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Bloomsbury Family Law Briefing: November Teaser

Top five cases

NY (A Child) [2019] UKSC 49 (30 October 2019) – Court of Appeal upheld a judge’s order under the inherent jurisdiction of the court; but said Lord Wilson they should have considered the factors he now suggested at [56]-[63].

G (Children) [2019] EWCA Civ 1779 (9 October 2019) – Mother’s application for discharge of a care order, the six children concerned remained with her against the local authority’s and guardian’s recommendation. Local authority’s appeal allowed.

O (Committal: Legal Representation) [2019] EWCA Civ 1721 (17 October 2019) – Another committal appeal allowed, because proper consideration to mother’s right to legal aid not considered by the court.

Mazhar v The Lord Chancellor [2019] EWCA Civ 1558 (2 October 2019) – The appeal against Senior President of Tribunal’s order was refused but M was given permission to appeal out of time against the original Mostyn J DOL order keeping his HRA 1998 declaration and damages claims live.

Addlesee & Ors v Dentons Europe LLP [2019] EWCA Civ 1600 (2 October 2019) – Legal advice privilege survives the dissolution of a company entitled to it. LAP applies from the date it arises and is only lost by statute; if waived by the client; or the iniquity exemption arises.

Care proceedings: submissions of no case to answer

The responsibility of the family courts – Family Division or Family Court – which try care proceedings (under Children Act 1989, Pt 4) is essentially administrative. Its function is, on application by the administrative body, the local authority, to adjudicate on the welfare of children. This role of a family court can be seen in operation in AA & 25 ors (Children) [2019] EWFC 64 (16 April 2019) (published in October 2019), where Sir Mark Hedley, sitting as a High Court judge, was concerned with a number of parents’ submissions of no case to answer in multiple care proceedings.

The question then arose: can a family court hear and accede to such a submission, as was made by a number of parents’ counsel in the multi-party case. This turns on a case management question which mostly relates (1) to the court’s control of the evidence in a case (Family Procedure Rules 2010, Pt 22); and (2) to the duty of the court to hear all relevant evidence before it makes a decision.

And the answer? In theory, yes, the court can hear a submission of no case to answer; but in practice it will be very rare – as on the submissions in this case – that it will be acceded to.

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

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