Category Archives: Family Proceedings

There is a hierarchy of the Judicial System in England. Family proceedings are in the Magistrate’s Court and can be allocated to County Court Family Division – civil process in law. Information which is useful during Family Proceedings will be catagorized here

Don’t Fuck Up Your Children

Image of LJ Wall
Lord Justice Wall to Retire December 2012

In one of the sternest judicial warnings to warring parents I have come across, Lord Justice Wall (left) quoted from Philip Larkin in the case of R (A Child), Re [2009] EWCA Civ 358 yesterday. The case involved a highly acrimonious residence application, part of a dispute between the parents that had been on-going since they separated in 2003. Judge Everall QC at Luton County Court had found that it was no longer possible for the parents and the child to work together, and so made a residence order in favour of the paternal grandparents. The mother’s appeal against that order was granted but Lord Justice Wall in the Court of Appeal gave a warning to the parents of the serious harm that their actions were causing to their child. “I hope this case has given the mother a fright. I hope it has also given the father a fright.” He said. “They have come within a whisker of losing their child.” In a postscript to his judgment he then quoted from Larkin’s poem This Be The Verse:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.

These four lines” he said “seem to me to give a clear warning to parents who, post separation, continue to fight the battles of the past, and show each other no respect.”

Let us hope that more parents heed the warning.

Posted by John Bolch at 11:56 AM

Retirement of the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice for England and Wales

Menu | Home | News | Judicial appointments

Retirement of the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice for England and Wales
Friday, 28 September 2012

Sir Nicholas Wall will retire as the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice for England and Wales on 1 December 2012 on grounds of ill health.
Notes to editors

Sir Nicholas (Peter Rathbone) Wall (67) was called to the Bar (G) in 1969. He took silk in 1988 and became a Bencher in 1993. He was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1988 and a Recorder in 1990. He was appointed a High Court Judge (Family Division) in 1993 and to the Court of Appeal and Privy Council in 2004.
He was a Judge of the Employment Appeal Tribunal from 2001 to 2003; a Judge of the Administrative Court from 2003 to 2004. He was a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Board on Family Law, 1997 to 2001 (Chairman of the Children Act Sub-Committee, 1998 to 2001). Sir Nicholas was appointed as the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice for England and Wales on 13 April 2010.

(to view this article directly from it’s source, please click the hyper-link below)

ADOPTIONS (from care) Rise by 12%

Family Law Weekly > Home > News

Children adopted from care numbers rise by 12% in the last year

BAAF calls for focus on increasing the number of placements from care

Latest figures released by the Department for Education show that there were 67,050 looked after children at 31 March 2012, an increase of 2 per cent compared to 31 March 2011 and an increase of 13 per cent compared to 31 March 2008.

There were 28,220 children who started to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2012.

This represents an increase of 3 per cent from the previous year’s figure of 27,500 and an increase of 21 per cent from 2008. There were 27,350 children who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2012. This is a small increase of 1 per cent from 2011 and an increase of 12 per cent from 2008.

There were 3,450 looked after children adopted during the year ending 31 March 2012. This was the highest figure since 2007 and an increase of 12 per cent from the 2011 figure.

Of children looked after at 31 March 2012, 50,260 were cared for in a foster placement. This represents 75 per cent of all children looked after at 31 March 2012.

The statistical release can be read here.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said:

“The rise in the number of adoptions and adoption placement orders is extremely welcome, but it still takes too long for those who want to adopt and foster to be approved. The time it takes for a child in care to be adopted can be a significant period in that child’s life.

“I know from my own family that parents who adopt and foster bring stability to young lives. That is why we are overhauling adoption, but I know that our reforms will take time to make a full impact.

“So we are looking at measures to encourage councils to make use of adopters in other parts of the country. We will shorten the approval process and fast track those who are already foster carers.

“Taken together I hope these reforms will, over time, encourage more people to come forward and volunteer to adopt children. I want more young children to have a settled start in life with a loving family.

“That way, they can make a profound and lasting impact on young lives.”

The British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) is pleased to see that the number of children adopted from care in the year April 2011-Mar 2012 increased by 12%.

BAAF says that the headline statistic of 3,450 children adopted from care measures the number of children who were the subject of an Adoption Order by a court during the year in question. Typically the court will make an Order some 9 months after a child first goes to live with their new adoptive family. As such the statistic measures the very end of the adoption process and is not the best indicator of current adoption practice.

To get a better sense of what is happening in adoption, BAAF believes that there is a need to focus on the statistic of the number of children placed for adoption during the year. That statistic shows a very slight decrease in the numbers of children placed for adoption during the year from 2,710 in 2010/11 to 2,680 in 2011/12. From experience BAAF thinks this means that the significant increase seen in numbers adopted will be sustained next year but is unlikely to increase further.

BAAF says:

“Our focus now has to be on increasing the number of children placed for adoption. We know that currently there are at least 2,000 children in foster care with a plan for adoption who are not in an adoptive placement. This is in large part because of a chronic shortage of adopters for particular groups of children e.g. children in sibling groups, older children, children with disabilities, etc. If we could find adopters for those children who are waiting we would see further substantial increases in adoption over the next few years and this could only increase the impact of the Government’s welcome adoption reform programme.

“The latest statistics provide an encouraging base on which to build. To make further progress, we need to see a concerted whole system focus on increasing adopter recruitment, speeding up court processes, improving the adopter assessment process and ensuring adoption support. We know that adoption works and we owe it to every child who has a plan for adoption to realise that plan for them without delay. BAAF looks forward to continuing to do everything it can to help the Government’s adoption reform programme to succeed.”

BAAF also notes the very significant year on year increase in the numbers of children who were the subject of Special Guardianship Orders – a 20% increase in a single year. This figure does need to be seen in the context of the increase in adoptions and shows that the number of children achieving permanence through these different routes increased substantially year on year.

Court Shocked as 3 LJ’s PERVERT JUSTICE!


Social services are child abusers

After the injustice I recently experienced, I wanted to witness another case for myself, to see if others received the same treatment. I was shocked.

Every time I have sat in the court waiting room I hear the same story from other parents; Social Services reports are factually incorrect and yes you guessed it, favoured Social Services not the parents.

This case was a little different.

A parent had a string of bad luck.  She was involved, as a passenger, in a road traffic collision while pregnant. During her pregnancy she was hospitalized for most of the last 6 months. Two independent social workers cleared the need for further involvement by the Local Authority as [both] pre-birth assessments concluded there were no concerns with the Mother’s ability to parent her child (one due to prior domestic violence and the other due to false allegations (unbeknown to her) being fed to…

View original post 1,284 more words

PD (Forms) A58, A60, A61

Practice Direction – Forms A58, A60 AND A61

This Practice Direction amends the Practice Direction supplementing Part 4, Rule 17 of the Family Procedure (Adoption) Rules 2005

1. This Practice Direction is made by the President of the Family Division under the powers delegated to him by the Lord Chief Justice under Schedule 2, Part 1, paragraph 2(2) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, and is approved by the Lord Chancellor.

2. The amendments will come into force on 1st September 2009.

3. In the Practice Direction supplementing Part 4, rule 17 of the Family Procedure (Adoption Rules) 2005, substitute the forms set out in the Annex to this Practice Direction for Forms A58 (Application for an adoption order), A60 (Application for an adoption order (foreign element)) and A61 (Application for an order under section 84 (parental responsibility prior to adoption abroad).

EDITOR’S NOTE: The forms are available on the Judiciary website here.

Posted using Tinydesk Writer iPhone app

Child Adoption | Important Information which we all Need-to-Know

If you want to adopt a child of your own you aren’t the only one; there are thousands of adoptions that happen every single year. Yet this is not something you can do quickly or casually, as it involves quite a bit of time and often a considerable cost. As you gather facts about the adoption process, you have to ask yourself if this is something you’re really ready for. We are going to explore some things about the adoption process in this article but it is important that you check our information against the laws and regulations in your own area.

to view this article and continue reading from the author’s blog, click the following hyperlink: Otherwise, scroll down and continue reading below on “Bringing Home Baby

In lots of the states in the US, to use one example, the child you want to adopt must spend a certain amount of time (typically six months or so) living with you before the adoption can be finalized. If everything goes according to plan during this time, though, it serves as little more than a formality and you should be able to adopt with no problems. It is important to become well versed in your local laws before you start the process of adoption so that you don’t become unpleasantly surprised later on. You can talk to an adoption lawyer or you can do your own research into your local adoption laws and if you don’t understand something you can always ask the adoption agency with whom you will be working. Adopting a child from a foster home is one of your options, and this has its advantages as well as its challenges. There are often children with special needs living in temporary homes and they could have any sort of emotional, mental or physical disabilities. Homes like these usually house older children–very few infants–and they have age ranges from toddler-hood to late adolescence. There are often adoption subsidies available for parents who adopt such children, which helps to offset the costs of the process. Before you make the final decision to adopt a child from a foster home you need to prepare yourself for how difficult the situation can be and it can be incredibly difficult. You’ll have to have the time, patience and motivation to help a child who has most likely had a very difficult life up till this point.

Many prospective parents quickly figure out that consulting with a qualified adoption lawyer is the best starting point for the process of adoption. It is a good idea to work with a local adoption attorney because adoptions laws vary from place to place and your attorney can help you sort everything out. Your attorney keeps your personal interests protected and helps keep you from being taken in by one of the hundreds of scams that, unfortunately, riddle the playing field of adoption. No matter whether you’re adopting directly from a birth mother or trying to adopt by way of an agency, your lawyer is going to help you ensure that all of your actions are legitimate and legal. Before you actually hire someone, check out the experience and credentials of each lawyer you are hoping to work with.

So many people are afraid that the adoption process is impossibly difficult and complex but most people get through it and go on to become new parents. You simply need to be ready to commit yourself to some time and money. You should start out by deciding what kind of child you want to adopt and then start taking the necessary steps to get the ball rolling.

This article was prepared for you by CreachCostigan863, one of our ‘Authors’.
Visit this authors profile page and learn more about them & the articles they write


Care Proceedings Advice

Care Proceedings Advice.

CHILDREN: Public Law Update July 2011


John Tughan, Barrister, of 4 Paper Buildings reviews recent developments in Public Law Children .


Figure 1 John Tughan, Barrister, 4 Paper Building

In this update I will consider the recent decisions relating to

• costs,
• the role of Cafcass,
• the naming of experts,
• the attendance of the child at hearings and
• the issue of s91(14) orders.


All care practitioners should be aware of the decision of the Court of Appeal in Re T [2010] EWCA Civ 1585.  In that case the Court of Appeal was considering the issue of the costs of the intervening grandparents.  They had been joined to the proceedings to defend themselves against allegations of sexual, physical and emotional harm to the children.  Following a five and a half week fact finding hearing and a re-mortgage of their home to pay for their representation, the grandparents were exonerated of all allegations.  Wilson LJ, who has been involved in most of the costs cases over the years, gave the lead judgment of the Court and ordered that the local authority should pay the costs of the intervenors.  The case of Re J (Costs of Fact-Finding) [2009] EWCA Civ 1350 was relied upon by the Court of Appeal and is required reading for all practitioners.   

There are a number of noteworthy issues thrown up by this decision.  The first is that the Court of Appeal agreed that the local authority had acted reasonably throughout the proceedings.  They had properly brought the case and the grandparents had properly been joined.  Nevertheless they were held to be liable for costs.  Note the apparent departure from earlier authority such as Re T (Order for Costs) [2005] 2 FLR 681.  The second is that this decision is potentially very difficult for budget-holders within local authorities who now appear to be liable for the costs of intervening parties.  There is a potential for serious impact on other local authority services if costs are now in play in such circumstances.  That said, the financial impact on the grandparents of the defence of the allegations was serious also.

For more information concerning costs awards in Public Law Children Act proceedings, see Cost Orders in Public Law Proceedings: A New Approach? By Harry Nosworthy.

Role of Guardian v

In A County Council v K, C and T [2011] EWHC 1672 the President was considering the role of Cafcass management when in disagreement with the view of the guardian.

The local authority had proposed that T be placed in foster care pending assessment of his parents’ capacity to care for him. The parents and T’s guardian opposed removal. The family proceedings court accepted that T should remain at home and an interim care order was made.  When the social work team returned to their office after the hearing, their conversations about the case were overheard by an agency employee who was not involved in the case and who had formerly worked for Cafcass.  She sent an anonymous email to Cafcass to the effect that G had “blocked” T’s removal from the family home and that the interim care order was insufficient to protect him. After contacting G the next day, Cafcass informed the local authority that it had concerns about the case and G’s conduct of it.  It also notified the court that G’s recommendation was unsafe and that T should be removed from home.  It requested that G be de-appointed.  A court clerk terminated G’s appointment without notice.  The local authority requested the court to reconsider its decision to allow T to remain at home. 

In a review of whether T should remain at home, the President held that there was nothing unhealthy or wrong about a disagreement between professionals in care proceedings, but the crucial thing was that the process should be both transparent and fair.  Cafcass as a body had to monitor the quality of work undertaken by guardians. That was an important function and part of its general structure, but it had to be balanced against a guardian’s independence and it did not mean that the guardian’s views should be subservient. Where there was an irrevocable disagreement between them, neither had the final say; it was for the court to determine.

The proper course in that situation was for Cafcass to apply to intervene and for its views, together with those of the guardian, to be placed before the court, each providing an explanation why the other should not be preferred.  In the instant case, Cafcass had been complicit in the shocking failure to notify the parents of events and it had adopted a decision-making role that was reserved for the court.

The President went on to conclude that  where discussions about a live case took place outside of the court room, they should be (a) rare; (b) strictly necessary for the proper progress of the case; (c) minuted; and (d) disclosed to all parties and be made available to the court if required.

Naming of criticised expert
In a further recent decision which emphasises the need for transparency of procedure in care proceedings, in X, Y and Z v A Local Authority [2011] EWHC 1157 the issue before the court related to the naming of an expert who had been criticised by the court.  The local authority had originally relied upon the expert in a case of alleged induced illness but had sought to withdraw the proceedings.  The judge anonymised the expert.  

The President held that in this case the judge should not have made the criticisms of the expert (M) that he had made. It was not necessary for the judge to make specific findings about M’s report before giving the local authority permission to withdraw or on making an order for costs.  Secondly, it was elementary justice that M should be given the opportunity to debate his report and defend his work.  It was also of the utmost importance that the family justice system should be as transparent as possible, consistent always with the need to protect the identities of the children who were involved in it. Conducting the intense balancing exercise required, the President found that the balance came down in favour of allowing the application to name the expert.   However, simple identification of M’s name did not meet the needs of the case. The nature of M’s advice and the terms in which it was given were still private.  A proper debate of the issues required disclosure of M’s report, properly redacted so as to preserve the anonymity of the children and their parents was required.

Attendance of child

In giving guidance about the attendance of a child at a secure accommodation application, it could no longer be presumed that a child’s attendance at court proceedings about him was likely to be harmful, and nor should a child have to prove that his attendance was in his interests.  So held Mr Justice Peter Jackson in
A City Council v T, J and K
[2011] EWHC 1082.

The court was required to determine as a preliminary issue whether a child (K) should attend the hearing of an application by the local authority to keep her in secure accommodation for three months.   K was 13 years old and was in the care of the local authority, a court having found her to be at risk of physical, sexual and emotional harm from her parents.  She did not accept the findings, had no wish to be in care and exhibited violent and volatile behaviour.  She wanted to attend the court hearing and was supported by her guardian.  The local authority opposed her attendance on the basis that it would create a risk of her absconding, refusing to return to the secure unit, or seeing her parents outside arranged contact times.

The starting point for reaching the decision on such an issue had to be an open evaluation of the consequences of his attendance or non-attendance in terms of his welfare and the court’s ability to manage the proceedings fairly.  Each case would depend on its own circumstances, but the following factors would be relevant:

(a) the child’s age and level of understanding;
(b) the nature and strength of the child’s wishes;
(c) the child’s emotional and psychological state;
(d) the effect of influence from others;
(e) the matters to be discussed;
(f) the evidence to be given;
(g) the child’s behaviour;
(h) practical and logistical considerations; and
(i) the integrity of the proceedings.

Section 91 (14) Orders
In a case involving the interplay between final decisions for children, special guardianship orders and the jurisdiction to make orders pursuant to s91(14) Children Act 1989, the Court of Appeal in
K v Sheffield City Council [2011] EWCA Civ 635 held that the case was not one of multiple applications by the parents.  However it was a case of protracted litigation which had been made considerably more troubled by the way in which M and F had chosen to treat the case and the hearings that had taken place during the course of the proceedings so as to evade responsibility for their actions and by what the judge found to be their lying and manipulation.  A period of calm was an entirely justifiable objective as D’s welfare required that she should be able to settle into her placement with G in the context of the special guardianship order.  The case was not a run of the mill case but an unusual one and it was open to the judge to conclude that D’s welfare required the imposition of a s.91(14) order.

For a recent article concerning s 91(14) orders more generally, see Section 91(14) Orders – A Never Ending Story? by Lucy Reed.

John Tughan


Year of call: 1991

Education / Qualifications

Campbell College, Belfast
Liverpool University, LLB (Hons) 1990


Specialist practice areas


Care Proceedings

Children Act Proceedings

Publicity, Media and Children

Wardship/Inherent Jurisdiction


John’s practice involves children, both in public and private law proceedings. He has represented local authorities in care proceedings since the inception of the Children Act 1989. His practice now includes regular instruction on behalf of the parents (and extended families) and the children.
John’s experience includes all levels of the Family Proceedings system, up to and including the Court of Appeal. He regularly appears in the High Court and his case load has included issues such as non-accidental injury, death of child, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional harm, educational issues, human rights, media injunctions and the calling or cross examination of experts in those areas. He is also experienced in adoption issues and has lectured on the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

 He also regularly represents parents in private proceedings, often involving hotly contested issues of residence and contact.

 John is married with two children and lives in London. When there is time for anything else he enjoys sport, mainly from the arm chair, good food and company, gardening, cycling, reading and films.

Professional Memberships

Family Law Bar Association
Midlands Circuit
Inner Temple

What the directories say

John Tughan, meanwhile, is highly regarded for representing local authorities in public children law proceedings.

Recommended as a Leading Family Junior Chambers and Partners

John Tughan’s advocacy is clear, persuasive and direct, and he is well liked in the profession.

Recommended as a Leading Family Junior Chambers and Partners

John Tughan is described as a “no nonsense barrister” with public and private law proceedings at the heart of his practice.
Recommended as a Leading Family Junior in the area of Children – Chambers and Partners


 His “firm but approachable style” and “ability to smooth the waters” has won him a loyal following of many solicitors [Chambers & Partners 2005].  John is described as “excellent in both advocacy and substantive law.”
Recommended as a Leading Family Junior Chambers & Partners