Family courts and public bodies as non-parties
How can the family courts deal with public bodies as non-parties which will not assist with the process of child protection in care proceedings? As a coda to particular care proceedings, Re H (Children)  EWFC 61, Sir James Munby P (following his retirement as President of the Family Division and sitting as a High Court judge) was asked by a local authority to consider this question. Sir James considered the witness summons procedure (FPR 2010, r 24.2) – the normal means for non-parties to produce documents into civil proceedings – alongside other means to compel production.
In the report he reviewed the steps which a local authority can take where delays are caused if public bodies, such as police or housing departments, do not help family courts in their efforts to serve the best interests of children. He expresses his regret that the 2013 Protocol and Good Practice Model Disclosure of information in cases of alleged child abuse and linked criminal and care directions hearings is not working better. The article concludes by posing the question: if witness summonses to produce documents are ineffective, can a parallel judicial review application be used – if necessary – to compel public bodies to produce documents promptly into the children proceedings.
Top five cases: October 2018
Re A (A Child)  EWCA Civ 2240 (16 October 2018) – special guardianship order appeal allowed, for a dual nationality (British/Ghanaian) child: between a Ghanaian family and a UK foster mother living near his British family.
KBH & ors (forced marriage protection orders)  EWHC 2611 (Fam) (28 September 2018) – Holman J refused to make a forced marriage protection order for mature children living in Somalia on application of a UK solicitor on urging of the Forced Marriage Unit.
Jay v Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 2620 (Fam) (8 October 2018) – in an appeal under Gender Recognition Act 2004 Baker LJ sitting as a High Court judge dealt with procedural issues under s 8 and the receiving of further evidence.
Re T (A Child)  EWCA Civ 2136 (4 October 2018) – unsuccessful appeal against the judge’s use of the inherent jurisdiction to make a secure accommodation order: this was a permissible use of the judge’s powers.
ABC & Ors v Telegraph Media Group Ltd  EWCA Civ 2329 (23 October 2018) – appeal allowed for interim reporting restrictions injunction to protect appellant’s identity; full consideration of meaning of ‘likely’ in Human Rights Act 1998 s 12(3) in the context of freedom of expression (European Convention 1950 Art 3). (Later intervention of Peter Hain under ‘parliamentary privilege’ to revel name of one of the appellants (Philip Green) may make further proceedings redundant.)
The Family Law Briefing is part of the Bloomsbury Law Online Service. The full briefing is available here.