News Essentials: 16th January 2021

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


Education Secretary launches review of children’s social care
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched an independent review of children's social care which aims 'to raise the bar' for vulnerable children across the country. Full story: Family Law Week.

Family courts meet the Covid challenge
While the criminal courts in particular have struggled to cope with the impact of the pandemic, the family system seems to have fared somewhat better. Full story: Legal Futures.

UK-EU cross-border divorces
Guidance for people involved in UK-EU cross-border divorces. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

UK-EU cross-border disputes about parental responsibility
Guidance for people involved in UK-EU cross-border disputes about parental responsibility. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

UK-EU cross-border maintenance disputes
Guidance for people involved in UK-EU cross-border maintenance disputes. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

‘Widen Domestic Abuse Bill powers’ says Law Society
The Law Society has called for the Domestic Abuse Bill to go even further in its protections as the proposed legislation makes it way through parliament. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Continuing application of the Choice of Court Convention and Child Support Convention for the United Kingdom
After the conclusion of the transition period following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union, the United Kingdom continues to be bound by the HCCH Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements (Choice of Court Convention) and the HCCH Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (Child Support Convention). Full story: Family Law Week.

Lady Black retires from the Supreme Court
The Rt Hon Lady Black of Derwent retires as a Supreme Court Justice on 10 January 2021. Full story: Family Law Week.

Amendments to Family Procedure Rules
Amendments to paragraph 1.4 and 11.1 of Practice Direction 36N, to add provision for a legal representative of a respondent to use the online system for contested financial remedy applications and remove references to Maintenance Pending Suit applications, came into force on 18 December 2020. Full story: Family Law Week.

Amendments to civil legal aid eligibility criteria
The Legal Aid Agency has announced that compensation provided to claimants of specific compensation schemes will now be disregarded when assessing civil legal aid eligibility. Full story: Family Law Week.

Domestic Abuse Bill receives second reading in Lords
On 5 January 2021 the Domestic Abuse Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords. Full story: Family Law Week.


A Local Authority v JK & Anor [2021] EWHC 33 (Fam) (15 January 2021)
Proceedings concerning a 10 month old child whose mother decided to relinquish for adoption before he was born. application by LA for order endorsing its decision not to disclose child's existence to his father. Full report: Bailii.

F v M [2021] EWFC 4 (15 January 2021)
Application by father for contact with his two children. Fact-finding hearing regarding allegations of abuse by mother, including similar fact evidence. Full report: Bailii.

Taiga v Nneka Mercy Ogbedo [2020] EWHC 3578 (Fam) (02 November 2020)
Long-running proceedings in both England and Nigeria, in which the Nigerian court found that the parties had not had a valid marriage, as at the time that the marriage ceremony took place the respondent was still married to his first wife. Further judgment, dealing particularly with issues of costs. Full report: Bailii.

G, Re [2020] EWFC 94 (22 December 2020)
Application for care and placement orders with respect to a 15 months old girl, whose mother suffers from a syndrome which causes varying symptoms, including (in her case) hypertonia, learning difficulties and issues surrounding food and appetite. Full report: Bailii.

GC v AS [2021] EWHC 14 (Fam) (11 January 2021)
Application by mother under the inherent jurisdiction for orders that the court should "protect" her children, who reside in Libya. Application dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Rattan v Kuwad [2021] EWCA Civ 1 (11 January 2021)
Appeal by wife from order allowing husband's appeal from maintenance pending suit order. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.