Family Law

Family Law Newsletter #1121.03.18

Local news

The West Yorkshire Problem Solving Court pilot has been launched. West Yorkshire local authorities will be selecting appropriate cases to enter into the pilot scheme, with a view to providing better support to families. Practitoners have been invited to a number of information Q & A sessions for further information.

Practice Guidance

Practice Guidance: Case Management and Mediation of International Child Abduction Proceedings issued, on 13 March 2018, together with information sheet.

The Child Abduction Mediation Scheme is anticipated to commence w/c 16 April 2018.

Guidance [PDF] & Information Sheet [PDF]

Statute Updates

The Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill is scheduled to receive its third reading in the House of Lords on 13 March and the second reading debate in the Commons is due for 19 March 2018.

Summary of all Family Law Bills going through Parliament

Case Updates

Re G (A child) [2018] EWCA Civ 305

Court of Appeal: Lady Justice King, Lord Justice Moylan and Lord Justice Peter Jackson

This appeal concerned an order for the parents of a donor of artificial insemination to spend time with a four-year-old child.

The parents had met in 2007 and became civil partners in 2010. They had two sons, both born by artificial insemination.

A was born in 2012, and his donor was the applicant in the private law proceedings,who had had contact regularly and was described as a familiar figure in the child’s life.

Contact between the child and donor had ceased for a time, but had subsequently recommenced and a CAO had been granted. The donor’s parents were not included in the arrangements. The Judge at first instance had found that they should be permitted to join the contact on a limited basis.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of the parents, and found that the Judge had been right to include the donor’s parents in the contact in the way she had.


A v B [2018] EWHC 328 (Fam)

High Court: Family Division, Mrs Justice Theis

Appeal against the refusal of permission to the mother to relocate her child to Poland, her country of origin, along with her new partner.

Instead a child arrangements order dividing the child’s time between his parents was made.

Theis J found that the Recorder failed to properly evaluate the impact on the mother, and thereby T, of the application being refused. Although the Recorder referred to the mother being ‘devastated’ and ‘extremely upset’, he fell into error as he failed to properly consider what lay behind those words. The judgment failed to deal with the evidence about the effect of the mother’s sister moving, the consequent loss to T of his relationship with his cousin, the impact on the mother’s ability to earn a living if she remained here, her inability to pursue her relationship with her partner and her partner’s legitimate reasons for being unable to move here. No analysis was taken on how these factors would impact on the mother, and in turn, her ability to care for T. Failure to undertake this analysis fatally undermined the decision, as it did not properly weigh in the balance a relevant consideration that could have had an impact on the overall welfare assessment and the decision the court was obliged to undertake.

Furthermore, the Recorder had failed to consider the mother’s acceptance of the expert conclusions and the findings against her were not made out.

Theis J found that the Recorder’s reasoning in support of his decision to refuse the application to relocate and determining the shared care arrangement could not stand.

The case was remitted for rehearing.