Books n balloons

Andrew Pack of Suesspicious Minds fame has written a book called In Secure. It sounds rather great. He has also created a Hollywood Blockbuster quality promotional video involving him being pelted with water balloons. I don’t pretend to know why, but hey. Go watch it and then lob him a few quid – he is publishing via crowd funding so he needs your pledge. Take a looky! I won’t spoil the taster on the crowdfunding page, but it contains the word smooshed. Nuff said? Thought so.

Sploosh! and In Secure

Book Review : “At A Glance” At A Glance

I’m always asked to review At A Glance by the publishers, Class Legal. It makes me chuckle when it turns up because it’s the same every year apart from the colour – so what do I say? This year is a fetching shade of lifeboat purple. I like it very much (I do, for what that’s worth).

Most family practitioners know of it, it’s reputation for being mighty handy to have in your suitcase, and anyone who does any money work buys it already – none of which makes a review seem desperately urgent. But I do feel a little guilty that each year the hopeful At A Glance people send me my free review copy with a polite letter, and every year I stick it on my shelf and fail to review it (in truth I have a whole host of things in the queue for review but I think At A Glance gets to jump the queue this one time because its quick to review and they get points for persistence).

So, what can I tell you about the 2016-17 edition other than it’s colour? Well, since the last time I thumbed one the paper has got thinner, but the thickness overall has stayed pretty static. There are many many more numbered tabs (its up to 29 now) and so I conclude this book has MORE USEFUL STUFF IN IT.  This is good.

The Preface contains an amusant reference to Ambridge and the “rather annoying” stabby Helen (personally I’m not sure how the adjective “annoying” distinguishes her from any other character in “The Bloody Archers” as it is lovingly known in our house. Incidentally, the editors suggest as at the time of writing (April) that there will be care proceedings in Ambridge – they are not right on that one so far. but I digress (as does the Preface)). This Ambridge opening segues seamlessly into a discussion of the controversy concerning the hearing of financial remedy cases in public and there then follows a gay skip through the long grass of several financial remedy hot topics, a propos of nothing….

The loss of much loved tables *snigger* on car running costs is noted, and the introduction of new and exciting sounding tables such as Income Tax and National Insurance Marginal Deductions which (it says here) “illustrates the overall impact on gross earnings from employment once ravaged by these two imposts*”. This review is a reminder of how a few years without doing much money work can cause an atrophy of the financial remedy parts of the brain because I’ve no idea what that means. However, At A Glance is a lifesaver for judges and lawyers alike – and I suspect (say it quietly) a few sensible McKenzie friends. It surely represents a modest investment for having a wealth of information at one’s fingertips, and the ability to wave it around knowledgeably to create the illusion of knowing-what-you-are-doing-ness. There are tables on all the usual, helpful things – child support figures, housing costs, company cars, RPI, interest base rates, tax (various), gross salary compared to net income, pensions etc…And I see a useful few pages on social security benefits which I think is new-ish or at any rate vastly expanded from the old days when I used to have regular recourse to At A Glance.

Section 27 on procedure is a useful aide memoire – and might well be useful to those who are in person, unbundling or using a mckenzie, as would the extracts from relevant statutes and procedure rules.

So, it’s a thumbs up from me. As usual, it is well worth the £60. Details of how to purchase and bulk discounts can be found on the FLBA website here.

*who knew, it means “a tax or similar compulsory payment“. I had thought it was a typo for “imposter”! You learn something every day…

Book Review : Cohabitation Claims – Law, Practice & Procedure, John Wilson QC

This is a book review written by Zoë Saunders, barrister at St John’s Chambers. Zoë has extensive experience of cohabitation disputes involving ToLATA and Applications under Schedule 1 of the Children Act, as well as financial remedy cases involving multiple properties, trusts of land, complex pensions and insolvency. Find Zoë on twitter : @zasaunders

Cohabitation Claims – Law, Practice and Procedure (2nd edition)
By John Wilson QC 1 Hare Court

A good book dealing with cohabitation disputes has been a real gap in the market, in particular as more and more couples are choosing to live together without getting married, often having children and pooling resources without any legal advice as to the potential consequences of what they are doing.

I must admit I have been holding off on reviewing this book as I had been waiting for something bad to say about it. The most that I can manage is that when a particularly complex issue about a Quistclose* trust arose in one of my cases I had to ditch this book in favour of Lewin on Trusts; which is hardly fair criticism!

This is a really useful, thorough guide to pretty much any issue that would arise in 90% of cohabitation disputes. On an initial skim read the level of detail can seem intimidating, but it is actually written in a very straightforward way and makes these kind of disputes as accessible as they can be made in one simple book.

The book covers many varied aspects of cohabitation disputes, not just the usual suspects like establishing the existence of beneficial interests but other side-issues which often arise like bankruptcy, sham trusts and illegality, Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, etc.

It also has helpful chapters on the Civil Procedure Rules, tips on issuing and defending proceedings, costs and Part 36 offers, precedents and even advice on dealing with the client (always handy!).

If really pushed to find something to criticise I would only be able to point to the fact that as the case-law and procedure under the CPR is subject to seemingly constant revision, particularly at the moment, a book like this becomes out of date as soon as it is published and a loose leaf format would go a long way to ensuring that the pit-traps of the CPR are easier to avoid. That said, this book provides a really good starting point to all those potential problems.

It is clearly written with lawyers (maybe even family lawyers) in mind and I think it will come in really handy for any solicitor (or barrister) who is finding themselves increasingly asked to stray into the unfamiliar territory of civil litigation in cohabitation disputes, or finds themselves unexpectedly confronted with an intervenor dispute in a financial remedy case.

*If you don’t already know, you probably don’t want to…

You can order John Wilson’s book online : Order here