A Local Authority v JK & Anor – Family Law Week case summary

25 January 2021

Application by Local Authority for orders under FPR Part 19 r14.21 and inherent jurisdiction to endorse decision not to disclose a child’s existence to his father and maternal family dismissed. Court critical of delay in applications

W was born on 3.02.20.  Three days prior to his birth, his mother (M) notified the Local Authority indicating that she wished to place her child for adoption.  W was placed with prospective adoptive parents shortly after birth.  The Local Authority applications, dated 3.09.20, were made to endorse decisions, strongly supported by Mother, not to notify the father or the maternal family of W's existence.  The child's guardian opposed the application.  The applications were dismissed.

• The court observed that while rule 14.21 was amended by SI2020/135 with effect from 6.04.20 to provide that such applications in relation to fathers without parental responsibility should be made to the family court, non-notification applications in respect of close relatives were still required to be made under the inherent jurisdiction.  The court observed that such applications should be heard together and suggested the rules committee may wish to consider whether r 14.21 could be enlarged to include other persons

• The judgment in Cases A, B and C [2020] EWCA Civ 41 had been delivered 3 weeks before W's birth and should have been in this Local Authority's minds.  The judgment summarises the facts of A, B and C and observes how similar the cases were.  The general approach to be taken is in paragraphs 45-84 of that case

Read the full summary on Family Law Week.