A guides on international child relocation law and practice in 31 key jurisdictions.

Relocation cases are increasingly common in many jurisdictions – including England and Wales which came fourteenth in the rankings – and the legal position is continually evolving to reflect the realities of international family life. Unsurprisingly, countries with a large international workforce see the most international relocation cases but this does not mean that they share the same approach when considering a case.

The current position in England and Wales

If there is a child arrangements order (CAO) in place, a parent must not remove a child from the UK without the written consent of all parental responsibility holders or leave of the court.

The overriding principle remains that the welfare of the child is paramount. The court will also have regard to what is known as the ‘welfare checklist’ which includes factors such as the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child, the likely effect on them of any change in their circumstances, and any harm which the child is suffering or is at risk of suffering.

Although that central principle made clear by the case of K v K [2011] EWCA Civ 793 remains, relocation law is continually evolving. There is a clear and continuing trend towards recognising the importance of greater paternal involvement. Judges in England and Wales do not automatically assume that the mother will be the primary carer and we are seeing more parents sharing the care of children equally.

The English courts are also reluctant to permit temporary leave to remove a child to countries such as the United Arab Emirates which are not signatories to the Hague Child Abduction Convention.

The international relocation rankings – some country observations

  • The most surprising result is Belgium, a country with a reputation as an international hub and the home of the European Parliament. Relocation orders are considered to be very difficult to obtain even though the majority of cases seek to relocate to another European country.
  • At 14 in the rankings, England and Wales do not rank highly as an easy location from which to relocate a child but its position reflects the discretionary, nuanced approach to each case which results in a careful analysis of the impact which a proposed moved would have on the child.
  • The United Arab Emirates has a highly international population where the majority of residents are foreign nationals and there are many relocation cases. But the legal system has not caught up with the population’s desire to relocate and a father has a far greater ability to prevent relocation than the mother.
  • Jersey has a similarly international populace to the UAE but has adopted a pragmatic attitude to relocation. Only 35% of Jersey’s population were born in Jersey. If no residence order is in force, permission is not required to remove a child from Jersey.
  • New Zealand’s isolated geographic location means that relocation cases are always subject to particularly intense scrutiny and cases are difficult to win for the parent wishing to relocate.
  • The European states vary widely in their approach to relocation law despite the free movement between the member states. While Greece and Ireland are likely to allow relocation, France and Spain adopt a careful and balanced approach to the merits of each case and both parents must agree.
  • The individual states within the USA also have different approaches. While Pennsylvania is one of the most likely to allow relocation, Florida takes a more cautious view and the decision is heavily dependent on the individual judge.

Commenting on the findings of the report, international relocation partner Anna Worwood, said:

‘While we have been surprised by the varying approaches to relocation across the jurisdictions – particularly for international hubs such as Belgium – we are encouraged by two strongly emerging trends across the majority of the 22 countries we reviewed.
The most welcome trend is the growing recognition of the courts that the voice of the child is the one that must be heard above all others when considering relocation cases. As the impact of moving a child away from one parent can be devastating for the family, the decision must be based on the interests of the child.
While some jurisdictions still tend to allow more mothers than fathers to relocate with a child, the growing significance of greater paternal involvement in the upbringing of a child means that it can be more difficult for mothers to win their cases without the father’s permission.
The second trend is the strengthening of the laws to protect children by preventing one parent from relocating with a child without the permission of either the other parent or the courts. In many jurisdictions, the removal of a child without consent constitutes the crime of abduction and the parent will face criminal charges.’

A copy Penningtons Manches’ International Family Law Report: Can we go or must we stay? The International Child Relocation Rankings is available to download here.

Source:  “New international child relocation rankings reveal that Belgian courts are the least likely to grant a relocation order”, http://www.familylaw.co.uk/,  29 November 2016