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Bloomsbury Family Law Briefing: July Teaser

Top five cases

Poole Borough Council v GN and anor [2019] UKSC 25 (6 June 2019) – The local authority did not owe a duty of care to two children, CN and GN, who it failed to re-house, despite the fact that they were suffering abuse from their neighbours.

Woodward & Anor v Phoenix Healthcare Distribution Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 985 (12 June 2019) – Solicitors were under no duty to give other party(ies) advice (eg where they had wrongly overlooked correct basis for service).

A City Council v LS & Ors (Secure Accommodation Inherent Jurisdiction) [2019] EWHC 1384 (Fam) (4 June 2019), MacDonald J – The High Court has no power in its inherent jurisdiction to authorise the placement in secure accommodation of a 17-year-old who is not looked after by the local authority applicant.

M (Deprivation of Liberty in Scotland) [2019] EWHC 1510 (Fam) (17 June 2019), MacDonald J (also Salford CC v M) – Exercise of inherent jurisdiction: interim order for adjournment of deprivation of liberty for a child (13), pending the local authority making an application in Scotland for the child to remain there.

DF v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and JG (CSM) (Child support - calculation of income) [2019] UKUT 161 (AAC) (14 May 2019), UT Judge Wikeley – Appeal allowed: there was an error of fact by FTT – which amounted to an error of law – as to NRP’s financial position in the original FTT decision.

Domestic abuse and harassment: towards a definition…

A draft domestic abuse bill is suspended in the parliamentary consultative interstices after it was put out for consultation jointly by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice earlier this year (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/domestic-abuse-consultation-response-and-draft-bill) (the ‘draft bill’)). Meanwhile, in early 2018 a practice direction (‘PD12J’) as part of the children proceedings (Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), Part 12) was up-dated. It provides parties with a revised definition of domestic abuse. The bill and practice direction each contain a lengthy (and different) definition of ‘domestic abuse’. No definition akin to PD12J, nor indeed any definition of domestic abuse at all, is set out formally in the Family Procedure Rules 2010 themselves.

Statutory definition of domestic abuse is brief. The question which this article addresses is whether something like the present economical statutory definition is best; or is a more extensive definition – and one enshrined in statute – needed (as proposed by the draft bill)? As is shown in the article, recent examples of domestic abuse have been considered by the courts; and these might not have been comprised within any of the wider definitions referred to in the article.

The Family Law Briefing is part of the Bloomsbury Law Online Service. The full briefing is available here.

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