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  • The parents had lived together for twelve years. During previous proceedings regarding contact with their two children, the mother had alleged domestic abuse on the father's part, both towards her and towards a subsequent partner. Following a conviction for assault on a third partner, he applied to enforce an order for contact, in response to which the mother raised the issue of his violent behaviour towards multiple partners. The district judge found that there had been domestic abuse, but later recused herself after realising that her son and the mother were members of the same sports club. The judge then agreed to re-open the district judge's earlier findings of fact on the basis of apparent bias. The mother appealed with regard to the recusal and the decision to re-open the findings. Peter Jackson LJ found that the judge's decision had been both wrong and unfair. The district judge had not discovered that her son and the mother knew each other until months after her findings of fact had been made. King and Phillips LJJ agreed. The father's application was dismissed, and the proceedings were remitted for the welfare decision to be taken on the basis of the district judge's findings of fact by another circuit judge. Judgment, 17/12/2020, free
  • The seven-year-old boy had dual Dutch and French nationality, and was agreed to be habitually resident in England and Wales with his mother. The French father, living in a non-Hague Convention country, sought a detailed order regulating his time with his son, and giving him permission to take the boy out of England and Wales on trips, including to his present country of residence. The mother had not engaged with proceedings or the father's solicitors, citing illness. HHJ Corbett, sitting as a s 9(1) deputy judge of the High Court, found that the mother had ignored the court proceedings, hoping that they would go away, but he had heard from her in detail and at length at the hearing. He was satisfied that each parent had had a fair trial in accordance with Article 6, and that the orders he would make were necessary and proportionate interferences with their Article 8 rights. He decided upon the dates which the son would spend with the father. As to international travel, there was in his judgment no risk of abduction, but the father would be directed to lodge a bond with his solicitors, to be paid to the mother if necessary to fund her legal costs of securing a return. The mother was ordered to respond to reasonable requests from the father regarding the son within 48 hours, and to give him 14 days' notice of any overseas travel plans. Judgment, 28/11/2020, free
  • The three-year-old daughter was a British citizen who had lived with the maternal grandmother in India since 2018, after the mother returned to England without her. The father had applied for summary return under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court. The mother had applied for a specific issue order for "permission to change jurisdiction of the child", which Mostyn J took to be an application for a declaration that the child was habitually resident in India. A preliminary issue arose regarding whether the court had jurisdiction in the case. Mostyn J found as a fact that the daughter was now habitually resident in India and thus there was no jurisdiction in this case under Brussels II article 8. He also found as a fact that at no time up to 26 August 2020 had the mother unequivocally accepted that the English court had jurisdiction to deal with parental responsibility issues concerning her daughter. In his judgment, it would be wholly unprincipled, and a wrong exercise of the court's powers, for him to make orders on the father's application pursuant to the High Court's inherent powers in circumstances where the father had not established jurisdiction under either Brussels II or sections 1–3 of the Family Law Act 1986. His judgment was that the jurisdiction of the court depended on the territorial reach of Brussels II article 10. A question was referred to the Court of Justice for an urgent preliminary ruling: "Does Article 10 of Brussels 2 retain jurisdiction, without limit of time, in a member state if a child habitually resident in that member state was wrongfully removed to (or retained in) a non-member state where she, following such removal (or retention), in due course became habitually resident?" Pending receipt of the answer to the question the proceedings would be stayed. Judgment, 09/11/2020, free
  • The mother was Slovakian, the father British Algerian. Their one-year-old daughter was born in England. Following the parents' separation, the mother wished to relocate the daughter from England to Slovakia, which the father opposed. Each parent alleged abusive behaviour on the part of the other, both during the relationship and during handovers for contact. Poole J found the evidence of the mother's family more helpful that of the father's family. His conclusion was that the daughter's welfare would be best served by granting the mother's application. Neither the granting nor the refusal of permission to relocate would, in his judgment, involve a disproportionate interference with the Article 8 rights of either parent. The daughter would reside with the mother and the mother would have permission to relocate to Slovakia. Contact with the father would take place as the father proposed until relocation. After relocation contact would be as the mother had proposed. Judgment, 01/11/2020, free
  • An appeal by the father against an order granting permission for the mother to remove their two daughters permanently from the jurisdiction of England and Wales to live in Hong Kong, where both parents had been born. He appealed on the grounds that the judge had (a) failed to adjourn the final hearing and had instead proceeded by remote video hearing; (b) made a decision which was wrong and contrary to the best interests of the children; (c) failed to provide for a mid-week overnight visit with the father in term times; and (d) been wrong not to order the mother to ensure that the children had contact with the father when he was able to travel to Hong Kong. Ground (a) was withdrawn. As to ground (b), Knowles J, while recognising that the judgment had been made ex tempore, found that the judge had not undertaken an analysis of the welfare factors relating to each of the options, such as the possibility of the children remaining in the UK. Consideration of the contact arrangements between the father and the children on relocation to Hong Kong was absent from the judge's analysis. The father's appeal was allowed, and the children would remain in the United Kingdom until the rehearing had taken place, with contact continuing as previously ordered. Judgment, 28/09/2020, free

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Latest training

  • Recording of webinar broadcast live on 23 February 2017. Webcast, 02/03/2017, members only
  • In this webcast, which was recorded on 1 September 2016, Charlotte Trace, barrister at 29 Bedford Row, takes us through how to make private law Children Act applications, principally applications under section 8 of the Act (namely for contact, residence, specific issue and prohibited steps orders) and applications under section 11 for contact activity directions and conditions, and for enforcement. Webcast, 02/09/2016, members only
  • Piers Pressdee QC of 29 Bedford Row reviews the major developments within the private children law field in the last year. He focusses on the case-law, identifying the key decisions and seeking to set that case-law within context. Webcast, 24/02/2016, members only
  • Webinar recorded on 15 January 2015. Dafydd Griffiths of 29 Bedford Row reviews the private children law cases of 2014 and picks out some themes to look out for in 2015. Webcast, 15/01/2015, members only
  • Webcast on recent developments in private children law. Webcast, 16/10/2013, members only


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