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Family law conference

Date: 25th September 2019

Time: 08:50 - 17:00

Radisson Blu
80 High Street
The Royal Mile

CPD Hours: 6hours 30minutes

Our family law conference will explore the latest legislative developments, identify and address key challenges and explore the latest legislative developments and most pressing issues in family law practice.

Sold out - please get in touch with us directly to add your name to the waiting list

6.5 hours verifiable CPD

Join us this autumn for our Family law conference, where we will explore the latest legislative developments and most pressing issues in family law practice.

2019 had been a busy year in many core areas of Scots family law. From the introduction of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 to the proposed reform of cohabitants' rights and the law of surrogacy, to current child protection issues, modern family structures and their challenges, and recent decisions in separation and divorce cases, this conference will provide you with both concise updates and in-depth dives into key developments and their practical implications. 

At the end of each session, you will also have the opportunity to pose questions to our expert speakers and to discuss particular issues affecting your practice.

The programme will also feature the latest from our Family Law Committee with an update and insight into the Children (Scotland) Bill. 

Are you a solicitor specialising in the areas of law, and would like to have your expertise recognised? If so, our specialist accreditation scheme may be for you.  We offer specialist accreditation in Family Law, Child Law and also accredit Family mediators. To find out if you qualify see Specialist Accreditation.

By attending this conference, you will:

  • Advance your knowledge of the main legislative developments affecting Scots family law this year
  • Hear about current issues and proposed updates to child protection and support;
  • Get expert insight into the Children (Scotland) Bill and its implications;
  • Learn about the latest key cases on financial provisions upon separation and divorce;
  • Identify the key legal issues and challenges that modern family structures pose to practitioners;
  • Pose questions and scenarios to our experts on matters affecting your practice.
  • Helen Hughes, Partner, McAuley McCarthy & Co (Chair)
  • Amanda Masson, Partner, Harper Macleod
  • Sarah Crawford, Lead Solicitor, Scottish Women's Rights Centre
  • Robert Gilmour, Director, SKO Family Law Specialists
  • John Fotheringham, Consultant Solicitor, Flexlaw Ltd
  • Lucia Clark, Partner, Morton Fraser
  • John Kerrigan, Consultant, Blackadders
  • Alison Edmondson, Director, SKO Family Law Specialists 
  • Naeema Sajid, Partner, Aberdein Considine and Member, Law Society of Scotland Family Law Sub-committee
  • Kirsty McGuinness, Associate, Turcan Connell
  • Nicola Hogg, Solicitor, Accredited specialist in child law
  • 08:50 - 09:20

    Registration and refreshments
  • Speaker
    Helen Hughes, Partner, McAuley McCarthy & Co
  • 09:30 - 10:00

    The rights of cohabiting couples

    • Insight into the proposed reform

    John Kerrigan

    John has been in legal practice for 42 years. Within this time he has been a Partner for 34 years, prior to becoming a Consultant in September 2018. John is a member of the Trusts and Succession Sub-Committee of the Law Society of Scotland, and sat on an Advisory Committee of Practitioners and Advocates. The function of that Committee was to advise the Scottish Law Commission in relation to proposed changes to the laws of succession.

    John has chaired a number of Conferences on Succession, Trusts, Adults with Incapacity etc over the past 19 years, on a number of occasions sharing a platform with the former Public Guardian, Sandra McDonald. He regularly speaks and provides Seminars to various local Faculties throughout Scotland and other Legal Training providers on, inter alia, succession and AWI topics, including a number of Internet Webinars.

    10:00 - 10:30

    What you need to know about domestic abuse?

    • The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018
    • What women who have experienced domestic abuse want you to know

    Sarah Crawford, Lead Solicitor, Scottish Women's Rights Centre

    10:30 - 11:00

    Surrogacy law update

    • The reform and its impact on parental rights: what you need to know


    Robert is a Director of SKO and is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Family Law and as a Family Mediator. He is also a FLAGS Family Law Arbitrator.


    The current edition of Chambers and Partners recognises Robert's ability, one client noting, "He was incredibly impressive in his swift grasp of a very complicated situation. He always answered questions quickly and clearly, and I always felt confident that I was in sensible and experienced, yet sensitive, hands". Robert is similarly recognised in the current Legal 500.


    Robert is recognised for particular expertise in two areas: cohabitant claims, having acted for the successful applicant in the ground breaking, and widely reported, Supreme Court case of Gow v Grant, and surrogacy and ART (artificial reproductive technology). His work in relation to the latter areas of law include advising medical professionals and individuals in relation to Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act matters arising from the HFEA legal parenthood audit in 2014. He has written on and provided commentary to the media on both subjects.


    Robert is known as a dedicated, knowledgeable and pragmatic lawyer. There are no other solicitors in firms ranked in Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 with more advocacy experience than Robert and his intellect, judgment and sensitivity is widely recognised by the judiciary who regularly appoint him as a court reporter and curator ad litem in cases involving children and vulnerable adults. His experience as a litigator includes conduct of proofs, debates and other contentious hearings in the Sheriff Court (Scotland wide).


    Robert is a very experienced mediator and has a busy practice both mediating alone and, as the only male accredited mediator in Edinburgh, co-mediating in cases where a gender balance is desired by clients.


    Robert’s practice covers the full range of family law matters including divorce, dissolution, cohabitation claims, financial provision, residence and contact, specific issue orders and relocation.

    11:00 - 11:10

    Questions and discussion

  • 11:10 - 11:25

    Refreshments and networking
  • 11:25 - 12:10

    'Modern families': family creation for family lawyers

    • Adoption, surrogacy and donor conception: legal considerations and aspects to keep in mind when advising your clients


    Amanda is highly experienced in all family law matters. She has attained three accreditations from the Law Society of Scotland namely Family Law, Child Law and Family Law Mediation. She is a member of CALM and the Family Law Association.


    Amanda is qualified to provide clients with numerous options in terms of dispute resolution in family law. Amanda is an experienced litigator. She regularly appears in the Sheriff Court in cases involving the welfare of children and financial matters. She is also well versed in Court of Session litigation, having been instructed in many key family law decisions. Amanda regularly deals with negotiated cases, recognising that court is not always the best place in which to resolve family law disputes.


    She has particular experience in relation to high value financial provision, child relocation cases and adoption. Amanda has experience of representing the interests of children in family law cases, being regularly instructed by Glasgow Sheriff Court to prepare child welfare reports in cases where the welfare of children is in issue. Amanda is a trained Childline Volunteer Counsellor. She has recently obtained the COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills, which she finds invaluable in delivering legal services with empathy and understanding.


    Amanda is a ranked lawyer in the Chambers UK 2019 legal directory, where a source says: "She has a balanced, compassionate and insightful manner and considerable experience." Amanda is also a recommended lawyer in The Legal 500 2018 where she is described as "highly knowledgeable".


    Amanda has trained in Collaborative Law and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Practitioners. Amanda believes that family law cases should be managed with sensitivity and discretion, working with clients to identify and achieve their aims so that clients can be active participants in shaping the future outcome of their case.


    Amanda is passionate about legal education, sharing knowledge and the future development of family law. She has been a tutor on the Strathclyde University Diploma in Professional Legal Practice for many years. She is regularly invited to speak at professional conferences, sharing knowledge and experience with the legal profession. Amanda often contributes articles in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, Green's Family Law magazine, and the Family Law Association magazine. Recent publications have included articles on child relocation, court procedure in family actions, and the resolution of complex disputes regarding the welfare of children.

    12:10 - 12:55

    Current issues in financial provisions on separation and divorce

    • Case law update


    Alison is a Director of SKO and is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Family Law and as a Family Mediator. She also holds a postgraduate Certificate in Mediation and Conflict Resolution; is trained as a Collaborative Lawyer and as a Family Law Arbitrator.


    Chambers & Partners have described Alison as "intellectually strong" and as being someone who “is admired for her work in novel financial proceedings, particularly those with complex actuarial and tax issues”. In the current edition of the guide she is commended as being "very sensible, practical, very constructive and reassuring".


    Financial issues arising from separation are Alison’s primary focus. She has particular expertise in cases relating to business interests, pensions, taxation and inherited wealth, including in connection with retirement and retirement planning. Her practice also includes family cases with novel issues such as cases where one party has lost capacity, the international protection of vulnerable adults and disputed inheritance claims.


    Alison regularly writes and lectures for, amongst others, STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland), SOLAS (Society of Law Accountants in Scotland) and Update (Law Society of Scotland).


    Alison is a skilled negotiator and an experienced litigator in both the Court of Session and Sheriff Court as well as being committed to alternatives to the court process, including mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.

    12:55 - 13:05

    Questions and discussion

  • 13:05 - 13:50

    Lunch and networking
  • 13:50 - 14:05

    Family Law Committee insight into the Children (Scotland) Bill



    Naeema is a Partner in the Family Law team of Aberdein Considine.

    She is a Law Society accredited specialist in her field with wide ranging experience of dealing with all matters relating to family law. She is a trained collaborative lawyer as well as a Law Society accredited mediator. 

    Prior to joining private practice Naeema trained with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and served as a PF Depute for a number of years. Naeema is also a member of the Law Society of Scotland's Family law subcommittee and a founding member of the Scottish Ethnic Minorities Lawyers’ Association (SEMLA). 

    14:05 - 14:45

    Children and s. 11 orders

    • residence, contact and 'shared care': the key issues; 
    • The rights of siblings and other family members in contact cases: update and recent cases; 
    • Obtaining the view of children in court: update and practical guidance

    Kirsty McGuinness, Associate, Turcan Connell

    14:45 - 15:25

    Adoption and permanence orders

    • Key issues and case law update


    Nicola Hogg,  is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Child Law and a member of the Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland and SOLAR Child Law Group.  Nicola has over 15 years experience as a litigator, more recently with local authorities. She has undertaken several permanence proofs in the sheriff court, been legal advisor to Adoption and Permanence Panels and advised on child protection, looked after children and education legislation. She has worked closely with various stakeholders including children’s reporters and curators ad litems to ensure positive outcomes for children. Nicola has instructed Counsel in relation to both Court of Session and UKSC cases and advised on complex child law issues. 

    15:25 - 15:35

    Questions and discussion

  • 15:35 - 15:45

    Refreshments and networking
  • 15:45 - 16:15

    Child maintenance update

    • Key issues and case law update 
    • The obligations of 'step parents' (marriage v cohabitation)

    John Fotheringham, Consultant Solicitor, Flexlaw Ltd

    16:15 - 16:45

    Conclusive briefings: what should you expect?

    • Cross-border issues in cases involving divorce
    • Brexit implications for family lawyers: the main treaties to keep in mind


    Lucia is a Partner in our Family Law team in Edinburgh.


    She is an accredited specialist in family law, and has particular expertise in resolving financial disputes arising from the breakdown of a relationship.


    She frequently acts in cases involving high-value assets such as businesses or farms, and in cases with an international aspect.


    Lucia understands that separation can be a stressful experience, and aims to support clients as best she can through the process. She successfully resolves many of her cases through negotiation, but also has considerable experience litigating in Court.


    She is a dual-qualified lawyer (England/Wales and Scotland) and helps clients in complex cross-border cases. She advises on matters of jurisdiction, and has acted for clients based in the U.S., Asia, Middle East and Australia, including ex-pats. Lucia regularly advises upon preparation of pre-nuptial agreements, cohabitation disputes and child-related issues including international relocation.


    As well as acting for clients in Scottish cases, Lucia also represents clients in cases relating to divorce and finance proceeding under English law or in the English courts.

    16:45 - 16:55

    Questions and discussion

  • 16:55 - 17:00

    Closing remarks


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