Bloomsbury Family Law Briefing: January Teaser


Bell & anor v Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust [2020] EWHC 3274 (Admin), Div Ct (1 December 2020) – When is a child/young person competent to give valid consent to gender change treatment? Guidance given by the court as to the application of the Gillick tests. The court summarised fully the modern law on consent (following Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech AHA [1985] UKHL 7, [1986] 1 AC 112, [1986] 1 FLR 224) at [105] to [120].

M v H (Private Law Vaccination) [2020] EWFC 93, MacDonald J (15 December 2020) – Approval of vaccination applied for by a father over the objection of the children’s mother.

Deutsche Bank AG v Sebastian Holdings Inc & anor (ie Mr Vik) [2020] EWHC 3536 (Comm), Cockerill J (21 December 2020) – SHI/Mr Vik’s application to strike out DB’s contempt application dismissed. DB’s application to amend allowed. Helpful comment on new rules in CPR 1998, Pt 81 (equivalent to FPR 2010, Pt 37).

Crowther v Crowther & ors [2020] EWHC 3555 (Fam), Lieven J (22 December 2020) – Costs of preliminary issue proceedings on the indemnity basis against a wife who alleged fraud, sham etc against her former H.

Re S (A Child) v TikTok Inc and ors [2020] EWHC 3589 (QB), Warby J (30 December 2020)

Successful application by Children’s Commissioner without notice on behalf of a 12-year-old child for the child’s anonymity in a claim against social media.

Re W (Children: Reopening/recusal) [2020] EWCA Civ 1685 (15 December 2020) – Mother’s appeal against a CJ set aside decision where a DJ had after findings made recused herself, and without immediately giving reasons.


What is an issue in law?

Have modern case management practices – especially in the field of financial relief – lead parties away from the common law and into what Sir James Munby P might have called an often lawless (in law and in fact) Alesia (see Richardson v Richardson [2011] EWCA Civ 79, [2011] 2 FLR 244). In different configurations this article applies equally to financial relief, to children and, indeed, to all other areas of civil and criminal proceedings.

In law, an issue is that which the parties agree they cannot agree on. That is why they have gone to court. An issue may be of fact (ie evidence including opinion evidence), of law or of exercise of discretion; or a combination of all three. In family law the discretionary element – rightly or wrongly – is especially important. Only evidence which is sufficiently relevant to one or more of those issues is admissible; or as it was explained by the judgment of Court of Appeal (Lord Greene MR, Goddard and du Parcq LJJ) in Hollington v F Hewthorn & Co Ltd [1943] 1 KB 587 (28 May 1943) at 594: ‘Nowadays, it is relevance… that is the main consideration, and, generally speaking, all evidence that is relevant to an issue is admissible, while all that is irrelevant is excluded’. So how do judges case manage this area of law? How relevant to the issues, and to Family Procedure Rules 2010, Pt 9 (in the case of financial relief), are some of the case management direction which are given?

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

David Burrows

Written by David Burrows

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