News Essentials: 20th February 2021

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


Practice Direction update 1 (2021): Family Procedure Rules 2010
Changes to Practice Directions 12D, 17A, 36Q and 36R come into force in February 2021, and changes to Practice Directions 10A, 12K, 41B come into force in March 2021. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Unregulated accommodation banned for vulnerable children under 16
A ban on placing vulnerable children under the age of 16 in unregulated accommodation will come into force in September. Full story: Department for Education.

Court of Appeal allows appeal by father against abuse findings over insufficient reasoning, failure by judge to take into account material factors
The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by a father over a Family Court judge’s finding that he had abused his daughter, with the matter remitted to be reheard by a different judge. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory to consult on use of supervision orders in care proceedings
The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory has launched a consultation seeking views about supervision orders and their use in care proceedings. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

'Patriarchal' no-sex annulment law must be reformed says divorcing doctor
Tech start-up boss wanted judge to declare his marriage to his doctor wife void claiming she refused to have sex with him. Full story: The Telegraph.

The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2021
These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010. Statutory Instrument.

Judge hits out at lack of regulated placement for vulnerable, suicidal 16 year old, despite 11 High Court hearings and sending series of judgments to ministers
An exasperated High Court judge has sent a fourth judgment to ministers over the continuing unavailability of a regulated placement for a vulnerable 16 year old with multifaceted difficulties and at a high risk of serious self-harm or suicide. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Civil legal aid bills consultation launched
The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation on the proposed transfer from Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) of the assessment of all civil legal aid bills of costs other than those involving a detailed inter partes assessment. Full story: Family Law Week.

Family Division’s Transparency Review: Update
The final publication of the Family Division's Transparency Review is now expected to be in Summer 2021. Full story: Family Law Week.

'Single parents more likely to experience problem debt and live in persistent poverty'
Gingerbread, the charity for single parent families, and StepChange, the UK's leading debt charity, have published a new report - The Single Parent Debt Trap - which shows the UK's 2 million single parents are more likely than any other sector of society to be living with problem debt. Full story: Family Law Week.

Legal Services Board data demonstrate fluctuating demand for family law services during pandemic
Since June 2020, the Legal Services Board (LSB) has been tracking multiple data sources to provide the clearest picture it can of the impact of Covid-19 on legal services. Its Covid-19 research dashboard indicates the effect on demand for different legal services and the health of the market in England and Wales. Full story: Family Law Week.

Councils must give parents clear information during safeguarding investigations
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is reminding councils of their duties to parents when asking them to leave the family home during safeguarding investigations, following an investigation into a complaint about Newcastle City Council. Full story: Family Law Week.

Changes to the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020
The Department for Education is seeking views on its proposal to extend or amend a limited number of flexibilities within the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020, in relation to Medical Reports, Virtual Visits and Ofsted Inspections. Full story: Family Law Week.


K (A Child : permission to vaccinate) [2020] EWHC 3775 (Fam) (17 July 2020)
Care proceedings. Application by mother to prevent Local Authority from imposing a programme of vaccinations on child without the consent of the parents. Full report: Bailii.

E, Re [2021] EWFC B5 (21 January 2021)
Care proceedings commenced following incident of excessive chastisement. Child to live with maternal grandmother under special guardianship order. Full report: Bailii.

K & L, Re [2021] EWFC B4 (20 January 2021)
Care proceedings concerning two children, commenced due to concerns around domestic violence within the family home, the parents' chaotic behaviour and parenting, concerns around drugs and alcohol misuse, and M's poor mental health. Full report: Bailii.

J, Re (In the Matter of the Children Act 1989) [2021] EWFC B3 (12 January 2021)
Care proceedings commenced after child's mother was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Full report: Bailii.

R (A Child) [2020] EWHC 3321 (Fam) (03 December 2020)
Application by father under inherent jurisdiction for order that mother returns child from Spain. Held, court has no jurisdiction as child habitually resident in Spain at time of application. Full report: Bailii.

O (A Child : Judgment: Adequacy Of Reasons) [2021] EWCA Civ 149 (16 February 2021)
Appeal by father against findings that he sexually abused his daughter. Appeal allowed, following finding that judge's reasoning was insufficient. Full report: Bailii.