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|JG v Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (2019) UKUT 187 (AAC)||Non-legal research by judge||Judicial summary from gov.uk website: "Mental Health First-tier Tribunal - Judicial Bias - Apparent bias - Breach of Natural Justice - Procedural Irregularity. Where a First-tier Tribunal judge undertook non-legal research by accessing a court of appeal judgment in respect of the appellant, did this lead to a presumption of bias and automatic disqualification? Did it lead to a conclusion of a real possibility of bias? Whether so doing amounts to a procedural irregularity leading to a breach of natural justice in that it rendered the hearing unfair. In the circumstances appertaining there can be no presumption of bias leading to automatic disqualification. On the facts of the case there was no real possibility of bias. Undertaking the non-legal research was a procedural irregularity but on the facts the hearing was not unfair."|
|LCN v KF (2019) EWCOP 1||Settlement of property on trust||"This is an application under section 18(1)(h) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for the settlement of CJF's property on trust. ... By the time of the hearing it was expected that CJF would die in a matter of days. As noted earlier in this judgement, CJF died the following week. ... LCN [CJF's deputy] made an application on 20th November 2018 for the settlement of CJF's assets including his property at 1AY on revocable trust for himself during his lifetime and thereafter for 1AY to pass to EH [CFJ's daughter] and AH [EH's husband] and the residue of CJF's estate to pass to KF [CFJ's mother]. ... By the rules of intestacy, CJF's estate would be divided equally between KF and CJF's biological father, stated by KF to be BJF. This is subject to section 18 of the Family Law Reform Act 1987 which raises a rebuttable presumption that BJF pre-deceased CJF as his name did not appear on CJF's birth certificate. KF was able to contact BJF, but only through social media. That contact was sufficient, in my view, to rebut the presumption. If the court did not approve the settlement of CJF's property, it would be divided equally between KF and BJF with nothing passing to EH and AH. It would be open to EH and AH to make an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, but the outcome of such an application was uncertain. ... In this case, I consider that there were exceptional circumstance justifying proceeding without BJF being notified. These circumstances were his complete lack of involvement in CJF's life and care and his denial of paternity. There was a genuine urgency and balancing the prejudice of proceeding in the absence of BJF with the prejudice to EH and AH of not proceeding, I considered that the hearing had to take place despite the lack of service on BJF. It was agreed between the parties, and I ordered, that attempts should be made after the hearing to locate BJF and serve him with a copy of the final order so that it would be open to him to apply to set aside or vary it. ... The parties agree, and I find, that the authorities on the making of a statutory will apply to the settlement of CJF's estate in this case. I was advised by Miss Hughes that between 1925 and 1959 the Court had no power to make a statutory will and so would have approved settlement trusts as an alternative. ... All agreed that 1AY should pass to EH and AH and that the residue of the estate should pass to KF. I take that agreement into account and see no reason to depart from it. ... The question remains whether AH and EH should be effectively liable for some of the Inheritance Tax liability or whether the liability should all be borne by the estate, and in effect KF. ... I do not consider that it would be in CJF's best interests for there to be any risk to the security and stability of EH's and AH's home and therefore I consider that they should inherit 1AY effectively free of Inheritance Tax."|
|Re M: A v Z (2018) EWCOP 4||COP bias||"This matter concerns an appeal from the order of HHJ Roberts made on 18 July 2018 in Court of Protection (COP) proceedings concerning M. The appellants are M's mother and father in law who have the care of X, M's son age 12. ... Mr Simblet relies on four grounds of appeal: (1) There was apparent bias, in that the judge stated her intention in the exchange between the judge and the legal representatives, in the absence of the parties, to decide the application consistent with decisions made in different proceedings. (2) The judge wrongly felt constrained to reach a decision that would be consistent with a decision she had reached in different proceedings. (3) There was a material irregularity, in that the Judge took into account material from different proceedings, and the [paternal grandparents] within the COP proceedings were unable to properly know the case against them or that they had to meet. (4) In reaching her decision the judge failed to identify or give sufficient weight to factors that were relevant to M's best interests."|