Common law trouble and strife – Eastenders

It’s been a courtship of almost quarter of a century, but soon there will be wedding bells for everyone’s favourite Queen Vic landlord and landlady – Mick and Linda.  OK, so truth be told we actually preferred Kat and Alfie.  And Peggy and Phil.  And Sharon and Phil.  And Sharon and Grant.  And definitely Pat and Frank.  And Den and Ange…

Anyway.  “Why are they bothering to get married?” we sense you ask yourselves.  After all, they have been together for well over 20 years, have 4 children together, own a business and have a quite a unique and acquired taste in wallpaper.  They’re common law husband and wife aren’t they?

Well she can smell a legal myth from 50 paces.  Our resident soap lawyer, family law solicitor Rebecca Finnigan comments. Continue reading Common law trouble and strife – Eastenders

Shabnam wants her baby back – Eastenders

Suds Law is no stranger to the inaccurate portrayal of both the care system and foster caring in Soapland, and in Walford in particular.

Eastenders latest legal inaccuracy has got resident soap legal pedant, Rebecca Finnigan’s dander up and she has come out fighting.

Does anyone remember Phil Mitchell being approved as an appropriate carer for Lexi?

The recent storyline involving young Jade was no exception unfortunately. Continue reading Shabnam wants her baby back – Eastenders

Bye bye baby, baby goodbye? – Eastenders

Poor Cindy Junior has been through the mill (and should expect to be dragged through it a good few times more if she intends to stay in Eastenders’ Albert Square).  Her mother, Cindy Senior, died whilst giving birth to her and she was raised by her maternal family before fleeing family strife to find her half-sibling twins Lucy and Peter Beale.  When Lucy was murdered (no, we still don’t buy that it was Bobby in the front room with the jewellery box) she was a suspect for a time, and later gave birth at a tender age to baby Beth.

Having struggled to bond with Beth, Cindy suggested that she should be adopted by her mother’s ex-husband Ian Beale and his wife Jane.  But Cindy has been finding it difficult and as the process has moved on, she has reached the conclusion that she wants Beth to be adopted out of the family.  Can she do this?  What are the Beale’s rights?

Our resident family solicitor Rebecca Finnigan comments.

Continue reading Bye bye baby, baby goodbye? – Eastenders

I predict a riot (in Coronation Street)

This week and with record speed, the Weatherfield CAFCASS office had sent an officer to Coronation Street to complete the report which was ordered by the court only a fortnight ago.

The report was to investigate the situation between step-father David and biological father Callum, and to make recommendations about the living and contact arrangements between them and son/step-son Max.

And the Platt household were ready for her visit.

Mouthy niece told to keep her mouth shut about drug addict missing mother being back on the scene – check!

Extended family warned to be on their best behaviour – check!

Gail has cleaned the toilet just in case the CAFCASS lady wants to use it – check!

Step-father discovers that who he thought is his son Gavin is in fact his son’s friend Andy, that the real Gavin is dead, and that Gail knew about it and lied to him, as did David.  The mother of all arguments erupts just seconds before the lady from CAFCASS steps through the door – check!

Our resident family law solicitor and member of the Law Society’s Advanced Family Panel, Rebecca Finnigan comments.

Continue reading I predict a riot (in Coronation Street)

Suits you, Sirs! – Coronation Street

If there’s one thing we are agreed on at Sud’s Law, it’s that with all the weddings, funerals and court appearances, the male residents of Weatherfield certainly get their money’s worth from their suits.

Last night saw Coronation Street’s Callum and David arrive at the family court (which we assumed to be in Weatherfield, although we did catch a sneaky glimpse of the Arndale Centre out of the court corridor window).  The battle of the dads stepped up a gear and the hapless duo finally did what they’d been threatening to do for months, and made an application to the court for an order concerning Callum’s biological son and David’s step-son, Max.  Never has court vending machine coffee been supped in such a menacing manner as when Callum glared at David and told him he’d take his chances in court.

There were dirty looks, scathing comments, and a caustic commentary by Callum’s lawyer of David’s less than squeaky clean past.  David had to be led from the court room by his lawyer before he let rip on Callum.  This culminated in the court making an order that Max should remain in David’s care in the interim, that Max should have two overnight contacts with his biological father Callum each week, and that Cafcass should prepare a full report ready for the next hearing.

Legal fact or legal fiction?  There’s only one person to ask in such situations – our resident family law solicitor and member of the Law Society’s Advanced Family Law panel and Resolution, not to mention soap-geek extraordinaire, Rebecca Finnigan.

Continue reading Suits you, Sirs! – Coronation Street

Platt’s pervading problem – Coronation Street

Coronation Street’s storyline involving the battle of the dads, David and Callum, and little Max, has been gaining momentum this week.  This has culminated in Callum telling David where to stick the mediation.  That’s right, the old cliché has been trotted out (again) – he’ll see him in court.

We rather suspect they haven’t really thought too much about how their respective cases will look to the ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’.

On one hand we have Max’s step-father David Platt, who, to his credit, has been remarkably stable (for David) over the past year or two.  He has provided a loving home for little Max, he has supported him financially.  He has built up a father-like relationship with the little fella and has integrated him into the Platt household (although we are not sure whether this could necessarily be perceived as a positive).  Not to forget, Max’s little sister Lilly is also a member of the Platt household.

But David, even though he knows that court proceedings could be imminent, hasn’t thought to try and build a squeaky clean profile.  No, he has resorted to enlisting his soon to be step-brother Gavin (who is really Andy.  Gavin is really dead, Andy is actually an impostor, but that’s another story) to planting class A drugs on Callum in an attempt to set him up.

On the other hand we have Max’s biological father Callum, who has been notable by his absence throughout little Max’s life.  He was nowhere to be seen when Max was in social services care (nor was his family, come to think of it).  The tales that Kylie would regale would have us believe he is the local drug taking, drug peddling scally with no sense of responsibility.

He has disrupted the family by turning up unannounced with costly and inappropriate gifts for Max.  He has tried to wind David up every step of the way, and is now facilitating this in a game of ‘how’s your father’ with David’s sister Sarah-Louise.

If that wasn’t enough, he was seen this week telling Gavin-who’s-really-Andy about his time in the Big House (although no mention was made of whether he made the acquaintance of Jim McDonald in there, so it wasn’t), before threatening to rip his fingers off with a pair of pliers, chasing David across the estate and forcing him into the boot of a car.

But in Callum’s favour, his mum is a school teacher.

So who will win?  There’s only one way to decide…

Continue reading Platt’s pervading problem – Coronation Street

Don’t hesitate to mediate! – Coronation Street

We knew something strange was afoot this morning, we could feel it in our suds – Liverpool stood still for the solar eclipse.  But that was not the only excitement at Sud’s Law.  A little bird told us that a certain David Platt has been spotted filming only a block or two away from Sud’s Law Towers in Liverpool city centre.  Could this be a coincidence or celestial intervention?  Make your own minds up, dear followers.  We cannot wait to watch events filmed in our locality unfolding on our screens.

Back to Weatherfield.  When Coronation Street’s David Platt opened his post last week, what did he find from arch enemy Callum?

A consignment of non-specific drugs?  Road kill?  A glitter bomb?  A one way ticket to visit his dad, the lesser-mentioned Martin Platt, on his Lancashire cheese farm?

No, it was in fact a cordial invitation to join Callum in a thoroughly civilised session of mediation about young Max’s future.  You could have knocked Sud’s Law down with a feather.

Cue a scene in the waiting room with David’s mum Gail Platt proudly showing Callum’s mum pictures of a young David proudly snuggled up to his pet Barney the bunny.  And Callum’s mum telling Gail that her drug dealing bad-lad was in fact a right mummy’s boy as a youngster.  They then bonded over a word puzzle book.  Classic Corrie indeed.

Mediation seems a very civilised and proper way to iron out a disagreement, has Callum turned over a new leaf in suggesting this as a solution?

Where there’s a legal problem in a soap, you can bet your partial eclipse our family law solicitor Rebecca Finnigan will not be too far behind.  What does she say about the matter?

Continue reading Don’t hesitate to mediate! – Coronation Street

Don’t dawdle David! – Coronation Street

Hanging around like a bad (but rather good looking) smell, Callum has been tormenting Coronation Street’s David of late.  Winding him up by duping him into carrying a drugs package (which turned out to be little more than an empty box), and generally using Max as a pawn in his tormenting game.

Over the last week we’ve seen Callum rock up with a letter addressed to David which his solicitor had kindly given him to deliver.  Callum had spent a lot of money on a solicitor’s letter, and this note informed David that Callum was applying to the court for a residency order.  David was then forced to tell Max that Callum was his biological father.

We then saw little Max’s eyes light up when Callum turned up with a bag of designer gear for the nipper.  “Mint!” said little Max, the first time since approximately 1996 that anyone has used that adjective to describe such a baseball cap.

What’s going on?  Why is David being such a doormat?  Is he just going to sit back and let Callum walk all over him and the rest of the Platt household?  And incidentally, where’s Lilly when all of this is going on? Continue reading Don’t dawdle David! – Coronation Street

Rob’s Paternity Problem – The Archers

La la la la la la laaa, la la la la laaa la.

That’s right, Suds Law have gone up market and ventured into the goings on in Ambridge.  The Archers is a national institution and where soap meets legal issues, you can bet your prize heifer our legal eagle Rebecca Finnigan won’t be far behind.

Over recent weeks we’ve heard an increasingly defensive Rob reacting angrily to receiving correspondence from his estranged wife seeking maintenance for purported son Ethan.  Rob denies paternity and says he won’t be paying maintenance for little Ethan who he tenderly refers to as ‘your little bastard’.

Is The Archers on target with the portrayal of this storyline, or are they barking up the wrong tree?

Skipping merrily back to the office following maternity leave and humming the theme tune as she goes, we catch up with Rebecca Finnigan, family solicitor and member of the Law Society’s Advanced Family Panel.

Continue reading Rob’s Paternity Problem – The Archers

Sud’s Law on BBC Radio 4’s Law In Action

Becky prepares for her interview on BBC Radio 4
Becky prepares for her interview with Joshua Rozenberg on BBC Radio 4

Exciting news folks, as we’re being featured on national radio today! Sud’s Law’s very own Rebecca Finnigan will be speaking to Joshua Rozenberg on the BBC’s flagship legal affairs radio show, Law in Action.

BBC Radio’s flagship legal programme since 1984, Law in Action aims to lead the field in lively, jargon-free but rigorous analysis of the legal stories in, behind, and ahead of the news.

It is currently presented by Joshua Rozenberg, who is one of the UK’s most well known legal commentators, having spent 15 years as the BBC Legal Affairs Correspondent and further 8 years editing the Daily Telegraph’s legal coverage.

The programme regularly talks to leading legal figures at home and abroad and also hears from the people caught up in the law about how it affects their lives. Although the show doesn’t report trials for their own sake, it does explore legal issues raised by cases in the news.

To record her interview for today’s show, Becky went to the BBC’s offices here in Liverpool, accompanied by our Editor, Wendy Brown. As well as speaking about writing for Sud’s Law, Becky also offered her thoughts about the portrayal of the legal system in TV dramas and on the radio. Afterwards, a relieved Becky said:

“Joshua was a very pleasant chap, and had obviously joined our Sud’s Law followers in reading the blog. Shaky legal storylines in soaps continue to be as relevant today as they were when Wendy and I founded the blog two and a half years ago, and I am only too pleased to be able to continue to vent my frustrations on the subject via the medium of Sud’s Law.”

You can hear Becky’s interview online via the BBC website – she appears on the 10th February programme at 24 minutes 20 seconds.