News Essentials: 21st March 2020


A brief summary of the essential family law news and cases from the last week:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Message from the Lord Chief Justice to judges in the Civil and Family Courts
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Message from the Lord Chief Justice to judges in the Civil and Family Courts. Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

COVID 19: National Guidance for the Family Court
This Guidance, which is issued with the approval of the Lord Chief Justice and the Senior Presiding Judge, is intended to be followed with immediate effect by all levels of the Family Court and in the High Court Family Division. Guidance (PDF).

First all-Skype trial tests crisis working at CoP
An entire trial is being conducted over Skype in a legal first that lawyers say could be a model way to ensure court business continues during the Covid-19 pandemic. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

MS v FS [2020] EWFC B9 (21 February 2020
Application by husband to set aside decree absolute and financial consent order, on the basis that he had not been aware of the proceedings. Decree absolute found to be voidable, but not set aside. Financial consent order set aside. Full report: Bailii. Costs judgment here.

Coronavirus Bill: What it will say on courts and justice
Government guidance on the Coronavirus Bill, due to be introduced to parliament today, indicates how the authorities hope to keep the justice system functioning during the current emergency. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

A Local Authority v AG [2020] EWFC 18 (16 March 2020)
Care proceedings in relation to children whose father is a serving diplomat at a diplomatic mission. Full report: Bailii.

Coronavirus: Family judge imposes emergency measures
A family judge has imposed emergency measures in Berkshire and Oxfordshire, ordering lawyers to stay at home if possible – despite the government claiming courts will continue to ‘operate normally’ today. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Divorce bill must not overlook pensions - Society
The Law Society has called for long-awaited legislation reforming divorce to be amended to ensure ex-spouses are not left financially vulnerable as a result of pension orders. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

AB v EM (Jurisdiction Foreign Custody Order), Re [2020] EWHC 549 (Fam) (12 March 2020)
Proceedings concerning 4 year old child taken to Egypt by her father, a custody order having been made by a court in Lebanon. Full report: Bailii.

M v F [2020] EWHC 576 (Fam) (13 March 2020)
Appeal by mother against contact order made at FHDRA. Full report: Bailii.

Coronavirus guidance for courts and tribunals
COVID-19 current court guidelines. Full story: Family Law Week.

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