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In all forms of litigation, the incidence of costs is one of the primary considerations and causes of concern for the lay client. When lawyers are instructed, they have to be paid, and in the absence of any order to the contrary, the client has to pay. A client who is successful in most forms of civil litigation expects to recover his or her costs from the unsuccessful party has a double burden to pay, but the successful party rarely recovers all costs and normally still has something to pay. In short , while costs may be an area of the law which the intelligent client can understand, it will rarely bring much satisfaction. The person caught up in a dispute as to the occupation of the family home, or the financial support of the other party usually has no such choice. Family disputes go to the heart of most people's lives, in both a financial and an emotional sense, and when as is the casein most run-of-the-mill disputes, something as intimate as a person's home is involved, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the litigants to adopt a a detached approach.

Source: Ancillary Relief and Financial Orders Handbook by Roger Bird and Andy King

In this issue Bobby Madan discusses an area of Immigration Law which many have conflicting views on. Is it Reasonable to expect a child to leave the UK?

Section 117B (6) of the 2002 Act helpfully states that in respect of parents that;

(6) In the case of a person who is not liable for deportation, the public interest does not require the person's removal where-

a) the person has a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with a qualifying child, and
b) it would not be reasonable to expect the child to leave the United Kingdom. The cases of Ruiz Zambrano and ZH Tanzania state that it is unreasonable to expect the child to leave the UK. The case becomes more difficult where the child is not British but has lived in the UK for seven years or more years and then the considerations as to best interests of the child as protected by the UNCRC and section 55 BCIA 2009 will be relevant, again as discussed.

Insurmountable obstacles
The insurmountable obstacles test that appears in rules at EX.1 originates in some very early domestic case law on Article 8.

In the case of Boultif v Switzerland (2001) ECHR 497 did not refer to insurmountable obstacles in a lawful residence case but rather assessed matters by balancing all relevant circumstances such as length of residence, the nationalities of the various persons concerned, whether there was real and genuine family life established taking into account the length of the relationship, whether there were children involved and their age; overall all it was the degree of difficulty rather than the 'surmountability' of the obstacles that should be the focus in a case where the migrant had been lawfully resident. Insurmountable obstacles is now defined in the rules as meaning;

'very significant difficulties which would be faced by the applicant or their partner in continuing their family life together outside the UK and which could not be overcome or would entail very serious hardship for the applicant or their partner.

In making a case of Insurmountable obstacles there would be various factors we would look at including;

Pregnancy- the expectant mother's health and the conditions for birth abroad, including family and medical support.

Relationships with family and friends in the United Kingdom particularly where there are questions of dependency.

The best interests of any children, whether of the immediate family unit or others with whom children who might face relocation would..

Ability of the partner lawfully resident in the UK to enter and reside in proposed country of relocation

Cultural barriers leading to social isolation and discrimination.

Mental or Physical disability

The security situation including whether the Sponsor has was granted leave to remain based on protection needs, and whether those remain current.

We hope this article gives an indication of what is mean't by Insurmountable obstacles. If you have a case like this feel free to contact our Southall solicitors on Lady Margaret road on 0208 575 0061.

Source: Mastering Immigration Law Fifteenth Edition

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The July 2015 budget proposed by the government has revealed plans to end automatic housing benefit for under 21s which has amounted to housing charities declaring this as an ‘assault on young people’. The government’s plans run a huge risk of increasing homelessness among 18-21 year olds as removing young people’s automatic ability to claim housing benefit will create a hit-and-miss system. What’s more, there is major concern for those young people who are classed as vulnerable who may have left home due to issues such as domestic violence or child abuse.

However, a government spokesperson has stated, ‘The changes ensure young people in the benefits system face the same choices as young people who work and who may not be able to afford to leave home – and there would be safeguards for vulnerable people’. Although, independent research commissioned by Centrepoint makes clear that the measures will fail to save the taxpayer any money as young people facing homelessness will be forced to turn to local councils for help instead.

For the vast majority of young people, housing benefit is a lifeline not a lifestyle.

What are your views on cutting housing benefit for the young?

Will it prove as an incentive for young people to work or will it hit the most vulnerable the hardest?

Published by Sukhdeep Dhillon

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the marital status and living arrangements of people aged 16 and over in England from 2002 to 2014. They show that there has been an increase between 2002 and 2014 in the percentage of the population who divorced at ages 50 to 64 in 2014.

They reveal:

*In 2014, 51.5% of people aged 16 and over in England were married or civil partnered while 33.9% were single, never married.
*Between 2002 and 2014 the proportion of people aged 16 and over who were single or divorced increased but the proportion that were married or widowed decreased.
*The increase between 2002 and 2014 in the percentage of the population who were divorced was driven by those aged 45 and over, with the largest percentages divorced at ages 50 to 64 in 2014.
*In 2014 around one in eight adults in England were living in a couple but not currently married or civil partnered; cohabiting is most common in the 30 to 34 age group.
*More women (18.9%) than men (9.8%) were not living in a couple having been previously married or civil partnered; this is due to larger numbers of older widowed women than men in England and Wales in 2014.

The rise in this trend of older people divorcing seems to have stemmed from the idea that divorce is no longer seen as a stigma anymore. Generally, older people have realised that divorce has become socially acceptable and couples are able to separate amicably.  

What are your views on divorce?

Published by Sukhdeep Dhillon


Plans to scrap part of the UK’s main benefit are being considered.

The Employment and Support Allowance has been described as a “passive benefit” which does not give people an incentive to find a job and thus propositions have been put in place to abolish the work-related activity group altogether.

If scrapped, weekly payments would drop nearly £30 from £102.15.

These cuts would allow the government to save £12 billion from its welfare bill. However, many disabled charities are concerned that those who are less able to work will suffer.

What are your views?

Should Employment and Support Allowance be abolished or is there a need for it to continue?

Published by Sukhdeep Dhillon
The new changes to family law could mean that couples will now be able to get divorced in as little as 24 hours under a new court shake-up. From the beginning of next month, a network of regional ‘divorce centres’ will begin work and most cases will never end up in the courtroom.

At present, an uncontested divorce costs on average £410.00 and can take up to 33 weeks to be processed. Under the radical changes, all paperwork will be taken out of the court system meaning a divorce could be ratified in between 24 and 48 hours.

This change is likely to be welcomed by all family lawyers who believe the current process for progressing an uncontested divorce is time-consuming and highly stressful for both parties. Instead, divorce centres will allow for the courts to focus on more important issues effectively such as emergency children orders and financial orders.

An HM Courts Tribunals Service spokesperson said: “Following the introduction of the Single Family Court, divorce work will be handled by dedicated regional divorce centres which will streamline processes, reduce delays and be centres of expertise for all divorce and financial remedy applications.”

What do you feel about the new divorce process?

Should an uncontested divorce be processed within a divorce centre or a courtroom?

Published by Sukhdeep Dhillon

The new Conservative government proposed in its agenda a number of changes which would affect families going through separation, including a commitment to fund “relationship support” with £7.5 million per year.

The national organisation, namely Resolution has also recently produced its own agenda for family law emphasising six areas where changes to our family justice system are needed.

These changes include:

*To protect vulnerable people going through separation.
*Introduce measures to help separating couples reach agreements outside of court.
*Introduce a Parenting Charter to help people recognise their responsibilities when they separate.
*Allow people to divorce without the need to blame one another.
*To help people understand the financial side to divorce.
*To provide basic legal rights for couples who decide to live together after they separate.

To implement such changes would reform the family law sector altogether.

Do you agree with these changes?

Would they help those couples who are seeking to divorce?

Published by Sukhdeep Dhillon



Under new legislation introduced in June 2014, forcing someone to marry against their will is now seen as a criminal offence. The new law will help protect thousands of potential victims and is designed to help people in England and Wales. The maximum penalty for the new offence of forced marriage is seven year imprisonment. The new legislation also makes forcing a UK national into marriage outside the UK an offence under domestic law for the first time. The offence is triable in courts in England and Wales.


A forced marriage is one which is conducted without the valid consent if one or both of the parties and where duress is a factor. It is not the same as an arranged marriage- one where the families of both spouses take a leading role in choosing a marriage partner, but where the choice of whether to accept the arrangement remains with the potential spouses.


About 300 force marriages are reported to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office each year. Most cases involve young women being pressurised into marriage, but  a small number involve the coercion of men. Many cases involve couples from southern Asia, in particular Bangladesh and Pakistan. In some cases they are used for immigration purposes, because by marriage a person acquires British Citizenship and can gain entry into the UK. Forced Marriages can involve a wide range of behavior  including emotional threats, imprisonment, violence, abduction and blackmail. Police forces take forced marriages very seriously and have policy guidelines for dealing with them.


What can victims do?- 


A person who enters into a forced marriage can have the marriage annulled on the ground that he or she did not consent to the marriage due to duress. The inherent jurisdiction of the High Court can be used to protect an adult who is being forced into marriage; or the wardship jurisdiction in the case of a person under the age of 18. Public funding is available so that cases can be brought before the court. Forcing someone to marry is a criminal offence. It may also be a tort (that of trespass to the person or false imprisonment) and give a victim a right to obtain damages and/or injunctive protection 

Edited by Sukhdeep Dhillon



Under the new conservative government, David Cameron is committed to breaking links with the European Court of Human Rights and has also pledged to hold an in-out referendum by 2017 but there are calls for it be held as early as May 2016.

Should the UK exit the EU?


Supremacy of Community Law- The relationship between Community and national law was established in one of the earliest cases to come before the European Court of Justice. In Costa vs Enel an action was brought in Italy against tbe nationalised National Electricity Board (ENEL) over a bill of 1,950 lire which then amounted to less than £1. Mr Costa claimed that he was not obliged to pay the bill as the nationalisation legislation had infringed Italian and EC law. A reference was made by the Italian court under Article 234 (ex 177) EC, The Italian Government argued that such a reference was absolutely inadmissible' because the national court had to apply national law...

Edited by Sukhdeep Dhillon



As we stated previously in our news update, the West London Legal Centre is introducing some rapid changes in our partnerships. Recently we have started a new community initiatives programme which is a long-term programme aimed at introducing members from various communities to come to our centre. The new programme intends to develop successful partnerships with various communities and people from different backgrounds. Diversity is key to helping the hard at hand and the West London Legal Centre is here to be the leader in this area. We have successfully approached various community centres such as the Barnet Somali community centre, The National Algerian Centre and the Iranian association in Hammersmith all with extremely positive feedback on how we can help their communities. We would like to broaden our services, so if you believe your community could benefit from a Free Legal Advice clinic please give us a call and see how we can assist you. We look forward to working with you long-term and helping individuals struggling to find legal help.

Mr Bobby Madan


We aim to build a culture at west london legal centre of commitment, dedication and trust. Our team are experienced individuals with different levels of experience who provide services tailored to the community. Our team is our greatest asset, without our team we would not be operating. Our team is crucial to the long term success of the centre. We trust that our team can take us forward to new heights in this legal sector with out overall goal being to dominate legal services within London. 


Source: Disability Rights UK Factsheet

Date of Hearing- Her Majesty's court and tribunals service (HMCTS) will arrange a time and date and must give you at least 14 days notice. If the date is inconvenient you can write to the clerk at the tribunal to ask for it to be postponed. If time is short you can ring the clerk, the phone number will be at the top of the hearing notice but you should also write to confirm your request.

The make-up of the Tribunal- In most cases the tribunal that hears your appeal will consist of a judge who is a lawyer sitting alone. But for disability-related benefits, the makeup is as follows;

1) Disability living allowance, personal independence payment and attendance allowance a judge and a doctor and a person with knowledge of disability.

2) Appeals about the work capability assessment or employment and support allowance a judge or a doctor.

Preparing your appeal-

You or your representative can make submissions(statements to tribunal) in writing, orally, or both.