News Essentials: 6th June 2020

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

Johnson faces backlash over plans for ‘quickie’ divorces expected to come into force as early as next month
Tory MPs reportedly concerned biggest reforms in half a century could cause spike in break ups during lockdown. Full story: The Independent.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Statutory Storage Period for Embryos and Gametes) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020
These Regulations, which come into force on 1 July 2020, provide for embryos and gametes to be stored in certain circumstances for longer than the period of ten years ("the statutory storage period") laid down by section 14(3) and (4) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 ("the Act"), as amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. Full story: Family Law Week.

Legal Aid Agency to assess bills
Transfer date to be agreed with HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Full story: Family Law Week.

President’s amended Guidance on Allocation and Gatekeeping for Care, Supervision and other Proceedings
The President of the Family Division has made two amendments to his Guidance on Allocation and Gatekeeping for Care, Supervision and other Proceedings under Part IV of the Children Act 1989 (Public Law) 2014. Full story: Family Law Week.

FGM attendances: January - March 2020
There were 1,855 individual women and girls who had an attendance where FGM was identified in the period between January 2020 and March 2020. These accounted for 2,935 attendances reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified. The figures come from the latest data released by the National Health Service. Full story: Family Law Week.

Attending family court protocol published by Cafcass
Cafcass has published a new protocol providing direction on how and when Cafcass staff should attend court during the first phase of the COVID-19 recovery, ie from 1 June to 1 September 2020. Full story: Family Law Week.

Extension of Sally Cheshire’s appointment as Interim Chair of Cafcass
The Lord Chancellor has announced an extension to Sally Cheshire’s tenure as Interim Chair of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Family judge says trial should be held on diplomatic immunity legislation and incompatibility with European Convention on Human Rights
A trial should be held on the “virtually insoluble dilemma” between diplomatic immunity and local authorities’ child protection duties, Mr Justice Mostyn has ruled in the High Court Family Division. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Remote hearings for family courts 'horribly cruel'
Court hearings held remotely in lockdown have disadvantaged vulnerable people and should not be used longer term, lawyers and charities have said. Full story: BBC News.

Parents fight in court over whether children should return to school in England
Family lawyer says divorcing couples can disagree during coronavirus pandemic amid conflicting advice. Full story: The Guardian.

Social distancing causes delays at regional divorce centre
The country’s biggest regional divorce centre is taking 20 weeks to deal with consent orders. Full story: Law Society Gazette.


M v M [2020] EWFC 41 (06 May 2020)
Final hearing of "ruinous and recriminatory" financial remedy proceedings involving, inter alia, a dispute as to the wife's interest in two companies. Full report: Bailii. See here for my take on this.

A Local Authority v W & Ors (Application for Summary Dismissal of Findings) [2020] EWFC 40 (02 June 2020)
Judgment considering issue of whether the court has power at the case management stage to summarily dismiss disputed findings sought by a local authority against a parent in proceedings under Part IV of the Children Act 1989 independent of its case management powers under the Family Procedure Rules. Full report: Bailii.

B-T (A Child: Threshold Conditions) [2020] EWCA Civ 697 (03 June 2020)
Appeal by local authority against dismissal of care proceedings, following findings of fact, and that those facts did not satisfy the threshold. Appeal allowed, substituted threshold findings made, and the interim care order that was previously in force restored. Full report: Bailii.

A and B (inflicted injuries (intervenor) - no failure to protect - threshold not crossed) [2020] EWFC B21 (11 February 2020)
Care proceedings concerning 2 children. Injuries found to have been inflicted on child by mother's former partner. Threshold not crossed. Full report: Bailii.

C (inflicted injuries - no public law orders) [2020] EWFC B20 (22 May 2020)
Care proceedings, in which there had been a finding that the father had inflicted two serious injuries. No public law orders sought by the local authority. Full report: Bailii.