The Court of Appeal has held that there is no mandatory requirement to seek permission to appeal from the lower court in family and civil litigation in the case of P v P  EWCA Civ 447 but that it remains best practice. Jackson LJ:
68. In my view, even under the current rules, it is still good practice for any party contemplating an appeal in the first instance to seek permission from the lower court. Ideally the party should do so when the judge delivers or hands down judgment. This is for the five reasons set out in paragraph 52.3.4 of the White Book commentary.
69. On the other hand there is no longer a rule requiring the appellant to apply to the lower court for permission. Therefore the need to apply to the court below is no longer a mandatory requirement, merely a matter of good practice.
70. These observations apply both to family cases and to civil litigation generally.
With thanks to Gordon Exhall of the Civil Litigation Brief blog.