News Essentials: 28th November 2020

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


Number of children in need falls year-on-year
There were 389,260 children in need at 31 March 2020, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics. This represents a decrease of 2.6 per cent from the same point in 2019. Full story: Family Law Week.

Education Secretary acted unlawfully by removing safeguards for children in care
In R (On the Application Of Article 39) v Secretary of State for Education [2020] EWCA Civ 1577, the Court of Appeal has unanimously declared that the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, acted unlawfully in failing to consult the Children's Commissioner for England and other children's rights organisations before making "substantial and wide-ranging" changes to legal protections for England's 78,000 children in care. Full story: Family Law Week.

Coronavirus: Domestic abuse offences increased during pandemic
The number of domestic abuse offences recorded by police in England and Wales has increased during the pandemic. Full story: BBC News.

Domestic abuse victims with 'trapped capital' should not be denied legal aid, court rules
Decision is victory for victims who have homes which cannot be sold or borrowed against. Full story: The Guardian.

Judge issues second ruling sharply criticising lack of suitable regulated placement for vulnerable 16-year-old woman with complex needs
A High Court judge has sent a second judgment in less than a month – this time “more in exasperated hope than expectation” – to the Children’s Commissioner for England, the Secretary of State for Education, the Minister for Children and others over the lack of regulated accommodation for vulnerable children. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Judge decides boy deliberately burned with heater by parent should live with relative
A young boy who suffered burns after one of his parents held him against a heater should leave home and live with a relative, a judge has said. Full story: Care Appointments.

Victims of domestic abuse told to take civil action as courts clog up
Victims of domestic abuse and harassment have been encouraged by the police to take civil action rather than a criminal prosecution because the system is overwhelmed, it has been claimed in a report. Full story: The Times.

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (Victims’ Code of Practice) Order 2020
This order brings the revised Code of Practice for Victims of Crime into operation on 1 April 2021. It sets out the services to be provided to victims of crime by relevant service providers and is being updated to take account of the responses to the Government consultation on Improving the Victims' Code. Full story: Family Law Week.


C v D [2020] EWFC 83 (27 November 2020)
Fact-finding hearing within proceedings brought by a father for a child arrangements order with respect to his son aged 5. Full report: Bailii.

C (Revocation of Placement Orders) [2020] EWCA Civ 1598 (27 November 2020)
Appeal against dismissal of application by the appellant mother for revocation of placement orders made in respect of her three older children. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

A v R [2020] EWFC B50 (20 July 2020)
Application by father for child arrangements and specific issues orders, including permission to remove child to non-Hague Convention country. Full report: Bailii.

A v R [2020] EWFC B51 (16 November 2020 )
Application by father for costs, following Children Act proceedings. Costs order made, on basis that mother barely any effort to engage in the proceedings. Full report: Bailii. See also my short note here.

Prospective Adopters v Sheffield City Council [2020] EWCA Civ 1591 (26 November 2020)
Appeal by prospective adopters against striking out of adoption application. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Z (Schedule 1: Legal Costs Funding Order; Interim Financial Provision) [2020] EWFC 80 (26 November 2020)
Application by mother in Sch 1 Children Act proceedings for legal costs funding order and interim financial provision for child. Full report: Bailii.

Warrington Borough Council v TN (Care Proceedings: Comity) [2020] EWFC 79 (25 November 2020)
Care proceedings in relation to child of Lithuanian heritage. Agreed that child should be reunited with her mother and for her to return with her mother to Lithuania upon her mother's deportation to that jurisdiction. Full report: Bailii.

London Borough of Southwark v A Family [2020] EWHC 3117 (Fam) (18 May 2020)
Care proceedings concerning issue of whether the circumstances of child's death posed a risk to her younger siblings. Full report: Bailii.

An NHS Foundation Trust v AB & Ors [2020] EWHC 3221 (Fam) (21 October 2020)
Application by NHS Trust for a declaration that patient by reason of her minority lacked capacity to consent to or refuse cataract surgery. Full report: Bailii.

K v G [2020] EWHC 3209 (Fam) (25 November 2020)
Appeal by mother in child arrangements proceedings against finding of fact in relation to alleged assault upon the father. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

DP v DP (Rectification of Orders) [2020] EWHC 3188 (Fam) (04 November 2020)
Judgment considering whether an order made in 2017 registering a French maintenance order could be rectified. Full report: Bailii.

Cumbria County Council v AT & Ors [2020] EWHC 3107 (Fam) (16 November 2020)
Care proceedings in which the central issue was whether some or all of the allegations made by the child had been caused by manipulation, pressure or coaching by the Mother, or whether she had developed an unreasonable belief that he had been sexually abused. Full report: Bailii.