News Essentials: 13th March 2021

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


11% increase in Cafcass social worker numbers in past year as caseloads reach record levels
Family courts body boosts full-time social work numbers by 150, tripling agency headcount, but trade union warns that “further resources” still needed to stabilise service. Full story: Community Care.

Supreme Court to hand down judgment in 1980 Hague Convention / asylum case
The Supreme Court will hand down judgment in G v G on Friday, 19 March 2021. Full story: Family Law Week.

Intercountry adoption: exception requests
The Department for Education has published information about exception requests to adopt children from countries with special restrictions. Full story: Family Law Week.

Judge says recent case shows how exceptional circumstances must be if court is to use its power to dismiss care proceedings without having heard all the evidence
A Family Court judge has refused applications to dismiss care proceedings at a half-way stage made by a number of people accused of sexual offences against children. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Top lawyers urge families to resolve disputes out of court, to avoid being caught up in a pandemic backlog
The number of unresolved cases facing family courts has soared by 20 per cent in the past year. Full story: iNews.

Two teenagers placed in foster care after weight loss plan fails
Family court judge says parents failed to help severely overweight children and did not understand worry of West Sussex social services. Full story: The Guardian.

Review of the controlling or coercive behaviour offence published
The Home Office has published the results of a review of the controlling or coercive behaviour offence, which was introduced in December 2015. Full story: Family Law Week.

BASW UK responds to Government Independent Review of the Human Rights Act
The British Association of Social Workers has submitted a response to the Government's Independent Review of the Human Rights Act, giving evidence on the way that the Act is used by social workers. Full story: Family Law Week.

Dame Rachel de Souza begins her term as Children’s Commissioner for England
Dame Rachel de Souza has begun her term as Children's Commissioner for England in succession to Anne Longfield. Full story: Family Law Week.

No case for reform of the Human Rights Act, says Joint Committee on Human Rights
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has published its response to the Government's Independent Human Rights Act Review, which concludes that the HRA has had an enormously positive impact on the enforcement of human rights in the UK, and finds that there is no case for reform under the terms of reference of the Government's review. Full story: Family Law Week.


SZ v Birmingham City Council & Ors [2021] EWFC 15 (02 March 2021)
Application by father for contact with two children in care, and by local authority to discharge the care order in relation to older child. Full report: Bailii.

Z (A Child), Re (2nd Judgment) [2021] EWHC 559 (Fam) (11 March 2021)
Second judgment in care proceedings concerning 13 year old girl. Final care order and DOL order made. Full report: Bailii.

PQ v RS & Anor [2021] EWHC 572 (Fam) (23 February 2021)
Application by father for summary return of children to the Republic of Ireland. Return order made. Full report: Bailii.

Brack v Brack [2020] EWHC 2142 (Fam) (29 July 2020)
Application by W to set aside a finding that there were no vitiating factors present at the time when the parties entered into their prenuptial agreements, in light of new evidence indicating that H made misrepresentations which induced W to enter into the agreements. Application struck out. Full report: Bailii.

Villiers v Villiers [2021] EWFC 23 (11 March 2021)
Final hearing of wife's application under s.27 MCA. Application dismissed, as W failed to show that H had failed to provide reasonable maintenance for her. Full report: Bailii. See also my short note, here.

WL v HL [2021] EWFC B10 (05 March 2021)
Application by mother to vary order in relation to childcare costs. Judge used court's FPR Part 3 powers to encourage parties to consider and enter non-court dispute resolution. Full report: Bailii.

West Sussex County Council v A and B [2020] EWFC B62 (29 October 2020)
Care proceedings in relation to two children, issued due to concerns that the children were severely overweight. Full report: Bailii.

A (Child Abduction: Article 13b) [2021] EWCA Civ 328 (09 March 2021)
Appeal by mother from order for the summary return of child to the USA. Return order set aside and matter remitted for rehearing, in light of further evidence concerning mother's mental health and family support. Full report: Bailii.

CA v DR (Schedule 1 Children Act 1989: Pension Claim) [2021] EWFC 21 (24 February 2021)
Application by mother for financial provision for child, including a periodical payments claim with an uplift to enable her to make provision for her retirement in the form of a private pension. Full report: Bailii.

X (Recognition of Foreign Adoption) [2021] EWHC 355 (Fam) (18 February 2021)
Application under inherent jurisdiction for recognition of Nigerian adoption. Held that child legally adopted in accordance with the requirements of the foreign law. Full report: Bailii.