News Essentials: 19th December 2020


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

NEWS

MoJ drops wealth rule that denied legal aid to victims of domestic abuse
‘Imaginary capital’ rules for home ownership falsely inflated wealth and deprived people of help. Full story: The Guardian.

New private law cases received by Cafcass in November rose 3 per cent on 2019
Cafcass received a total of 4,088 new private law cases (involving 6,126 children) in November 2020 – 3.7 per cent (or 114 cases) more than the same month last year. Full story: Family Law Week.

New public law cases received by Cafcass fell by 2 per cent in November
Cafcass received a total of 1,501 new public law applications (involving 2,319 children) in November – 32 applications (2.1 per cent) fewer than in the same month last year. Full story: Family Law Week.

Family Court Statistics Quarterly: July to September 2020
Quarterly data on the volume of cases dealt with by family courts over time, with statistics also broken down for the main types of case involved. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Legal aid statistics: July to September 2020
Activity in the legal aid system for England and Wales, including criminal and civil legal aid, family mediation, providers of legal aid, client characteristics and Central Funds payments. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Draft changes to the Family Procedure Rules arising from planned implementation of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020
This consultation relates to proposed amendments to Part 6 (Service) and new rules in Part 7 (Procedure for Applications in Matrimonial and Civil Partnership Proceedings) of the Family Procedure Rules 2010, which seek to give procedural effect to the revised legislative framework brought about by the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020. Full story: Family Procedure Rule Committee.

Judge recuses herself over hockey club connection
A district judge recused herself from a family case after discovering that her son and a party in the case were members of the same hockey club and followed each other on social media, a Court of Appeal judgment has revealed. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See report, below.

Child Maintenance Service statistics: data to September 2020
Quarterly experimental statistics on the Child Maintenance Service to September 2020. Full story: Department for Work and Pensions.

New research raises concerns about experiences of parents and families in newly ‘virtual’ child protection conferences
COVID-19 has forced an abrupt change in practice for child protection conferences, with a new survey suggesting that the majority of formerly face-to-face meetings are now being held remotely by video or phone – and now that the shift has been made, professionals feel that in-person conferences are unlikely to resume even beyond the pandemic. Full story: Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.

Private International Law Bill gains Royal Assent
The Private International Law Bill (2020) received royal assent today (14 December 2020) allowing the UK to implement vital agreements which protect the country’s businesses and citizens across borders. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Nationwide call for views on tackling violence against women and girls
The government has launched a nationwide Call for Evidence to inform a new strategy to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls. Full story: Family Law Week.

Ombudsman urges councils to scrutinise services for children in care
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is highlighting the experiences of children in the care system and the difficulties they face when councils get things wrong. Full story: Family Law Week.

Human Rights Act: Government launches independent review
The Ministry of Justice has launched an independent review by a panel of experts which will examine whether there is a need to reform the Human Rights Act. Full story: Family Law Week.

Listing of final hearings in care cases in the Central Family Court
From January 1st 2021 there will be an important change to the way care proceedings are listed before the judges at Central Family Court. Full story: Family Law Week.

CASES

N v N (Afghanistan: Validity of an overseas marriage: Procedure) [2020] EWFC B55 (15 September 2020)
Interim hearing concerning procedural difficulties with divorce proceedings, where the alleged marriage ceremony was said to have taken place in Kabul, Afghanistan in the 1980s. Full report: Bailii.

A, B and C (Children), Re [2020] EWHC 3411 (Fam) (18 December 2020)
Application by mother for order revoking Care/Placement Order and/or subsequent Adoption Order. Application dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Shahzad v Mazher & Anor [2020] EWCA Civ 1740 (18 December 2020)
Appeal by husband from order setting aside DA, rescinding DN & dismissing petition, on basis of fraud. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

A County Council v KK & Ors [2020] EWHC 3510 (Fam) (18 December 2020)
Hearing considering whether a deprivation of liberty order made in relation to an 18 year old woman should come to an end. Full report: Bailii.

M (Children) v Wiltshire Council & Ors [2020] EWCA Civ 1717 (18 December 2020)
Appeal by Children's Guardian against order granting permission to the local authority to withdraw care proceedings. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

A Local Authority v X & Ors [2020] EWFC 78 (17 December 2020)
Applications by local authority for injunctive relief in order to provide security for the community placement of mother and child. Full report: Bailii.

D (rehabilitation to mother after failure to protect from inflicted injuries) [2020] EWFC B54 (20 November 2019)
Care proceedings. Found that father inflicted injuries upon child, who was moved to live with his maternal grandparents. Child rehabilitated with mother. Full report: Bailii.

The London Borough of Harrow v EL & Ors [2020] EWHC 3140 (Fam) (14 December 2020)
Application by LA for an order dispensing with the need to notify and seek the consent of the husband of the children's mother to their adoption, on the grounds that he is not the biological father of the children. Application granted. Full report: Bailii.

B v A [2020] EWHC 3138 (Fam) (14 December 2020)
Application by father for summary return of child to Australia. Return ordered. Full report: Bailii.

London Borough of Lambeth v L (Unlawful Placement) [2020] EWHC 3383 (Fam) (14 December 2020)
Application by LA for order under inherent jurisdiction authorising the deprivation of 13 year-old child's liberty in a placement in Scotland. Full report: Bailii.

M v H (Private Law: Vaccination) [2020] EWFC 93 (15 December 2020)
Application by father for specific issue order requiring children to be vaccinated. Order made. Full report: Bailii.

W (Children: Reopening/recusal) [2020] EWCA Civ 1685 (15 December 2020)
Appeal against setting aside of findings of fact, after DJ who made the finding subsequently recused herself from further involvement in the case. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii. See also my note, here.

J (secure accommodation order - bespoke placement) [2020] EWFC B38 (01 September 2020)
Application for a secure accommodation order in relation to 17 year-old young woman in care. Full report: Bailii.

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