Vaccinations for children

When it comes to vaccinations for children, what happens when there is disagreement either between parents or between parents and the local authority? Sophia Stapleton looks at the legal background. Read more
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Dec 03, 2020

Court of Appeal upholds adoption after rare hearing of substantive application for revocation

The Court of Appeal has turned down a rare case in which heard an application by a mother for the revocation of adoption orders for her three children.
Dec 02, 2020

Children’s Commissioner for England hits out at number of extremely vulnerable children in unregulated settings

The Children’s Commissioner for England has expressed concern at evidence of a growing number of children who are locked up but who do not appear in any official statistics and who are not living in places designed to hold children securely.
Dec 02, 2020

MoJ to open three more ‘Nightingale’ courtrooms handling family cases at Westminster HQ

The Ministry of Justice is to open three additional ‘Nightingale' courtrooms at its headquarters that will handle family cases until summer 2021.
Dec 01, 2020

Charity hails amendment that means in-person contact to facilitate kinship care not prohibited by lockdown restrictions

The Family Rights Group, which last month sent a pre-action letter to the Department of Health and Social Care over the lack in lockdown restrictions of an exemption for children to meet potential kinship carers, has welcomed changes to new Covid regulations that come into force tomorrow (2 December).
Dec 01, 2020

Family President introduces requirement for court to notify Ofsted of unregistered placements where inherent jurisdiction used to authorise deprivation of liberty of child

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has amended the practice guidance he issued in November 2019 explaining the registration and regulation structure applicable in England and, separately, in Wales for residential care facilities for children and young people.
Nov 30, 2020

Court of Appeal highlights need for early legal advice where adoption placements near point of breakdown

The first reported occasion on which the courts have had to consider whether prospective adopters gave notice of their wish to return the child highlights the need for early legal advice, the Court of Appeal has said.
Nov 30, 2020

Cafcass to prioritise children most in need in South Yorkshire and Humber as caseloads soar in pandemic

Cafcass has made the decision to allocate only the highest priority work in South Yorkshire and Humber, amid concerns at a high number of open active cases, finite staffing capacity and staff absence relating to Covid-19.
Nov 26, 2020

Judge issues ruling on deprivation of liberty for boy with behavioural problems to cover move to new residential school

Mrs Justice Knowles has issued a short judgment explaining how she came to agree a deprivation of liberty order against a 14-year-old boy with behavioural problems who was to be moved to a residential school.
Nov 24, 2020

Court of Appeal rules Education Secretary acted unlawfully in failing to consult Children's Commissioner and others before relaxing safeguards for children in care during pandemic

The Education Secretary acted unlawfully by failing to consult the Children's Commissioner for England and other bodies representing the rights of children in care before introducing regulations that made a range of temporary amendments to ten statutory instruments governing the children's social care system, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Nov 24, 2020

Judge issues second ruling sharply criticising lack of suitable regulated placement for vulnerable 16-year-old woman with complex needs

A High Court judge has sent a second judgment in less than a month – this time “more in exasperated hope than expectation” – to the Children’s Commissioner for England, the Secretary of State for Education, the Minister for Children and others over the lack of regulated accommodation for vulnerable children.


November 27, 2020

Can foster carers be employees?

Mark Radford looks at the question of whether or not foster carers can be employees following a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case.
November 20, 2020

Prospective adopters and return of the child to the local authority

Francesca Massarella examines a recent mandatory injunction application by prospective adopters for the return of one sibling back to their care pursuant to the Human Rights Act 1998.
October 22, 2020

Children 'beyond parental control' and deprivations of liberty

Francesca Massarella reports on a case which considered when it is necessary to deprive a child’s liberty because they are ‘beyond parental control’ in the context of s.31(2) Children Act 1989.
September 24, 2020

Who decides who decides? Withdrawal of care proceedings

Where a local authority determines that the medical evidence falls short of proving that an injury to a child was deliberately inflicted, in what circumstances should it be allowed to withdraw its application? Laura Vickers reports.
September 24, 2020

Striking out failure to remove claims

Steven Ford QC, Andrea Ward and Joanne Kingsland report on a council's successful bid to secure a strike out, following the Supreme Court ruling in CN & GN v Poole, of a 'failure to remove' claim.
September 17, 2020

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.
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.

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Nov 23, 2020

Cafcass warns it is close to triggering prioritisation protocol after case rise in South Yorkshire and Humberside

Cafcass has warned that, following a rise in open active cases, it is close to triggering the use of its prioritisation protocol in the region that includes South Yorkshire and Humberside.
Nov 23, 2020

Coram Chambers names public law barristers as joint heads of chambers

Coram Chambers has appointed Mark Twomey QC and Alison Easton as its new Joint Heads of Chambers.
Nov 23, 2020

42 Bedford Row bolsters public law children and housing teams

42 Bedford Row has bolstered its public law children and housing teams with the arrival of two barristers.
Nov 20, 2020

Regulator of health and care professions to procure £5.9m legal services panel

The Health and Care Professions Council has given notice of its intention to procure a three-lot legal services panel worth an estimated £5.9m.
Nov 18, 2020

Top family judge calls for renewed focus on wellbeing amid reports of high level of exhaustion in judiciary, professions

The President of the Family Division has called for a redoubling of the focus on wellbeing, warning that “new-found technological facilities can easily go to increase the burden of work, and consequent stress, rather than reduce it”.
Nov 13, 2020

Court of Appeal orders fresh welfare hearing over failure of judge to sufficiently examine risk of harm to children when making placement order

The Court of Appeal has ordered a fresh welfare hearing in a case where a Family Division judge decided that three children should be placed for adoption after he found, amongst other things, a major stumbling block to be the parents' irrational and extreme over-reaction to the involvement of professionals in their lives and those of their children, most especially social workers.
Nov 11, 2020

Top family judge publishes guidance on protection of domestic abuse victims in remote and hybrid hearings

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has published guidance on the need to protect victims of domestic abuse in remote and hybrid hearings.
Nov 05, 2020

Working group makes 22 recommendations for tackling reduction in availability of medical experts in family courts

The Working Group on Medical Experts in the Family Courts chaired by Mr Justice Williams has made 22 recommendations in its final report on how to tackle the shortage of available witnesses.
Oct 29, 2020

Local authority overcomes "high hurdle" to secure rehearing over injury to two-year-old girl

A judge’s decision in a case concerning an injured child was “unsustainable” and the matter must be heard again, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Oct 27, 2020

Professionals say system of remote hearings in family justice working smoothly, but parents much less positive: report

Most professionals involved in the family justice system feel that things are working smoothly either all of the time or some of the time, a follow-up report by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO) into the use of remote hearings has found.
Oct 27, 2020

Fourth High Court judge this year hits out at lack of secure accommodation for vulnerable young person

A fourth High Court judge this year has sent a copy of their judgment to the Secretary of State for Education in a case concerning the lack of secure accommodation for a vulnerable young person.
Oct 22, 2020

Tributes paid to former 4 Brick Court head of chambers and leading public law children’s barrister

Tributes have been paid to a leading public law children’s barrister and ex-Head of Chambers at 4 Brick Court, who passed away this week.
Oct 20, 2020

Law Society continues to back remote hearings in family cases, but expresses concern about their use in more complex cases

The Law Society has said that, as the rate of COVID-19 infections continues to increase across England and Wales and the safety implications connected with conducting face to face hearings remain significant, it still believes proceeding with remote hearings is “usually better than delaying them”.
Oct 20, 2020

High Court judge adds voice to calls for clearer framework for placing English children in Scottish residential care homes on interim basis

There is an increasingly pressing need for a clear and coherent statutory or regulatory framework for achieving intra-jurisdictional recognition and enforcement of interim public law orders within the UK, a High Court judge has said.
Oct 07, 2020

Regulator of social workers suspends voluntary removal process, instructs external counsel to advise

Social Work England has suspended a process of accepted disposal where social workers subject to fitness to practice proceedings could voluntarily retire from its register.
Oct 02, 2020

Grandmother wins appeal over whether change of circumstances meant she could apply for revocation of placement order

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by a grandmother (“Mrs B”) against an order refusing her permission to apply to revoke a placement order made in earlier proceedings in respect of her grandson.
Sep 30, 2020

Father jailed after failing to return children to England and Wales

A man has been jailed for 18 months for failing to return his children to the jurisdiction after an application by Lancashire County Council.
Sep 29, 2020

Tenth Family, Drug and Alcohol Court launched in Midlands

The UK’s 10th Family, Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) has been launched this week in the Midlands.
Sep 28, 2020

Family Court statistics reveal impact of Covid-19 as fewer care cases disposed of within 26-week timeframe, but latest data suggests return to pre-pandemic levels

The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 36 weeks in April to June 2020­­­­, up three weeks from the same quarter in 2019, as the impact of COVID-19 was felt on family court activity.
Sep 21, 2020

Judge orders placement for adoption for three children amid extreme over-reaction of parents to involvement of professionals

A High Court judge has ordered that three children be placed for adoption after calling their mother “the most egregious liar I have ever encountered”.
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.


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.
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.