The Trusty Trio – the Dictionaries
Published: 13/04/2023 20:47
It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as when ‘2 becomes 1’ (sorry, I couldn’t resist a trip down memory lane to my Spice Girl days), but the day has arrived: when two becomes three. The dictionary family has gained a third musketeer - the ‘Dictionary of TLATA and Inheritance Act Claims’. And what an addition it is. Those of you who have to hand the current dictionaries will not be disappointed.
All three of the dictionaries are rammed full of concise and informative summaries of the law, including the most often cited cases, and procedure. They are a true gift to the busy practitioner and, as Mostyn J puts it in his foreword to the Dictionary of Financial Remedies, the dictionaries are likely to be sat on the desk of the Judge hearing your next case.
The Financial Remedies and Private Children Law texts have always been invaluable to me in practice, and when I sit they are within my reach too. I’m usually not the only one in the room to have mine to hand either. The new member of the dictionary family will, I’m sure, be no exception.
So, let’s meet the trio
First up is the Dictionary of Financial Remedies. The OG. It is still the gift that keeps on giving. This up to date edition treats us to some new entries (I didn’t think there could be any more), including ‘Domestic Abuse’. Highlighting this new entry allows me to draw attention to the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, and the fact that some of its provisions apply equally to financial remedy proceedings as they do to private children proceedings. The Dictionary notes that, anecdotally, there is a perception that s 25(2)(g) conduct arguments might be deployed in cases of severe domestic abuse. Whilst publication of this edition pre-dates HHJ Reardon’s decision in DP v EP (conduct: economic abuse: needs)  EWFC 6, the dictionary does include Sir Jonathan Cohen’s decision in Traharne v Limb  EWFC 27, which confirmed that if coercive and controlling behaviour has played an unfair part in the procuring of an agreement then it may amount to an Edgar factor.
As well as delving into the topics from A–Z, be sure to read Mostyn J’s foreword too. It includes the score sheet of mentions for His Lordship and fellow HCJs, as well as his thoughts (and hashtag #justsaying) in relation to publicity, confidentiality and anonymisation.
Private Children Law
Next up is the Dictionary of Private Children Law. The third edition in so many years. And it is yet another sterling piece of work.
The Dictionary is (again) full of concise summaries on an array of topics which crop up in the vast majority of cases, alongside entries on more esoteric subjects which rear their head in the middle of a hearing, often rather unexpectedly. The ability to look to the Dictionary to jog one’s memory or educate oneself on those obscure points adds to its utility.
The newest publication includes a section on ‘Property Belonging to Children’ - a welcome extra. There is also a more refined approach to appeals, setting aside orders, rescission and reopening, as compared to the second edition.
Overall, a superb Dictionary to have to hand.
TLATA & Inheritance Act Claims
And, finally, the new kid on the block. And it’s certainly made a entrance.
Save for my pondering the absence of the oft used ‘O’ in ‘TLATA’ , which one of my fellow FRJ Board Members, and co-author of the Dictionary, Alex Chandler KC, kindly explained that I (and I doubt I’m alone) have been going wrong all these years, this brand spanking new Dictionary is fabulous.
Separated into four sections, each running from A to Z, the Dictionary covers TLATA, Inheritance Act, Civil Procedure and, last but not least (especially for the family lawyer) Schedule 1 & Intervenor Claims. Its creators, a collaborative group of chancery and family practitioners, have done a terrific job in packing into this guide an easy access yet comprehensive overview of the principles, law and procedure on all four topics. I have no doubt that it will become a ‘must have’ for the family (and chancery) lawyer’s library alongside its sister dictionaries.
It is evident that a high level of care and skill has been heaped into preparation of this Dictionary, with a masterful distillation of complicated areas of law.
As you can probably guess, the Trusty Trio get a huge thumbs up from me!