Public law children case update: contact, nationality and stays

Georgina Dalton summarises the latest public law children rulings, covering issues such as contact during care, changing the nationality of children in care, and practice on granting short-term stays. Read more
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Sep 17, 2020

High Court allows appeal by claimant after council bids to withdraw admissions of liability in failure to remove case

An unnamed South Wales local authority has been stopped by the High Court from withdrawing three admissions of lability made in a lengthy dispute over the care while a child of J, who is now aged 20 and seeks damages.
Sep 11, 2020

Children’s Commissioner calls for ban on use of unregulated accommodation for under 18s

The use of unregulated accommodation for under 18s in care should be banned, the Children's Commissioner's Office has said following an investigation into vulnerable children in care living in semi-independent accommodation.
Sep 07, 2020

Consultation held on short Social Work Evidence Template for use in urgent hearings

A consultation is being held on a proposed short Social Work Evidence Template (SWET) for use in urgent hearings, as well as an updated version of the full SWET.
Sep 03, 2020

Employment Appeal Tribunal upholds ruling specialist foster carers were employees of Scottish council

A trade union has hailed as a landmark ruling a case in which the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that foster care workers were council employees and so entitled to employment rights.
Aug 31, 2020

Court of Appeal to hear challenge to dilution of children’s safeguards this week

The Court of Appeal will this week (4 September) hear Article 39’s appeal over a High Court ruling that while the Department for Education’s Coronavirus Regulations did damage children’s safeguards, they were not unlawful due to the pandemic.
Aug 25, 2020

Family Court judge allows autistic mother to type evidence in witness box during care proceedings

A Family Court judge has hailed the success of allowing an autistic mother’s oral evidence in care proceedings to be given by presenting her with written questions whilst in the witness box and for the answers to be typed in real time.
Aug 24, 2020

Mother and grandparents win appeal over interim care orders

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by a mother and the maternal grandparents against interim care orders made in respect of three children, saying the transcript of the hearing before the recorder “demonstrates once again the difficulties facing courts required to conduct hearings remotely because of the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic”.
Aug 18, 2020

Council warns of potential breach of statutory duty in relation to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

The Leader of Kent County Council has warned that the local authority “cannot safely meet our statutory duty” when it comes to its capacity to care for new arrivals of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC).
Aug 13, 2020

Court of Appeal hands down ruling on changing nationality of children in care

A local authority cannot seek to change the nationality of children in care without the matter being considered by the High Court, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Aug 13, 2020

Mother wins appeal over request for French court to assume jurisdiction of care case

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by a mother against an order secured during care proceedings by an unnamed local authority to request a French family court to assume jurisdiction of a case involving her son’s care under Article 15 of Council Regulation (EC) 2201/2003.


September 03, 2020

Children in care and national identity

David Josty discusses a recent Court of Appeal ruling on the scope of a local authority's decision making in a relation to the national identity of a child in care.
August 27, 2020

Similar fact evidence in family proceedings

A mother recently won an appeal from a case management decision to exclude similar fact evidence in private family proceedings, ahead of a fact-finding hearing. The issues apply to public law cases as well, writes Hazel Samuriwo.
August 20, 2020

Child, mother, journalist – whose rights win out?

Matthew White analyses the first recorded High Court judgment concerning journalistic access to the court file in public law family proceedings.
August 20, 2020

Public law children case update: August 2020

Georgina Dalton summarises the latest Court of Appeal and High Court Family Division rulings, which cover issues such as regulated placements, the inherent jurisdiction and habitual residence, and a flawed hybrid hearing during the pandemic.
August 13, 2020

Contact with children in care: COVID-19

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that the ordinary principles governing applications for contact with children in care continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though outcomes may well be affected by the practical difficulties that are being faced. Hazel Samuriwo outlines the judgment.
July 30, 2020

One size fits all? Considering children law cases on their facts

A recent judgment of the Court of Appeal should serve as a reminder to practitioners in the field of Children Law that each case has to be considered on its peculiar facts and by reference, where applicable, to the welfare checklist in section 1 of the Children Act 1989 or the enhanced welfare checklist contained in section 1 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, writes Richard Alomo.
July 16, 2020

Failure to remove cases and assumption of responsibility

A court recently refused to strike out claim against social services for failure to remove a child at risk of abuse, even when that child a) was not in custody and b) there was no averment that social services had made matters worse. William Chapman explains why.
July 16, 2020

Religion and fostering

The High Court recently ruled that a Christian foster service must allow gay parents to sign up as carers. Aileen McColgan QC analyses the judgment.

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Aug 07, 2020

Department for Education’s Coronavirus Regulations did damage children’s safeguards but were not unlawful due to pandemic, High Court says

In a judgment handed down today (7 August), the High Court has rejected claims that the Department for Education acted unlawfully in the process of implementing The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.
Aug 07, 2020

Number of deprivation of liberty orders for children and young people triples in two years: BBC report

The number of children in care in England and Wales subject to deprivation of liberty orders has tripled in the last two years, research by BBC News has found.
Aug 06, 2020

‘Autism plus’ policies unlawfully restricting autistic children’s rights to care, report says

At least 41 councils in the UK have policies that are restricting social care needs assessments and unlawfully impeding the rights of disabled children with autism, a new report has suggested.
Aug 05, 2020

Public law children specialists join Coram Chambers

Coram Chambers has welcomed two new tenants, Yasmeen Jamil and Judith Pepper, with extensive experience of public law children proceedings.
Aug 03, 2020

Council wins appeal over order discharging interim care orders

Herefordshire Council has won an appeal from an order discharging interim care orders in relation to girls aged nine and seven.
Jul 29, 2020

Religious fostering service given permission on one ground to appeal rejection of judicial review challenge over Ofsted report

A High Court judge has given a Christian fostering service permission to appeal on one ground following his dismissal earlier this month of its judicial review challenge to a report by Ofsted.
Jul 27, 2020

Court of Appeal finds judge should have recused herself in child care fact-finding hearing

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a judge should have recused herself rom child care proceedings after she was inadvertently heard making pejorative comments about the mother.
Jul 20, 2020

Government consults on extending some COVID-19 children’s social care flexibilities, will allow most to lapse

The Department for Education has launched a consultation on extending some of the measures in the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 that were introduced to provide local authorities and children’s social care providers with temporary flexibilities during COVID-19.
Jul 16, 2020

Judge criticises council for failure to implement recommendations of First-tier Tribunal

The London Borough of Barnet gave “disingenuous” and “erroneous” reasons for departing from the recommendations of the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) in a case concerning an autistic boy’s care, a judge has ruled.
Jul 13, 2020

Department for Education tells court nothing can be done where lack of secure placement for vulnerable and damaged 13 year old

There was nothing that could be done and a local authority would have to keep searching in circumstances where there was no suitable placement for a young and vulnerable person, the Department for Education has told the High Court.
Jul 09, 2020

Sunderland Christian foster service 'must allow gay carers' says High Court

A Christian Foster service has been told it must allow gay parents to sign up as carers, the High Court has ruled.
Jul 09, 2020

Council was wrong to apply for the withdrawal of care proceedings: CoA

A Family Court judge should have refused an unnamed county council’s application to withdraw care proceedings for a child with an unexplained injury, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Jul 07, 2020

Charity calls for urgent effort to register children of EU citizen parents as deadline looms for citizenship scheme

The Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC) has suggested that hundreds of children in the care system could be left unlawfully resident in the UK following Brexit if they fail to register with the EU settlement scheme before June next year.
Jul 02, 2020

Council persuades High Court judge to quash judgment in default in data breach claim after papers posted to empty office during lockdown

The High Court has quashed a judgment in default awarded against the London Borough of Tower Hamlets because pandemic restrictions had made it impossible to the council to receive the claim concerned.
Jun 29, 2020

High Court gives green light to judicial review challenge over removal of children’s social care safeguards during COVID-19

Children’s rights charity Article 39 has been granted permission for a judicial review of the Department for Education’s removal and dilution of children’s legal protections during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jun 22, 2020

Court of Appeal allows appeal over refusal of application for intermediary assessment

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal from a case management decision in care proceedings refusing an application by a parent with a learning disability for an intermediary assessment and the appointment of an intermediary.
Jun 18, 2020

Charity urges closure of “legal loophole” in housing of vulnerable children

A “legal loophole” has left hundreds of vulnerable children who face homelessness to fend for themselves in unregulated children’s homes, children’s legal charity Just for Kids Law has claimed.
Jun 17, 2020

Pandemic has led to human rights abuses of young people with autism or learning disabilities who have been detained: MPs

The coronavirus crisis has resulted in human rights abuses of young people who are autistic or have learning disabilities and have been detained, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has claimed.
Jun 17, 2020

Judge refuses application by father to adjourn final hearing so it can be held in Preston and not Manchester

A Family Court judge has refused a father’s application for an adjournment of a part-heard final hearing so the proceedings could continue to be heard in Preston rather than moved to Manchester.
Jun 15, 2020

Public Law Working Group makes recommendations for change in approach to special guardianship orders, issues best practice guidance

The Public Law Working Group led by Mr Justice Keehan has issued a series of recommendations for change in relation to special guardianship orders and also best practice guidance on their use.
Jun 15, 2020

Court of Appeal upholds broad discretion of family courts in FGM cases

The Home Secretary has lost an appeal over a ruling that in the exercise of the family court's jurisdiction to make a female genital mutilation (FGM) protection order, the family court is not bound to take a previous assessment or determination of risk of FGM made by the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal in its determination of an asylum application based upon the risk of…
Jun 11, 2020

Family Court judge considers power summarily to dismiss findings sought by local authority

The Family Court will determine allegations made by an unnamed local authority as to how a child came to sustain a head injury, Mr Justice MacDonald has ruled.
Jun 10, 2020

Mother loses appeal over fairness of hearing where her shielding QC cannot be physically present

A mother has lost her appeal over a judge’s decision to continue a fact-finding hearing later this month in care proceedings in circumstances where her leading counsel cannot be physically present because she is required to shield from the COVID-19 infection.
Jun 09, 2020

Childcare lawyer to swap council for independent bar

A childcare lawyer at Reading Borough Council is to join specialist family law set Four Brick Court in August.
Jun 09, 2020

Family President predicts “very radical reduction” in amount of time that courts afford to each hearing

It is unlikely that anything approaching a return to the normal court working environment will be achieved before the end of 2020 "or even the spring of 2021", the President of the Family Division has said.


July 10, 2020

Localism Act power does not enable a local authority to provide health services

In a recent judgment, The Hon. Mr Justice Mostyn described a claim that a local authority could provide tracheostomy care for a child pursuant to the general power of competence in s. 1 of the Localism Act 2011 as ‘misconceived’. Christine Cooper summarises the judgment.
July 07, 2020

Public Law Update: Forced Marriage

Patrick Gilmore talks about forced marriage and the recent decision of Re K, which is an important decision from the President of the Family Division.
July 03, 2020

The weight placed on local authority age assessments

An Upper Tribunal judge recently placed only limited weight placed on a local authority age assessment, and also provided guidance as to the reliability of social media evidence. Siân Davies sets out the key points from the ruling.
July 03, 2020

Children case law update: Assessments of risk of FGM, and hybrid contested hearings

Georgina Dalton reviews recent childcare rulings in relation to the family courts and previous assessments of risk of FGM, and on competing Article 6 and Article 8 rights in a hybrid contested hearing.
June 26, 2020

Child protection, diplomatic immunity and human rights

Hannah Whitehouse summarises two recent decisions by a High Court judge in relation to diplomatic immunity and public law children proceedings that are likely to be significant and have wide-reaching ramifications.
June 22, 2020

Public law update: relinquished babies

In this family law webinar, Michael Jones gives a public law update on babies relinquished for adoption.
June 12, 2020

Childcare proceedings and autistic parents

A recent judgment incorporated a useful overview of how best to approach cases involving a parent with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and the reasonable adjustments which may need to be made, writes Anna Sutcliffe.
June 05, 2020

The Public Law Outline 2014

This Practice Note provides practical guidance on key aspects of procedure and the PLO 2014 for public children proceedings.
June 05, 2020

Children case law update: vaccinations and appeals out of time

Georgina Dalton summarises a recent Court of Appeal ruling on vaccination of children in care, and a High Court decision on an appeal out of time.
May 12, 2020

Care planning, placement and case reviews during COVID-19

Daniel Benjamin assess the impact of the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 on the care planning, placement and case review obligations of local authorities.
April 15, 2020

COVID-19: contact with children in care

Mark Smith explores the legal principles that will give family practitioners their bearings and guide the court’s approach to contact with children in care through the coming weeks and months.
April 03, 2020

Serious allegations of domestic abuse

A recent private law appeal dealt with issues relevant to all Children Act cases where domestic abuse may be involved, writes Anne Chavasse.
March 27, 2020

How not to conduct a placement application

A recent case contains some very useful observations about placement applications and a good analysis of the case law, writes Anne Chavasse.
March 13, 2020

Amendment of LA Plan, post final orders - what can parents do?

Natalie Cross looks at what needs to happen where parents seek to challenge a change to a care plan where the earlier plan (i.e. remaining at home) has already been approved by the court when the final order was made.
February 21, 2020

Parental contact – private v public law proceedings

Lucy Sowden and Shabab Rizvi analyse how the promotion of contact differs whether proceedings are in relation to private law or public law.
February 21, 2020

Placing young people in unregulated accommodation

Local authorities face potential claims for damages where young people have been placed in unregulated accommodation and suffered exploitation. Cynthia Watts sets out how they can minimise the risk.
February 14, 2020

Employees and child protection issues

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently considered whether a probation service officer who failed to disclose a child protection issue was fairly dismissed. Ceri Fuller, Zoë Wigan and Hilary Larter analyse the outcome.
January 17, 2020

Diverse standards of parenting

The Court of Appeal recently rejected an appeal by a 'breatharian' mother against a special guardianship order. Georgina Dalton explains why.
January 15, 2020

New Family Court wellbeing protocol for Birmingham bids to tackle ‘by return, twenty-four-seven, last-minute culture’

The Wellbeing Committee of the Family Court at Birmingham has introduced a protocol this month with a view to professionals, practitioners, court staff and members of the judiciary being able to benefit from increased wellbeing, a reduction in unnecessary stress and the achievement of a better work life balance,
January 10, 2020

Siblings in care proceedings

Kate Clarkson explores the issue of sibling contact in care proceedings and explains why it should be a higher priority.