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. Read more
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  NEWS

Mar 26, 2020

High Court judge highlights clash between diplomatic immunity and child protection

A Family Court case has highlighted a “virtually insoluble dilemma” between diplomatic immunity and child protection, leading Mr Justice Mostyn to call for an amendment to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Mar 23, 2020

Judiciary issues guidance as remote hearings to become the norm immediately in Family Court

it should be possible to continue substantially the full operation of the family justice system, albeit on a remote access basis, notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, guidance produced by the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has said.
Mar 19, 2020

Family President issues national guidance for Family Court and High Court Family Division

The President of the Family Division has published national guidance on Covid-19 that should be followed with immediate effect by all levels of the Family Court and the High Court Family Division.
Mar 19, 2020

Lord Chief Justice sets out default position for hearings in civil and family cases, issues outline guidance to judges

The default position now in all jurisdictions must be that hearings should be conducted with one, more than one or all participants attending remotely, the Lord Chief Justice has said in a message to judges in the civil and family courts about the impact of the coronavirus.
Mar 18, 2020

Mother sends letter before action to government over coronavirus and strategy for needs of younger disabled people, lack of testing of health and social care workers

Claimant law firm Simpson Millar has sent a letter before action on behalf of the mother of a child with a number of complex health and learning disabilities calling on the UK government to confirm its strategy for “meeting the needs of younger disabled people (children and working age adults) in the context of the current pandemic”.
Mar 17, 2020

Council defends challenge over provision of secure accommodation for children at risk of being detained by police

Judges have dismissed a legal challenge over an alleged systemic failure by a London council to provide adequate secure accommodation for children at risk of being detained in police cells in circumstances where normal local authority accommodation would be unsuitable to meet the risks they pose to the general public.
Mar 11, 2020

Fourteen elects O’Donovan and Glaser as joint head of chambers

Family law set Fourteen Chambers has elected Ronan O'Donovan and Michael Glaser QC as joint heads of Chambers.
Mar 05, 2020

Judge gives guidance to social workers drawn into disputes between parents

A Family Court judge has made recommendations on social work practice following a case in which a mother falsely accused the fathers of her two children of harming them.
Mar 02, 2020

Guardian wins appeal over decision by judge not to make child assessment order in case where father was convicted of terrorism offences

A Children’s Guardian has won an appeal, brought with the backing of a local authority, over a judge’s decision not to make a child assessment order in a case where the father had been convicted of terrorism offences.
Feb 28, 2020

Court of Appeal rejects appeal by council over ruling reuniting mother and child in different residential unit

A local authority has failed in an appeal over a judge’s decision that a mother and child should be reunited in a different residential unit.

  FEATURES AND ANALYSIS

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.
January 10, 2020

Placement of looked after English children in Scotland

Justin Gray provides an analysis of the current law on placement of looked after English children in Scotland that will be of interest to child care lawyers and solicitors, including those acting for local authorities.

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  MORE NEWS

Feb 24, 2020

Judiciary to design new online consent course for family judges

The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary is to prepare an online resource for family judges dealing with issues of consent and stereotypes in sexual cases.
Feb 20, 2020

Lawyers and women’s rights charities call for family court judge's cases to be reviewed

Over 130 family lawyers and women’s rights groups have called for Judge Tolson's continuing cases to be reviewed, following Justice Russell’s condemnation of the family court judge’s treatment of an allegation of sexual assault in a child protection fact-finding trial last month.
Feb 13, 2020

Judge rules against Jehovah's Witnesses over care proceedings and religious duty of confidentiality

The rights of children outweigh those of confidentiality when disclosures of information about allegations of abuse are made to ministers of religion, the High Court has ruled.
Feb 10, 2020

Court of Appeal orders council to pay £12k costs contribution after great-aunt wins appeal over care and placement orders

The Court of Appeal has ordered a local authority to make a contribution of £12,000 towards the costs of a great-aunt who won an appeal from care and placement orders made by a judge at the conclusion of proceedings concerning a two-year-old boy, J.
Feb 07, 2020

Council to offer child protection specific training contract

Legal Services Lincolnshire has introduced a bespoke trainee solicitor contract intended to grow its own child protection lawyer, as part of a new recruitment and retention strategy.
Feb 04, 2020

President in call for evidence as part of Transparency Review in Family Court

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has issued a call for evidence as part of the Family Court's ‘Transparency Review’.
Feb 04, 2020

Ex-social worker fined for unlawfully disclosing personal data

A former social worker has been prosecuted for passing the personal information of service users to a third party provider for local authority young person placements.
Jan 29, 2020

Court of Appeal sets out principles for deciding whether father or relative should be informed of existence of child who might be adopted

The Court of Appeal has set out the principles governing decisions – whether by local authorities as adoption agencies or by the court – as to whether a putative father or a relative should be informed of the existence of a child who might be adopted.
Jan 24, 2020

Abbreviated age assessment of Afghan national carried out by council was unlawful, High Court rules

A council’s assessment of an Afghan national’s age, based on his physical appearance and demeanour, was unlawful because the abbreviated assessment undertaken failed to adequately acknowledge the potential margin for error and give him the corresponding benefit of the doubt, a High Court judge has found.
Jan 23, 2020

Ombudsman hits out at council for making “serious and unsubstantiated allegations” about asylum seeker

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has accused a council of making “serious and unsubstantiated allegations” about a vulnerable, asylum-seeking mother.
Jan 23, 2020

Court of Appeal sets aside adoption order after judge prematurely ruled out birth family placement

The Court of Appeal has set aside an adoption order on the grounds that it had been premature for judge to rule out the possibility of a birth family placement for child B.
Jan 17, 2020

Ombudsman reminds councils of their foster carer school transport duties

Councils across England are being reminded about the financial support they must provide to foster carers’ school transport expenses following an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman into Wolverhampton council.
Jan 17, 2020

Ombudsman issues further report after Medway council fails to implement Ombudsman's recommendations

The Local Government Ombudsman has issued a rare further report stating their recommendations were not implemented by Medway Council and the correct process to disagree with the recommendations was not followed.
Jan 16, 2020

Government updates advice on adoption, calls on councils to ensure social workers "understand what the law says" on who can adopt

The Department for Education has called on directors of children’s services to review the processes for recruiting adopters to ensure their councils are compliant with the legislative framework on who can adopt.
Jan 16, 2020

Welsh councillor suspended for four months for conduct breaches

Cardiff Council has handed a councillor a four months suspension after an investigation by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Jan 15, 2020

Victims of child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester to have cases newly investigated after damning report

A major criminal investigation undertaken from 2004 to 2005 that uncovered the systematic exploitation of looked after children mainly in the care system in the city of Manchester, led to very few positive criminal justice outcomes, an independent review has found.
Jan 09, 2020

Councils warn of "immense pressure" as number of children in care reaches record level

The number of children in care has risen by 28% in the past decade pushing the system to breaking point, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.
Jan 06, 2020

Ministry to provide £165m funding for Troubled Families programme in 2020/21

The Troubled Families programme, which involves work with the whole family unit across local services, is to receive up to £165m in new funding, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.
Dec 30, 2019

Council wins appeal over refusal by judge of application for interim care order

A local authority has won an appeal over a Family Court judge’s refusal of its application for interim care orders for two children.
Dec 19, 2019

Council refused permission to challenge Ombudsman findings on payment of special guardians

A High Court judge has refused to grant Rochdale Council permission to challenge the findings of a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman on the way it pays special guardians.
Dec 19, 2019

Top judge warns of “unremitting pressure of work in the Family Court”

Judges, lawyers and others in the family justice system are “running flat out up a down escalator which, despite our efforts, is outpacing us”, the President of the Family Division has warned.
Dec 16, 2019

Council criticised in dispute over designated local authority for care proceedings

A Court of Appeal judge has criticised Wakefield Council for trying to pass responsibility for a child protection case onto Brighton & Hove City Council, whose involvement she described as “tangential at best”.
Dec 13, 2019

Council acted unlawfully when assessing whether applicant was 'former relevant child'

The High Court has ruled that the London Borough of Ealing acted unlawfully in its assessment of whether applicant AB was a ‘former relevant child’ within the meaning of section 23C of the Children Act 1989.
Dec 12, 2019

Guidelines to be developed on removal of newborn babies amid concerns over inconsistent practice, misunderstandings of legal framework

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (Nuffield FJO) is to develop the first national, evidence-informed good practice guidelines for health and social work professionals involved in the process of removing newborn babies from their mother at birth for child protection reasons.
Dec 10, 2019

High Court to hear argument on lawfulness of short form and visual age assessments

A High Court judge will today (10 November) consider the lawfulness of short form and visual age assessments in a case brought by the Refugee Council on behalf of the claimant.

  MORE FEATURES

December 20, 2019

Assumption of responsibility

Andrew Warnock QC asks the question many involved with the public sector have been asking since the Supreme Court ruling in Poole v GN – when does an 'Assumption of Responsibility' arise?
December 20, 2019

FGM protection orders and the asylum jurisdiction

Srishti Suresh analyses an important recent decision from the President of the Family Division on the relationship between the family courts and the immigration jurisdiction.
December 13, 2019

The Court of Appeal on 'secure accommodation'

The Court of Appeal last month handed down a significant judgment on 'secure accommodation'. Tom Harrill sets out the main points.
November 29, 2019

Fair hearings in the Family Courts

A 'fair hearing' in the family court includes the judge creating the appropriate atmosphere. Maria Scotland analyses a recent case where a judge was criticised for holding a hearing that was procedurally unfair.
November 22, 2019

Vulnerable witnesses and parties in the Family Courts

Natalie Cross summarises important guidance on the approach to be taken to vulnerable witnesses and parties in the Family Courts.
November 15, 2019

Failure to protect

The Court of Appeal has provided some useful guidance on what might or might not constitute “failure to protect” when a child had been injured by another, writes Sarah Fahy.
October 25, 2019

Public law children cases: limits to the role of Cafcass

The High Court has recently considered the parameters of Cafcass' functions, and a dispute between German nationals over the mother's move to the UK to live permanently. Georgina Dalton analyses the rulings.
October 18, 2019

Public law children cases: improving parental situations, robust case management and judicial pressure

Georgina Dalton rounds up the latest children law cases, including rulings on improvements to parents' situations, unfair judicial pressure, and deprivations of liberty of 16-17 year olds.
October 11, 2019

Public law children cases: FGM protection and travel overseas, and reopening findings of fact

In an update on public law children cases, Georgina Dalton examines rulings on FGM protection and reopening findings of fact.
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October 04, 2019

Exploring the limits of public authority’s liability for children

Duncan Fairgrieve and Jim Duffy, barristers at 1 Crown Office Row, examine the Supreme Court’s decision in Poole Borough Council v GN and another that the respondent local authority did not owe a common law duty of care to exercise its functions under the Children Act 1989 to protect the appellants, who were children of a family which it had housed, from harm at the hands of anti-social…
September 26, 2019

Re D – the Supreme Court, 16/17 year olds and confinement

The Supreme Court has handed down a much-anticipated judgment on 16-17 year olds, deprivations of liberty and parental consent. Alex Ruck Keene explains the ruling and sets out some practical implications.
August 23, 2019

Family proceedings and the police

The “long arm” of the police - how “confidential” are family proceedings? “Not very” seems to be the answer in a recent Court of Appeal decision, writes Adam Smith.
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August 16, 2019

Judicial review challenge over closure of children’s centres defeated by local authority

The case R (on the application of L, an infant (by his mother and litigation friend)) v Buckinghamshire County Council represents the first time when the High Court considered in detail the meaning of the ‘sufficiency duty’ in section 5A of the Childcare Act 2006 (ChA 2006) in the context of whether a council’s consultation on the closure of a number of children’s centres was unlawful or not.…
August 16, 2019

Accommodation under s20 Children Act and the wishes of the child

The Royal Borough of Greenwich recently successfully defended a Children Act judicial review. Tony Harrop-Griffiths explains how.
August 16, 2019

Experts in Human Rights Act claims

Are human rights experts necessary in Human Rights Act claims? David Maggs examines the status of their evidence.
August 09, 2019

Crisis, Not Crisis?

Phil Booth summarises a Family Division working party's interim recommendations relating to public law and its comments on the role of local authority lawyers.
July 26, 2019

Committal applications in family proceedings

Phil Booth addresses apparent defects in the standard form used in committal proceedings and the factors that may apply if the court is invited to exercise its discretion to waive such defects.
July 05, 2019

NAI - who should be in the pool of perpetrators?

Tom Harrill considers a recent Court of Appeal ruling on who should be included in a pool of perpetrators.
June 28, 2019

Special Guardianship – Interim Guidance

Elisabeth Richards considers the recent interim guidance from the Family Justice Council on the management of special guardianship orders.
June 21, 2019

Impasse! Where the court and the local authority disagree on the care plan

The Court of Appeal has recently revisited the problem of where the court and the local authority disagree on the care plan. Rebecca Cross examines the judgments.