News Essentials: 30th January 2021

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


Councils urged to learn from Ombudsman investigation into child abuse complaint
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is urging councils to place children at the centre of decision making in cross border child protection cases, after a suicidal teenager was left without appropriate support when she reported serious sexual abuse. Full story: Family Law Week.

Calls to NSPCC about children living in violent homes rise by over 50 per cent
The NSPCC has reported that average monthly contacts to its helpline about children and domestic violence have soared since the first lockdown began. Full story: Family Law Week.

Civil legal aid application forms changed to reflect new eligibility criteria
The Legal Aid Agency has made changes to the civil legal aid application forms to reflect amendments to the eligibility regulations removing the mortgage cap as part of the means test for civil legal aid. Full story: Family Law Week.

Domestic Abuse Bill enters committee stage
On 25 January 2021 the Domestic Abuse Bill began its committee stage in the House of Lords. Full story: Family Law Week.

Financial Remedy Court organogram
The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has published an organogram charting the national and regional structure of the Financial Remedy Court. Full story: Family Law Week.

Damage to children’s mental health caused by Covid crisis demands major increase for children’s mental health services
Children's Commissioner publishes fourth annual report on the state of children’s mental health services in England. Full story: Family Law Week.

Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics: September 2020 (experimental)
Quarterly statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency (CSA) child support schemes to September 2020. Full story: Department for Work and Pensions.

Judge raises concern over way eight-year-old girl was questioned over sexual abuse claims
A senior judge has raised concern about the way a police officer and council social worker questioned an eight-year-old girl who said her mother had sexually abused her when she was aged four. Full story: Care Appointments.

Including parental alienation in legal definition of domestic abuse ‘places victims at great risk’
‘We risk handing perpetrators yet another tool for continuing coercion and abuse,’ warns London’s Independent Victims’ Commissioner. Full story: The Independent.

Family Division judge hits out at "breathtaking incompetence" of council, failures on disclosure to court
A judge has accused a borough council of “breathtaking incompetence”, and severely criticised a social worker, in a case where a boy was left in a “thoroughly corrosive” foster placement for nine months longer than he should have been. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

New private law cases received by Cafcass in December rose 9 per cent on 2019
Cafcass received a total of 3,510 new private law cases (involving 5,371 children) in December 2020 – 9.5 per cent (or 305 cases) more than the same month last year. Full story: Family Law Week.

New public law cases received by Cafcass rose by nearly 5 per cent in December
Cafcass received a total of 1,383 new public law applications (involving 2,130 children) in December – 64 applications (4.9 per cent) more than in the same month last year. Full story: Family Law Week.

Fears grow over hidden child abuse since start of pandemic
Research by Office for the Children’s Commissioner shows drop in case referrals when abuse is known to be on the rise. Full story: The Observer.


Wickham v Riley & Ors [2020] EWHC 3711 (Fam) (25 November 2020)
Judgment in Inheritance Act proceedings, considering whether claimant had litigation capacity to discontinue the claim, and whether he should be granted permission to issue a further claim. Full report: Bailii.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v Mother of E & Anor [2021] EWHC 126 (Fam) (18 January 2021)
Application by NHS Trust for declaration that it is in best interests of 7 and a half year old child to undergo a course of low-dose craniospinal radiotherapy, to treat brain cancer. Full report: Bailii.

Finch v Baker [2021] EWCA Civ 72 (28 January 2021)
Appeal by W from lump sum and pension sharing orders made following the allowing of her appeal against original financial remedy order. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

T and R, Re (Refusal of Placement Order) [2021] EWCA Civ 71 (28 January 2021)
Appeal by local authority and children's guardian against decision to refuse an application by the local authority for placement orders in respect of two children. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

FRB v DCA (No. 4) [2021] EWHC 116 (Fam) (19 January 2021)
Further hearing of various applications arising from financial remedies order, including variation of periodical payments and an application by W for a LSPO. Full report: Bailii.

FRB v DCA (No. 3) [2020] EWHC 3696 (Fam) (21 December 2020)
Hearing of various applications arising from financial remedies order, including application by H to vary, and W's application for interest on unpaid lump sums. Full report: Bailii.

Q (A Child) (DOLS: Lack of Secure Placement) [2021] EWHC 123 (Fam) (27 January 2021)
Application for secure accommodation order in relation to 16 year old and, in the event that a suitable placement in secure accommodation cannot be found, for an order under the inherent jurisdiction to deprive him of his liberty. Full report: Bailii.

A Local Authority v A Mother & Ors [2020] EWHC 3496 (Fam) (18 December 2020)
Judgment in second set of care proceedings concerning four year old child, following breakdown of placement with her paternal grandmother. Full report: Bailii.

EM v BK [2021] EWHC 108 (Fam) (22 January 2021)
Application by father for summary return of children to Italy. Return ordered, despite mother's Art 13(b) defence. Full report: Bailii.