Kidnapped British girl who was taken to Libya is reunited with mother

Greater Manchester police say Nadia Fawzi, abducted by father more than two years ago, has met Sarah Taylor in Tripoli

Full story: The Guardian

Schoolgirl sues CSA over bid to seize pony

A schoolgirl is suing the Child Support Agency for attempting to recover over £40,000 in child maintenance payments from her father.

Full story: The Independent

The Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (Commencement No.2) Order 2009

This Order is the second Commencement Order made under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (“the Act”) which brings provisions of the Act into force in relation to England and Wales, including provisions of the Act which allow the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to make regulations jointly requiring local authorities to make arrangements to ensure that children in long-term care are visited by a representative of the local authority.

Statutory Instrument

Retirement ages - Armed Forces Pension Schemes; implications for divorcing couples

Most lawyers are aware that uniformed service pensions have issues and that it is best to seek professional advice when dealing with them. This article looks some features of the Armed Forces pension schemes that confirm the need for caution.

Full article: The Ancillary Actuary

'You've bankrupted my dad': 13-year-old girl to sue Child Support Agency after legal battle left father with crippling debts

A girl of 13 is suing the Child Support Agency, which she claims is trying to destroy her 'hero' father to pay off the mother she no longer wants to see.

Full story: Daily Mail

Labour performs U-turn on love and marriage ahead of election

Gordon Brown is preparing to pitch Labour as the party of marriage and the family in an audacious bid for core Tory votes.

Full story: The Times

Baby P council file left on train

An urgent review has been ordered after a confidential report drawn up by staff at the council involved in the Baby P scandal was left on a train.

Full story: BBC News

Tycoon's wife demands £500m on top of her £27,000 a month

The wife at the centre of one of Britain’s most expensive divorce battles is demanding her husband pay her a further £500million on top of the maintenance she has already won.

Full story: Daily Mail

Marriage is becoming preserve of middle-classes, Tories claim

Marriage in Britain is in danger of becoming an exclusive middle-class institution unless action is taken to bolster it, David Willetts, the shadow cabinet member responsible for the family, says today.

Full story: The Guardian

Businessman pays record £70,000 child support after threat to his home

A wealthy businessman who refused to pay full child support for his two sons for more than 16 years has finally handed over a record £70,000.

Full story: Telegraph

Facebook fuelling divorce, research claims

Facebook is being cited in almost one in five of online divorce petitions, lawyers have claimed.

Full story: Telegraph

Unison claims Doncaster is to axe jobs in children's services

A spat has broken out between Unison and Doncaster Council after the union claimed the local authority was about to cut 70 jobs in children and young people's services.

Full story: Community Care

Cash constraints threaten taskforce proposals, say academics

Universities and employers will struggle to implement the Social Work Task Force recommendations in the face of financial constraints, senior academics have warned.

Full story: Community Care

The Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings (Amendment) Order 2009

This Order amends the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008 so as to remove the jurisdiction of Nelson County Court as a family hearing centre.

Statutory Instrument

The Civil Courts (Amendment No. 2) Order 2009

This Order amends the Civil Courts Order 1983 so as to close the Nelson County Court. It does not deal with the devolution of the business of Nelson County Court but this is transferred to Burnley County Court by direction of the Lord Chancellor after consulting with the Lord Chief Justice. By virtue of judicial direction, Burnley County Court will have jurisdiction in proceedings commenced in Nelson County Court before the coming into force of this Order.

Statutory Instrument

The Community Legal Service (Financial) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2009

This instrument amends the Community Legal Service (Financial) Regulations 2000 which relate to financial eligibility for, and contributions towards, civil legal aid. It takes account of the introduction of the Crown Court Means Testing scheme so that criminal legal aid contributions paid by clients towards the cost of their representation in the Crown Court can be disregarded when their financial eligibility for civil legal aid funding is being assessed.

Statutory Instrument

Girl taken to Libya reunited with mother

A girl from Greater Manchester who was abducted by her father and taken to Libya has been reunited with her mother after two years apart.

Full story: BBC News

Helping London's social workers assess the risk of domestic violence

Fourteen London boroughs have adopted a matrix system to assess the risk of domestic violence.

Full story: Community Care

Spring 2010 deadline for training serious case review chairs

The government has pledged to overhaul the recruitment and training of serious case review chairs by spring 2010.

Full story: Community Care

Assuring Quality in the Independent Reviewing Service for Looked After Children

Liz Gosling and Alison Williams, qualified social workers, consider the status of the independent reviewing officer and propose a framework to provide a truly independent and quality assured service.

Full article: Family Law Week

Website to tackle honour violence

Victims of forced marriage or honour violence can now turn to online counsellors for help.

Full story: BBC News

Public law children applications rise by 35% compared with last autumn

Court statistics released for children proceedings, divorce, ancillary relief and domestic violence.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family contact lost, the longer children stay in care

The Keeping in touch report highlights the difficulties of maintaining family contact for children in care.

Full story: Family Law Week

Christmas is season for divorce

January could see surge in divorces after solicitors report sharp rise in number of inquiries

Full story: The Observer

'Indecent Proposal' divorce case to be heard in public

A divorce case in which an ageing businessman claims his wife was lured away from him by a banker who offered her £500,000 is to be heard in public.

Full story: Telegraph

Ex-wife wins £27,500-a-month divorce deal from 'broke' property tycoon

A wife at the centre of a £400million divorce battle yesterday won £27,500 a month in maintenance - after a court accepted that she needed to fund a luxury lifestyle.

Full story: Daily Mail

Protecting children is a top priority

The Government today set out its priorities for the new year for driving forward continued improvements in child protection in order to deliver the step-change called for by Lord Laming.

Full story: DCSF

Middlesbrough council 'failed' abuse victim

A Teesside council has apologised for failing to identify that a teenage boy with serious health problems was being abused at home.

Full story: BBC News

Forced marriage law not being used enough

Laws introduced to stop forced marriages are not being used widely enough and social workers' efforts to tackle the issue are also being hampered, according to experts.

Full story: BBC News

'I want £35k a month', says £400m divorce wife... but her husband claims he's broke

A wife at the centre of a £400million divorce battle is demanding more than £35,000 a month from her estranged husband, it was revealed today.

Full story: Daily Mail

Police reprimanded over serious domestic violence failings

Police forces were urged today to become more skilled at dealing with domestic violence after serious failings were exposed in the way officers handled the case of a woman who was stabbed to death by her husband after a long and volatile relationship.

Full story: Guardian

Law firm offers divorce gift vouchers

A London law firm has come up with what it calls a “must have” Christmas present for unhappy couples – divorce gift vouchers.

Full story: Telegraph

Interview with Anthony Douglas, Cafcass Chief Executive

Family Law Newswatch Legal News Editor Hugh Logue talks to Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of Cafcass.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Judiciary must speak out on 'parlous state of family law'

The judiciary must ‘come off the bench’ and speak out about the ‘parlous state of family law in 2009’, Lord Justice Wall has said.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Mother abducted five-year-old daughter and fled to America in tug-of-love battle

A mother has abducted her five-year-old daughter and is believed to have fled to America in a bitter tug-of-love battle.

Full story: Telegraph

CPS delivers justice for more victims of domestic violence

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has brought more prosecutions against perpetrators of domestic violence and secured more guilty pleas and convictions for the third year running.

Press release: CPS

Christian registrar loses same-sex partnership case

A Christian registrar disciplined for refusing to conduct same-sex civil partnerships has lost her appeal against the ruling.

Full story: BBC News

Academics round on taskforce criticism

Social work lecturers have rejected claims made in the Social Work Task Force's final report that they are out of touch with the realities of frontline practice.

Full story: Community Care

Law Society guidance on new family fee scheme for 2010 contracts

The Law Society has published guidance on the new family fee scheme recently announced by the Legal Services Commission.

Full story: Family Law Week

Media Access to the Family Courts: the Latest Proposals

Adam Wolanski of 5RB summarises the provisions of the Children, Schools and Families Bill relating to media access to the family courts and highlights some potential difficulties.

Full article: Family Law Week

ONE NEGLECTED BRITISH CHILD DIES EVERY WEEK

ONE neglected child is dying every week, a shocking study has revealed. The report also shows that the same “failures and deficiencies” behind the tragic deaths are being repeated despite a string of high profile abuse cases, including baby Peter.

Full story: Sunday Express

Tory women revolt on marital tax break

David Cameron is facing a rebellion from women within his own party against his decision to reward marriage through tax breaks.

Full story: Sunday Times

City broker forced to hire detectives in divorce battle

A city broker, Richard Grey, hired a team of private detectives to prove his wife was living with another man and should not be entitled to £125,000 a year in maintenance, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Full story: Telegraph

Domestic abuse effort hindered by course delays

Domestic violence offenders are waiting months, even years to get on programmes to stop reoffending, figures suggest.

Full story: BBC News

Baby P whistle-blower to sue council

The senior social worker who first warned the Government about serious failings in the investigation of childcare cases – six months before the death of Baby Peter – is suing Haringey Council for victimisation.

Full story: The Independent

Napo and Cafcass reach agreement to avert direct action

Napo, the family court union, has reached and agreement with Cafcass management to avert the balloting of its members on taking direct action.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Lord Justice Wall warns of under-resourcing in the family justice system

Lord Justice Wall has said that senior family judges must speak out for children, their rights and their welfare.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

DCSF told to save £350m in Darling's pre-budget report

The first sign of budget cuts in children's services has been heralded in the government's pre-budget report with the Department for Children, Schools and Families told to save £350m.

Full story: Community Care

Lawyers attack government plans to extend family reporting

Family lawyers have attacked government plans to extend the media’s right to report family cases, warning that they will clog the courts with preliminary hearings and lead to miscarriages of justice.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Child protection is a top priority

Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo today welcomed Ofsted’s findings that the majority of children’s services are performing well, with10 graded as excellent. She also said that there is no room for complacency and stressed that she expects Local Authorities to continue to focus relentlessly on improving children’s services against the new higher standards.

Full story: DCSF

Haringey social services still 'poor', says Ofsted a year after Baby P

Haringey Council has failed its latest Ofsted inspection a year after the Baby P tragedy, despite the arrival of new management and an overhaul of the entire children’s services department.

Full story: The Times

Inspectors in Wales highlight child protection flaws

Inequality in service provision and standards persist across Wales, according to a report by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales.

Full story: Community Care

Children's boss axed after death

The director of a children's services department which admitted failings in the protection of a murdered toddler has been sacked.

Full story: BBC News

Ofsted rates nine children's services as 'poor'

Children's services in nine local authority areas, including Haringey where Baby Peter was killed, have been rated as "poor" in a report by Ofsted.

Full story: BBC News

Childcare service Cafcass gets extra £1.6m to cope with case backlog

An extra £1.6 million has been given to the organisation representing children in care proceedings in the face of a huge backlog of cases.

Full story: The Times

Baby P clinic 'was understaffed'

Doctors at a clinic that failed to spot a broken back in Baby Peter two days before he died were under an "excessive workload", a report has said.

Full story: BBC News

Judge leaves court to calm down during case of ‘abandoned’ sick child

A senior family judge took the extraordinary step of leaving court to calm down because he was so angered by two local authorities who “abandoned” a sick boy to save money.

Full story: The Times

‘Barbaric’ family courts behind ‘state sponsored kidnap’ – Bob Geldof

The singer and anti-poverty campaigner described the current child custody laws as “barbaric and abusive” and dismissed the system as a “disgraceful mess”.

Full story: Telegraph

Dawn Primarolo: Agreed Action to improve Leeds City Council’s Children’s Services

Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo today wrote to Leeds City Council setting out the agreed action to be taken to improve the Council’s children’s services.

Full story: DCSF

Napo threatens industrial action over Cafcass crisis

Family court union Napo has threatened industrial action unless Cafcass resolves issues of "soaring workloads, management bullying and low morale".

Full story: Community Care

Closure of Manchester Adoption Society 'could be first of many'

The government has been urged to look again at the structure of inter-agency adoption fees amid fears that more voluntary agencies could follow Manchester Adoption Society in closing.

Full story: Community Care

Teenage Briton forced to leave the UK to live with her husband

A teenage couple in a genuine marriage have lost a High Court battle against a Government immigration policy aimed at combating forced marriages.

Full story: The Times

Migrant marriage teenagers lose High Court battle

A couple have lost a High Court battle against a government immigration policy aimed at combating forced marriages.

Full story: BBC News

Unmarried couples need new legal rights, says reform judge

Two million unmarried couples need new legal rights to protect them from injustice if they separate, the new senior judge in charge of law reform has said.

Full story: The Times

Obese children taken off at-risk register after genes found to be at fault

Two children considered to be at risk of abuse because they are severely obese have been removed from the protection register after scientists discovered that they carry a newly identified genetic abnormality that explains their weight.

Full story: The Times

Harriet Harman attacks Tory tax break ‘for philanderers’

HARRIET HARMAN is to accuse David Cameron of planning to reward philanderers on their second or third marriages with tax breaks, while stigmatising former wives left to bring up the children.

Full story: Sunday Times

Why caring can sour a happy marriage

A paper that correlates occupations with divorce and separation rates, to be published in the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, reveals that those employed in extrovert and stressful jobs are highly likely to divorce, as are those who work in the caring professions.

Full story: The Observer

The Child Support (Management of Payments and Arrears) Regulations 2009

These Regulations are made under powers in the Child Support Act 1991 (c.19) (“the 1991 Act”) and come into force on 25th January 2010. They are, in part, consolidating regulations which revoke and re-enact some provisions of the Child Support (Arrears, Interest and Adjustment of Maintenance Assessments) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/1816) (“the AIMA Regulations”), with some changes.

Statutory Instrument

Dawn Primarolo: Government to strengthen intervention in Essex

The Children’s Minister, Dawn Primarolo, has today announced that the Government intends to strengthen its intervention in children’s services in Essex.

Full story: DCSF

Multi-family approach meets PLO deadlines

Professionals in Essex have slashed the time it takes to compile care proceedings assessments yet still secure vital information about children and parents

Full story: Community Care

GPs to be encouraged to be more involved in child protection

GP attendance at child protection case conferences should be audited by primary care trusts to ensure GPs are more involved in child safeguarding measures.

Full story: Community Care

Lack of funds could delay full adoption of new child support IT system

A new IT system to facilitate child support payments will not be used properly unless the agency that runs it receives adequate funds from government, according to the agency's head.

Full story: Computing

Baby P case puts strain on Somerset social workers

People working in child protection in Somerset say their workload has 'shot up' in the last few months due to people being more aware of children at risk.

Full story: BBC News

Dawn Primarolo: Children’s Services a priority - further action to improve areas of concern

The Children’s Minister, Dawn Primarolo, today announced that the Government will be taking further important action in three Local Authorities – Cornwall, Doncaster, and Rotherham - to improve children’s safeguarding services in each of these authorities.

Full story: DCSF

Baroness Morgan: We will keep up momentum on taskforce report

The government has promised to "keep the momentum going" on the social work taskforce report to ensure its recommendations do become a reality.

Full story: Community Care

Couple's son, 2, taken into care by social workers after they 'refused to feed him junk food’

A two year-old boy was taken away by social services and put into foster care after his parents, Paul and Lisa Hessey, refused to follow doctors’ orders and feed him junk food, they have claimed.

Full story: Telegraph

Former ICI chairman wins right to evict ex-wife from £14m Chelsea home

A former chairman of ICI has won a court battle to evict his ex-wife from their “super-prime” £14 million Chelsea home so that he can sell it.

Full story: The Times

Former ICI chairman wins battle to evict ex-wife from £14m home

A former chairman of ICI has won his legal battle to evict his former wife from their £14 million Chelsea mansion so he can sell it.

Full story: Telegraph

Baby P emails: judge demands explanation from Ofsted

Newly disclosed court documents suggest Ofsted inspectors who wrote a damning report on Haringey children's services were ordered to delete emails relating to Baby Peter and the council, a high court judge disclosed today.

Full story: The Guardian

Welsh social services directors told to boost joint working

Welsh social services directors have been challenged to improve collaboration both between councils and with health partners by Welsh deputy minister for social services Gwenda Thomas.

Full story: Community Care

Profession applauds aims but questions remain about funding

The Social Work Task Force's recommendations on a probationary year, a college of social work and a binding standard for employers on caseloads and continuing professional development (CPD) have been welcomed by academics, charities and social workers. But there are concerns about how the recommendations will be funded.

Full story: Community Care

Ministers back taskforce plan to overhaul social work

Social workers will gain a stronger collective voice through the first ever national college for the profession, after the government accepted all of the recommendations in a 10-year reform programme proposed by the Social Work Task Force today.

Full story: Community Care

Agency workers scaled down as Americans fill posts

Haringey council has recruited social workers from America to boost the quality of children's services and rely less on agency staff.

Full story: Community Care

Ambitious reforms to transform the social work profession

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls and Health Secretary Andy Burnham today announced the Government’s acceptance of a radical package of recommendations from the final Social Work Task Force report, to transform social work and public understanding of social workers’ crucial contribution to our society.

Press release: DCSF

Sweeping change to social work standards

Taskforce set up in wake of Baby P convinces government of need to reform workloads, supervision, training and recruitment

Full story: The Guardian

Social workers licence plan in wake of Baby P case

Social workers will need a licence to practice, a report aimed at boosting standards and morale is to recommend.

Full story: BBC News

Resolution seeks meeting with Lord Bach over restrictions on matter starts

Resolution has written to Lord Bach, the legal aid minister, for an urgent meeting to discuss LSC policy over granting new matter starts to firms who have fulfilled their contract quota.

Full story: Family Law Week

More Police Powers for Domestic Violence - The Crime and Security Bill Reviewed

Michael Horton of Coram Chambers examines the domestic violence provisions in the Crime and Security Bill and the powers it confers upon the police.

Article: Family Law Week

Stable relationships are key to tackling family breakdown, says Ed Balls

Minister to publish green paper examining children's welfare in the family as a potential electoral battleground

Full story: The Guardian

Nuclear family is broken warns parents' group

The traditional nuclear family has irretrievably broken down and it will soon become normal for children to be raised by relations other than their parents, the head of a Government-funded parenting group has predicted.

Full story: Telegraph

Cameron may water down plans for married couples' tax breaks over fears they are unaffordable

Soaring state deficits could force David Cameron to water down plans for tax breaks for married couples.

Full story: Daily Mail

Cuts warning over family courts

A senior judge warned yesterday that family courts are near "breaking point" and are being undermined by heavy budget cuts.

Full story: Independent on Sunday

Paedophiles continued as social workers because of watchdog failings

Social workers who abused children were left free to carry on working because of critical failings by the watchdog in charge of them, an inquiry has found.

Full story: Telegraph

Woman fights for son taken by sharia court

British mother Rebecca Jones is fighting to win back her son Adam, 10, after a Sharia court in Qatar awarded custody of the boy to her dead ex-husband's family.

Full story: Telegraph

Working fathers must learn to juggle time for their families

The next 10 years is going to be a period of radical change for Britain's fathers, according to a major report that predicts more and more men will be living apart from their children and struggling to spend time with them.

Full story: The Observer

Mother taken to court for refusing to allow daughter to have swine flu vaccination

A mother is being taken to court by her ex-partner for refusing to allow their daughter to have the swine flu vaccine.

Full story: Telegraph

Gay Argentine couple's wedding plans divide an entire continent

Two Argentinians will this week become the first gay couple in Latin America to get married, following a three-year campaign that pitted politician against politician, overturned laws and angered millions of Catholics

Full story: The Observer

College of social work 'could be profession's voice'

A royal college of social work could be set up in England and Wales to provide a voice for the profession, the children's secretary has said.

Full story: BBC News

Referees in Scotland red card domestic abuse

Officials at this weekend's league and cup football matches in Scotland are to wear white ribbon badges in support of a campaign against domestic violence.

Full story: BBC News

21st Century Taboo

Claire Young discusses the subject of forced marriages, one year after the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 came into force.

Full post: Pannone Family Blog

Social Work Taskforce to unveil plans on Tuesday

The Social Work Task Force will announce on Tuesday its recommendations for building a stronger future for the profession in England. The panel of experts will set out a programme for long-term reform to improve the training, conditions and overall status of the workforce after a 10-month review.

Full story: Community Care

Domestic Violence Sufferers Urged to Seek Support

This week saw the domestic violence charity Refuge launch the “Four Ways to Speak Out Campaign” to encourage sufferers of domestic violence to speak out and escape the domestic violence situation they find themselves in.

Full post: Family Law Blog

£400 million divorce case wife moves into smaller home

The wife at the centre of a £400 million divorce case, Michelle Young, has been evicted from her home and has moved into a smaller property with her two daughters.

Full story: Telegraph

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2009

This Order brings into force provisions of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (c. 6).

Statutory Instrument

Domestic violence: Early intervention strategy announced

The Department for Children, Schools and Families' consultation on early intervention is due to be launched next month and will emphasise the need to identify and educate those children affected by, or at-risk of, domestic violence.

Full story: Community Care

Local authority policies: adoption, contact and care orders

Jacqui Gilliatt discusses the difficulties created by local authority policies regarding adoption, contact between the birth family & the child subject of a special guardianship order and refusal to support a care order with children remaining at home.

Full post: Family Law Week blog

Honour based violence is biggest problem facing women

Children must be taught about the dangers of forced marriages, campaigners said yesterday as ministers were warned that honour-based violence is the biggest problem facing women.

Full story: Telegraph

Cafcass judicial review threat

A Somerset solicitor is set to launch a judicial review action against the Children and Family Courts Advice and Support Service (Cafcass) because of its ‘unacceptable delays’ in appointing children’s guardians and family court advisers.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Child protection failings 'put children at risk'

Inspectors have criticised child protection services in Scotland after finding a quarter of councils had failings that put children at risk.

Full story: BBC News

Twice as many women as expected helped to avoid forced marriage

Nearly twice as many women as expected have been placed under special protection against forced marriage.

Full story: The Times

More forced marriage protection orders than expected issued in first year

More people have been protected by Forced Marriage Protection Orders than originally expected in their first year of operation, show figures released today.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Bridget Prentice speaks at forced marriage conference

Bridget Prentice has given a speech at the Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence Conference in Leicester today.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Young people at heart of strategy to bring an end to violence against women and girls

An ambitious strategy aiming to bring an end to violence against women and girls was set out by the government today. As well as measures to further protect victims and tackle perpetrators, the Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy signals a new focus on preventing violence from happening.

Press Release: Home Office

Overhaul of Cornwall children's services welcomed

Government moves to intervene in Cornwall's children's services department have been welcomed. The government said it would step in to improve the running of the department and safeguard children.

Full story: BBC News

Domestic violence victims need targeted support

As the government publishes its domestic violence strategy, a charity says cheap but targeted support services could make women much safer

Full story: The Guardian

Children and family court service facing 'strain'

The body protecting children in family courts is going through unprecedented strain, a union has warned. The Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass) has seen a record rise in child care applications in England since the Baby Peter case.

Full story: BBC News

Victims turned away because of legal aid squeeze

Dozens of law firms are having to turn away vulnerable clients, including victims of domestic violence, because they have exhausted this year's legal aid budgets.

Full story: The Times

Domestic violence: Independent advisers help cut abuse levels

Levels of severe domestic violence can be cut significantly and big savings made in public resources through investment in independent domestic violence advisers, research has found.

Full story: Community Care

Classroom drive to curb violence in relationships

Classes in preventing violence in relationships are to become compulsory for children aged five to 15 within 18 months as part of an official drive to tackle violence against women and girls.

Full story: The Guardian

Straight couple in legal challenge to form a civil partnership

A straight couple who want to become the first heterosexuals in Britain to form a civil partnership will launch a legal challenge after a council refused their request.

Full story: The Times

School lessons to tackle domestic violence

Every school pupil in England is to be taught that domestic violence is unacceptable, as part of a new government strategy. It plans to introduce school lessons from 2011 which will teach young people how to prevent violent relationships.

Full story: BBC News

Ministers intervene to improve Cornwall’s children’s services

The Children’s Minister, Dawn Primarolo, has today announced that the Government will be intervening in Cornwall to improve its services to safeguard children.

Full story: DCSF

‘Self-serving’ Ofsted accused of feeding the public’s fears over child protection

Ofsted has been attacked by council leaders for “feeding people’s fears” over child safety. Town hall chiefs accused the inspection body of being too concerned with protecting its reputation and focusing on procedures and process rather than the welfare of children.

Full story: The Times

Ofsted under fresh attack over child protection policy

Ofsted today faces calls for a radical overhaul to restore public confidence amid fresh accusations that it is so concerned with protecting its own reputation that it is failing to properly protect children.

Full story: The Guardian

Watchdog Ofsted accused of stoking child safety fears

Local government leaders have accused Ofsted of "feeding people's fears" over child safety, rather than improving child protection in England.

Full story: BBC News

Schools warned on forced marriage

A leading campaigner against forced marriages has warned that thousands of south Asian schoolgirls in West Yorkshire could be at risk of abuse.

Full story: BBC News

Marriage should move with the times

A straight couple's application for a civil partnership highlights the discriminatory laws that segregate couples by their sexuality

Full article: The Guardian

The judge, the Baby P council and the boy, 2, fostered by a blind 82-year-old

A boy of two was allowed to remain in the care of a blind 82-year-old widow by the council involved in the tragedy of Baby P.

Full story: Daily Mail

Soundbitten

Last week Mishcon de Reya announced the results of a study into the impact of the Children Act 20 years on. It came up with some 'staggering' findings. Lucy Reed explains why we need to see the research behind the study, and her efforts to obtain it.

Full post: Pink Tape

Thousands of children subject to death threats from fathers

Thousands of children a year are the subject of death threats made by their fathers, according to the most detailed research into domestic violence carried out in this country.

Full story: Telegraph

The Perils of Self-Help Disclosure: Hildebrand Revisited

Andrzej Bojarski of 36 Bedford Row examines the implications for self-help discovery and Hildebrand documents of the Court of Appeal's decision in White v Withers.

Full article: Family Law Week

New Indian brides abandoned by British Asian husbands

Thousands of brides in India are being abandoned by their British Asian husbands after they are married.

Full story: BBC News

Conservatives back new cohabiting laws

Henry Bellingham, the shadow justice minister, has said that by bringing in the rules children would be protected. He also suggested that the move would “encourage marriage.”

Full story: Telegraph

Baby RB: father speaks of fight to keep son alive

The father of Baby RB who fought to keep his desperately ill son alive said he gave up his legal battle when he finally realised the boy would live a “life of suffering”.

Full story: Telegraph

Divorcing couples to be offered counselling on the NHS

The government is to announce that divorcing couples will be offered counselling on the National Health Service for the first time in an effort to tackle growing rates of depression.

Full story: The Observer

New law saves 86 victims from forced marriages

In the 12 months since the Forced Marriage and Civil Protection Act came into force Judges have issued 86 forced marriage protection orders to prevent illegal marriages and helped annul marriages when the ceremony had already taken place.

Full story: The Independent on Sunday

Baby P: secret reports critical of Great Ormond Street Hospital

Great Ormond Street Hospital failed to answer senior doctors’ justified concerns about the clinic which failed Baby P, according to two secret reports.

Full story: Telegraph

Solicitors issue advice warning over child neglect cases

Solicitors representing children in cases of chronic neglect are being obliged to act without the advice of a guardian or social worker, lawyers warned this week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Why I disagree with Baroness Deech and her views on cohabitation

Marilyn Stowe explains why Baroness Deech is wrong to say that cohabitants should have no financial remedies when their relationships break down: "I believe that Baroness Deech thus causes gratuitous, untold offence to mainly women who may unwittingly find themselves in that situation; she even perpetuates what I believe is overwhelmingly a myth of “profiteering gold diggers” seeking to benefit from a cohabitation breakdown – when nothing, in my experience, could be further from the truth."

Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog

Experts can be named in family cases

Expert witnesses in family cases are to be named under the next stage of opening up the family courts to the media, although social workers' anonymity will be protected, ministers have announced.

Full story: The Times

Judge orders boy to live with father against his wishes

A senior judge has ordered a boy to leave his home and school to go and live with his father, against the wishes of both the child and his mother.

Full story: Telegraph

Difficult child protection cases for the Court of Appeal

A review of recent decisions by the appeal court in child protection cases where parenting skills and co-operation with authorities were in doubt

Full article: Community Care

Legal aid lawyers paid less than sewage workers

Solicitors are angry at new research that shows that practitioners who provide legal aid services are among the worst paid in the public sector according to a new survey.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Grandmother wins Supreme Court ruling on care of three-year-old boy

A woman has won a legal battle over the care of her three-year-old grandson after the Supreme Court reversed rulings that he should live with his father.

Full story: The Times

Openness and accountability in family courts: new legislation proposed

Proposals to further open up family courts to the media have been announced as part of new legislation put before Parliament

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Supreme Court allows child to continue to live with grandmother

The Supreme Court has unanimously allowed an appeal by a grandmother to allow her grandchild to continue to live with her despite the absent parents wish for their child to live with the father.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Don’t doom Bridget Jones to life without a partner

Unmarried couples should have new legal rights — or should they? The prevailing consensus is very much in favour: many believe that the law should reflect changing times and that at present it creates hardship.

Full story: The Times

Tackling domestic violence

Many policing proposals in a new review could help victims of abuse, but guidance needs to find its way to frontline staff, says Deborah McIlveen, policy and services manager for Women's Aid.

Full article: The Guardian

Too many children suffer in divorce courts: we need more mediation

The emotional strain of family breakdown will never be solved by lawyers alone, says Jane Robey, chief executive of National Family Mediation.

Full article: The Guardian

Government pledges swift response to taskforce report

The government has pledged to respond to the Social Work Task Force's report in a similar manner to its swift response to Lord Laming's report on child protection.

Full report: Community Care

Plans to legalise cohabiting couples are anti-women and degrade relationships, says peer

Telegraph

New rules to give cohabiting couples the same rights as those who get married “retard the emancipation of women” and degrade relationships, according to the chairman of the Bar Standards Board.

Total madness

Wigless

I just read a rather surprising piece in The Guardian that made me seriously consider the mental stability of this Government and our country’s police chiefs. The Association of Chief Police Officers is proposing a new domestic violence register with the names of around 25,000 men, including men who have never been convicted.

Family courts prepare to open their doors

Telegraph

As a proposed law aims to bring greater transparency to family courts, Cassandra Jardine examines what happens when personal disputes are exposed to public scrutiny.

Forced marriage helpline to close

BBC News

The UK's only national helpline for victims of forced marriages and so-called "honour" violence is to cease operating after its funding was cut.

Government backs down on named guardians law change

Community Care

The government has backed down on changing the law on named guardians in family court proceedings. Ministers had been considering using parliamentary clauses in the Schools and Safeguarding Bill, expected to be announced in the Queen's Speech tomorrow (Wednesday 18, Nov), that would allow Cafcass to allocate duty guardians to represent children in some initial court cases.

Police plan register of serial domestic violence offenders

Guardian

Police chiefs have proposed a domestic violence register to track an estimated 25,000 men in England and Wales who move from one relationship to another serially abusing their partners.

Children & divorce: where do we go from here? By guest bloggers Stephen Hopwood & Andrea Essen.

Marilyn Stowe Blog

A survey of children’s experiences of divorce was published today. The Children Act 1989, which transformed the face of family law for children, is 20 years old today. So how have children’s experiences changed – and how can we make it easier for children to cope with divorce?

STAGGERING

Judith's Divorce Blog

“Staggering,” is the best description I can give to the results of a survey published today by family lawyers at London law Firm, Mishcon de Reya. The study of over 4,000 parents was commissioned by the firm to mark the 20th anniversary of the Children Act, implemented in November 1989.

One in five children in care say their situation has worsened

Community Care

One in five children in care feel things have gotten worse for them and others in care according to the government's stocktake of progress on the Care Matters white paper.

Baby P social workers: GSCC yet to decide on conduct proceedings

Community Care

The General Social Care Council is yet to decide whether to bring conduct proceedings against social workers involved in the baby Peter case, one year after it launched an investigation.

Police want women to know if their partner has violent past

Telegraph

Women will be able to find out if their new boyfriends are wife beaters under a Sarah's Law-style "right to know", under proposals from police chiefs.

Police want domestic violence register

Guardian

Police chiefs have proposed a domestic violence register to track an estimated 25,000 men in England and Wales who move from one relationship to another after serially abusing their partners.

Ed Balls: Put children and young people at the heart of the care system

DCSF

Children’s Secretary Ed Balls will today back children and young people in care and promise them the same as every other child with a promise that they should not be stopped unnecessarily from taking part in activities their friends do.

Interview with Christina Blacklaws

Law Society Gazette

Christina specialises in child care law and mediation. She is a member of the Children Panel, a Law Society Council member, serving as child care representative for the Council. She talks with Mike Semple Piggot about the state of family law today.

Family justice could be threatened by access plans

Telegraph

Family justice is under threat with moves to give public access to confidential court reports, magistrates have warned.

GOVERNMENT URGED TO ACT ON FAILINGS OF CHILDREN ACT

Family Lore - Press Release

Twenty years on and one in three children are losing touch with their fathers when parents’ split, new research shows

Third of family break-up children lose contact with fathers in ‘failing’ court system, poll

Telegraph

Tens of thousands of children a year are losing contact with their fathers because of because of “failing” family court system and disastrous custody arrangements, a study has found.

Third of children lose touch with parents after divorce

The Times

The failure of parents to divorce amicably means that one in three children permanently loses touch with a parent, usually the father, a new study has found.

Sunday Smorgasbord

Pink Tape

This weekend I am proud to say that I have had time to read THREE whole weekend newspapers. This is not a common occurrence. In celebration of these heady heights of leisure I have put together this mishmash of interesting things that I have found

Lesbians make 'better parents', says senior parenting official

Telegraph

Lesbians are better at raising children than conventional couples, a senior member of the government's parenting academy has said.

Bitter divorcees 'using children'

BBC News

Children in England are often caught up in vindictive legal action by divorcing parents, a survey suggests.

Mother's anguish as Baby RB dies

The Times

Baby RB, whose parents fought a legal battle with each other over whether to keep him alive, has died after his life support was removed.

Woman in £400m divorce battle evicted from home

Telegraph

A woman fighting a £400 million divorce battle was evicted from her home and lambasted in court by a lawyer who told her she could live in a council house and claim benefits.

Surprise inspection finds weaknesses in child protection at Shannon council

Yorkshire Post

WEAKNESSES have been found at a seventh Yorkshire council by child protection experts during a surprise inspection aimed at preventing a repeat of the Baby P tragedy.

Jail threat lifted at tycoon's divorce hearing

Financial Times

The property entrepreneur at the centre of one of London's biggest-ever divorce battles has avoided the immediate threat of prison, after a judge was told he had provided documents to help explain the loss of his reputed £400m fortune.

CAFCASS Judicial Review

Pink Tape

...a firm of solicitors acting for a child involved in proceedings have secured public funding to launch a Judicial Review of CAFCASS and the Department for Children Schools & Families which funds it.

The 11 year itch

Marilyn Stowe Blog

Since 2000 and the case of White v White the Courts have been viewing marriage as a business partnership like any other.

Victory for The Independent as secret court opens its doors

Independent

Judge rules that media organisations should be able to attend hearings at the Court of Protection

Ruling opens court of protection to media

Guardian

A secretive court will open to the media for the first time after a judgment lifted the lid on proceedings concerning a celebrity with severe learning difficulties.

Government listens to grandparents’ opinions

DCSF

Grandparents and their representative organisations will today attend a cross-Government summit to explore the changing role of grandparents in society and talk to Ministers about how the Government can support them.

LSC say they will not fund independent social workers

Family Law Newswatch

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) have reminded practitioners that it will not fund independent social workers to act as guardians in public law children cases.

LSC chairman defiant over family funding cuts

Law Society Gazette

The chairman of the Legal Services Commission struck a defiant note in a debate on family funding cuts, stressing that ‘it is difficult to convince ministers and a hard-headed Treasury that they are getting value for money out of legal aid’.

Parents always know best

Family Law Blog

I am sure that the parents of Baby RB, the child with the serious medical condition in the news at the moment, always felt they knew what was in Baby RB’s best interests.

Family legal aid cuts - Bar conference debate

The Times

There were at least two memorable moments in the lively session at the Bar Conference last week-end on family justice, chaired by Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws.

Baby P one year on: local child abuse and care statistics

Guardian

It is twenty years since the government passed the 1989 Children Act and one year since Baby Peter's killers were convicted. Judging by the latest statistics, many lessons have still to be learned.

Child protection has been a bruising experience for Ofsted

The Times

Taking responsibility for inspecting children’s services did not seem such an enormous stretch for Ofsted when it was given the job in April 2007. It was already responsible for inspecting about 24,000 schools, 12,000 nurseries and 65,000 childminders. How much more work would 150 local authorities present?

Family Procedure Rule Committee open meeting

Ministry of Justice

The Family Procedure Rule Committee is holding an open meeting on 1 February 2010 in central London from 10am to 1.30pm.

Westminster Debate for KIDS (Kids in Divorce or Separation)

Divorce Manual

In commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Children Act 1989, Divorce Manual and Mishcon de Reya hosted a debate in the Houses of Parliament last night on the welfare of the child and the significance of that welfare in private family law.

Baby P: one year on

Guardian

Social workers and experts give their views on how much progress has been made in children's services since the tragic case of Baby P

Baby P 'deterring social workers'

BBC News

A growing number of social workers are leaving the profession following the Baby P case, a survey suggests.

Dawn Primarolo: Both parents to have the right to register their child’s birth

DCSF

Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo today launched a consultation on new rules aimed at ensuring that wherever possible births are registered by both parents.

Fear of costs keeping many people from getting justice

Divorce-Online Blog

More than half the population is being prevented from getting legal advice because of spiralling costs and the fear of visiting a lawyer.

Ofsted hid crucial evidence on Baby P sacking

The Times

Ofsted has been severely criticised for failing to disclose potentially crucial evidence concerning the sacking of the former head of Haringey children’s services over the Baby P case.

Baby RB to be allowed to die as father withdraws from court battle

The Times

A baby at the centre of a “right to life” court battle will be allowed to die after his father today withdrew his case.

Hildebrand Documents & Marco Pierre White: why family lawyers should worry

Marilyn Stowe Blog

As noted in my previous post about Hildebrand Documents, the recent ruling of the Court of Appeal in the Marco Pierre White case alarmed me. I would like to look at the judgment in detail.

Ofsted admits Baby P report error

BBC News

Ofsted has admitted making a "deeply regrettable error" by not disclosing an inspection report to the court reviewing Sharon Shoesmith's sacking.

Father drops right to life fight

BBC News

A father who had been fighting to stop a hospital withdrawing life support from his seriously ill son has dropped his objections.

Occupation Orders after Grubb

Family Law Week

Byron James of Guildford Chambers explains the significance of Grubb v Grubb for occupation orders where there are no allegations of violence.

Adopters urged to take on more than one child

Community Care

Prospective adoptive parents should be urged to consider sibling group placements, Action for Children says.

Paris hosts first divorce fair

Divorce-Online Blog

The city of romance got a lesson in love’s hard knocks Sunday, as thousands flocked to the French capital’s first divorce fair.

5 Outcomes : 1 Checklist

Family Law Week blog

Increasingly frequently court reports from Local Authority social workers (and less often CAFCASS) are placing significant weight on the '5 outcomes' set out in Every Child Matters.

The Child Support (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 2) Regulations 2009

Statutory Instrument

These Regulations amend the Child Support (Maintenance Arrangements and Jurisdiction) Regulations 1992, the Child Support (Maintenance Assessment Procedure) Regulations 1992 (“the 1992 Regulations”) and the Child Support (Maintenance Calculation Procedure) Regulations 2000 (“the 2000 Regulations”). They also make transitional provisions.

Bagging that family law pupillage

Wigless

When I started this blog last month, I said that I wanted to try to do what I can to help those BVC students out there who are looking for a family law pupillage but are, alas, still without one. As someone who has only recently obtained one myself, I can’t possibly speak with any sense of authority on the matter, but I can certainly tell you a few things I did to get my CV noticed.

Occupation Orders

Pink Tape

Family Law Week publishes an interesting article this week on the recent case of Grubb v Grubb which concerns an appeal against the granting of an occupation order ousting a husband from the matrimonial home.

Rights for cohabiting couples: how far will the government dare to go? By guest blogger Isabel Thornton

Marilyn Stowe Blog

I have a personal interest in the Law Commission’s proposals to revamp the law for cohabiting couples, which would give cohabitees the same rights on death as married couples. As a cohabitee of almost six years, who has only recently agreed to make an honest man of her partner, would I be better off “living over the brush” – or is marriage a safer place to be?

DIVORCE SPIN

Judith's Divorce Blog

My eyes were drawn to a story in the Telegraph today about MPs committing to divorce if they change political party.

Mother's view more important than father's in deciding if child should live or die

Telegraph

A mother's views outweigh the opinions of a father's when it comes to deciding whether a child with a rare disorder should be allowed to live or die, a senior children's doctor has said.

Parents losing children in 'loaded system'

BBC News

Against a background of prejudice and out-of-date assessments, six out of 10 parents with learning disabilities are having their children removed for adoption, research by Bristol University suggests.

Policy 'makes marriage miserable'

BBC News

The first year of a young couple's marriage has been made miserable by a "rigid and inflexible" immigration policy, the High Court has heard.

Fears over child protection at one third of NHS trusts

Telegraph

More than 140 NHS trusts have been challenged over the adequacy of their child protection procedures by the Care Quality Commission in the wake of the Baby Peter scandal.

Rise in divorce actions puts extra strain on children, solicitors warn

Guardian

The number of divorce and separation cases being fought in the courts that involve children has risen, with £151m of legal aid money being spent on litigation, according to figures released today.

Revealed: Government's 'heartless' treatment of forced marriage victims

Independent

British citizens who have been forced into marriages overseas are being asked to cover the costs of their repatriation to the UK, The Independent has learnt.

Baby RB: heartbreak in Court 50 as life of a one-year-old hangs in the balance

The Observer

A judge in the Royal Courts of Justice must decide the fate of Baby RB, who has a rare genetic condition. His mother believes he should be allowed to die; his father disagrees

ContactPoint database of 11million children’s details to go ahead despite security fears

Telegraph

Every child in England will have their personal details stored on a controversial database despite fears over security and privacy.

Lawyers Represented

Pink Tape

I’ve been browsing newspapers and recent judgments this evening (yes, for fun on a Friday night). Lawyers don’t come out of it too well so far:

Divorce, Full Disclosure and Marco Pierre White

Marilyn Stowe Blog

A recent case involving the fiery chef Marco Pierre White has sent shivers down the spines of family lawyers.

Contactpoint to start national rollout

DCSF

Faster and better contact between children’s services professionals across England will now become a reality as ContactPoint starts to be rolled out nationally to local authorities and frontline practitioners, Children’s Secretary Ed Balls and Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan confirmed today.

Child safety services criticised

BBC News

Nottinghamshire's child social care department has "significant weaknesses" in its handling of child protection cases, an Ofsted report has found.

Pembrokeshire child protection services reviewed following abuse and overdose cases

Western Telegraph

A total of 53 recommendations have been put forward for improving the way agencies deal with vulnerable young people and their families in Pembrokeshire, following reports into two serious cases.

Child protection one year after the baby Peter case

Community Care

It's been a year since the Peter Connelly case and the past 12 months in children's services have been tumultuous, to say the least. With the storm settling somewhat, Community Care asks a range of professionals in the sector what they believe is the most significant development since the Haringey scandal.

Baby RB enjoys music, nurse tells high court

Guardian

A seriously disabled child at the centre of a legal battle over whether he should be allowed to die reacts to music and makes "purposeful movements", the high court in London heard today.

Cohabitee rights plan criticised

BBC News

Plans to give millions of cohabiting couples better inheritance rights are being criticised by lawyers, the BBC has learned.

LSC announces it will recover family legal aid overpayments by December

Family Law Newswatch

The National Audit Office (NAO) estimates that legal aid solicitors have been overpaid by almost £25 million, in response the Legal Services Commission (LSC) has announced it will recover some of the family work overpayment claims by December.

Snooper powers to track parents for child support

The Times

Surveillance powers to counter terrorism will be used to track absent parents who fail to pay child support, the Government said yesterday.

Ex-ICI chairman attempts to force wife from £14m Chelsea home

Telegraph

Charles Miller Smith, the former chairman of ICI, is engaged in a courtroom battle to force his estranged wife out of their £14 million Chelsea home.

ONE KINGDOM; TWO SYSTEMS

Judith's Divorce Blog

When you live and practise in the North East of England, you are inevitably aware that only a matter of miles away across the border in Bonnie Scotland the law is very different. So tonight, Alasdair Loudon of Edinburgh law firm Turcan Connell treated Resolution’s Tees Valley Regional Group to an illuminating talk on divorce, Scottish style.

Tepid welcome for Law Commission's review of intestacy laws for cohabitants

Solicitors Journal

Cohabitants who have lived together for more than five years could be given the same rights on death as married couples under plans unveiled by the Law Commission.

Right to die battle: baby RB unlikely to reach third birthday

Telegraph

Doctors caring for the one-year-old, known only as Baby RB, said that if he lived, he had little to look forward to but “a future of painful operations”.

Budget fears lead Nottingham to cut number of children in care

Community Care

Nottingham Council is aiming to reduce the number of 16- to 18-year-olds in care in order to ease pressure on its budget.

Child support investigators get new spying powers

Telegraph

The agency responsible for tracing absent parents is to be given access to phone and email records for the first time, under Home Office rules.

Could the days of divorce forum shopping be over?

Wigless

I was just reminded of the case of Agbaje v Agbaje, which has been further reported on in The Times this week.

Baby RB at risk of more painful death if cared for at home, says infant's doctor

The Times

A severely disabled baby at the centre of a life or death battle between his parents would be at risk of a more painful death if his father was to have him cared for at home, the boy’s doctor told the High Court yesterday.

Right to die battle: footage of baby with mother

Telegraph

Footage of a seriously ill baby apparently pulling his mother’s hair and tugging a balloon was shown to a High Court judge who has to decide whether the boy lives or dies.

Baby RB living 'on a knife edge', doctor tells right-to-die hearing

Guardian

A doctor treating a severely disabled baby whose parents disagree over whether to remove his life support and let him die told the high court today that the boy's existence was "on a knife edge".

Surviving the great divorce divide

Telegraph

Courts are starting to give more weight to pre-nuptial agreements, particularly if they are cemented by post-nuptial agreement.

Parents fight in court over whether disabled son should live or die

The Times

The parents of a severely disabled baby faced each other in the High Court yesterday on opposite sides of a case to determine whether the boy should be allowed to die.

Parents clash in court over taking child off life support

Guardian

A mother supporting a legal attempt to take her severely disabled baby boy off the ventilator that keeps him alive said today her son's "intolerable suffering" had to outweigh her grief at his death.

Mum told to return to Turkey for child custody battle

Ilford Recorder

A mother's dramatic flight from Turkey with her young daughter may have been in vain after London's Court of Appeal ordered her to return for a custody battle.

The Cohabitation Bill: the present position

Family Law Week

Is Lord Lester's Cohabitation Bill making progress in Parliament? Bik Wong, solicitor with Hubbard Pegman & Whitney LLP, reviews the history and scope of the proposed radical legislation

Forced Marriage, Local Authorities and Applications without Leave: The New Provisions

Family Law Week

Louise McCallum, a barrister practising in family law at Zenith Chambers, Leeds and co-author of a practitioners guide to the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007, looks at the new provisions, which came into force on 1 November, allowing local authorities to apply for forced marriage orders without the leave of the court.

Christian registrar to appeal over same-sex ceremonies

Guardian

Lillian Ladele says London council unfairly expected her to conduct civil partnership ceremonies against her beliefs

Local authorities and voluntary organisations newly equipped in the front-line fight against forced marriage

Ministry of Justice

The issuing of protection orders for those at risk of forced marriage will be more responsive to the needs of victims under new powers which come into force today.

Family courts – information pilot announced

Ministry of Justice

Online publication of some judgments in family cases, like care proceedings and contact and residence cases, will be piloted for the first time at courts in Leeds and Cardiff.

Father of Baby RB fights hospital’s decision to turn off life support

The Times

A father whose son was born with a rare neuromuscular condition will go to the High Court today to try to stop a hospital withdrawing support that keeps the child alive.

Woman left broke by divorce payout takes fight to Supreme Court

The Times

A British woman left almost penniless by divorce goes to the Supreme Court this week in a case that will test London’s reputation as the divorce capital of the world.

Julian Knight: Let's recognise the 'specialness' of the live-in partner

Independent

It's a difficult one Should people who are cohabiting have the right to claim the estates of their loved ones when they die in the same way bereaved spouses or civil partners do? The UK Law Commission says yes.

Father and mother at war over their baby's life support

Telegraph

A father is fighting moves by a hospital to withdraw the support keeping his baby son alive.

Family cuts “undermine justice”

New Law Journal

Family lawyers have voiced concern at a new “uneconomic” fixed fee structure for family legal aid work.

Divorced from reality in the 21st century

Yorkshire Post

WE should all be raising glasses this week to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Divorce Reform Act 1969 gaining royal assent.

Scott Schedules

Family Law Week blog

In family cases, Scott schedules can be used to good effect particularly in cases involving domestic violence, injuries to children & the allocation of chattels in ancillary relief or indeed, generally to set out threshold findings sought.

Contact & residence

Family Law Week blog

I was asked by a Judge in Brentford County Court the other day whether it was possible to make a contact order without first making a residence order.

Public Funds for Collaborative Law will help Courts become the Last Resort for more Divorcing Couples

Family Law Collaborative Divorce Blog

"A Collaborative Family Law approach allows separating couples and their lawyers to sit down together to reach an agreement face to face in a much quicker, less traumatic process, that can provide a more satisfactory conclusion for all involved." so said Lord Bach, the justice minister in charge of legal aid, earlier this week.

No formula for a happy marriage

Benussi Blog

The secret of a happy marriage, according to scientists, is for a wife to be smarter and at least five years younger than her husband.

Another blow to marriage?

Wigless

The Daily Mail today reports on the Law Commission’s proposals to change the law to give cohabiting couples inheritance rights should one of them die without a will.

How far should young people in foster care be monitored?

Community Care

With the rise in mobile phone usage and social networking websites, how far should young people in foster care be monitored to thwart manipulative birth parents, asks Jo Stephenson

Solicitors overpaid millions by LSC for legal aid work

Law Society Gazette

Solicitors have been overpaid nearly £25m for legal aid work, public spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) reported today.

Lawyers 'exploit' legal aid cash

BBC News

Lawyers received tens of millions of pounds more than they were entitled to in legal aid payments last year, the government auditor has said.

Family lawyers warn intestacy law change may be unworkable

Family Law Newswatch

Family lawyers are warning the Law Commission against unworkable changes following the publication today of its consultation Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death.

LSC proposes introduction of collaborative law from 2010

Family Law Newswatch

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has launched a four-week consultation on the Family Specification for work taking place from 1 October 2010, which includes an option to add collaborative law to the range of work open to family legal aid practitioners.

Alliance created to resist plans to amend the Children Act 1989

Family Law Newswatch

Several children's organisations have come together to express their concerns about government plans to use the forthcoming Schools and Safeguarding Bill as a vehicle to amend key legislation in relation to the protection of children.

Fixed fees rate cuts will drive profession away, say family lawyers

Law Society Gazette

Family law groups have warned that new fixed fees which will slash legal aid rates for some private law cases by up to 50% will drive lawyers away from legal aid and undermine access to justice.

Rights for unmarried couples: on death but not in life?

The Times

Whether the Law Commission proposals to extend inheritance rights to unmarried couples makes its way speedily to the statute book or not, it will certainly fuel the wider case for giving them legal rights generally.

Children’s Minister: New online resources for up to 5 million mums, dads, carers and grandparents

DCSF

Dawn Primarolo, minister for Children, Young People and Families, today announced three new pilot projects to help up to five million mums, dads, carers and grandparents get important parenting information support and guidance.

Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death

Law Commission

On 29 October 2009 we published a Consultation Paper reviewing the law of intestacy and family provision claims on death.

Child maintenance not paid in one-in-four cases

Daily Mail

Child maintenance is still not being paid in more than one in four cases, figures showed today.

Legal Costs

Pink Tape

Short piece on ‘Today’ on Tues morning about costs in civil cases.

Inheritance rights for co-habiting couples: Family campaigners fear another blow to marriage

Daily Mail

Co-habiting couples with children would be given automatic inheritance rights, like a married couple, under controversial new proposals.

Watchdog proposes shake-up of inheritance law for unmarried couples

The Times

Unmarried couples would automatically inherit some of their partner’s estate on his or her death under radical reforms proposed today.

Legal aid for collaborative law?

The Times

The Legal Services Commission is to consult for the first time on whether legal aid clients might have access to collaborative law.

Unmarried partners to get equal rights over inheritance, under proposals

Telegraph

Unmarried couples who live together for just two years will be automatically entitled to half their partner's estate if they die without a will, under proposals from the Government's law advisers.

More single parents back away from CSA

Gingerbread

Gingerbread is concerned that figures out today suggest more single parents are turning away from the Child Support Agency.

New legal rights for grandparents?

Marilyn Stowe Blog

Many grandparents are surprised to discover that they do not have automatic rights of residence or contact with their grandchildren. But could their rights be about to improve?

White v Withers: Not swept under the carpet

Family Lore

TV chef Marco Pierre White has succeeded in his appeal against the striking out of his claim against his wife's solicitors, Withers LLP.

TV chef Marco Pierre White wins appeal against court ruling

Independent

TV chef Marco Pierre White today won his appeal against a High Court ruling which halted his action against the leading divorce lawyers representing his estranged wife.

The Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Regulations 2009

Statutory Instrument

These Regulations amend the Registration of Marriages Regulations 1986 and the Registration of Marriages (Welsh Language) Regulations 1999.

The Registration of Marriages etc. (Electronic Communications and Electronic Storage) Order 2009

Statutory Instrument

This Order amends the Marriage Act 1949 to allow for electronic communications and electronic data storage in a form approved by the Registrar General for Births, Deaths and Marriages in England and Wales.

Marco Pierre White allowed to sue London lawyers over seizure of papers by wife

The Times

Marco Pierre White, the TV chef, can proceed with suing a top London firm of divorce lawyers after senior judges ruled that they had a case to answer over the seizure of his private documents.

Ministers moot changes to named guardians lawl

Community Care

The Department for Children, Schools and families (DCSF) has admitted ministers are considering changing the law around the role of named guardians to represent children in court.

Doubts over councils' commitment to Children Act 1989

Community Care

Exclusive Community Care survey reveals doubts over councils' commitment to Act

Probe of case after baby dies

Wokingham Times

The work of Wokingham’s child protection services in the case of a twin baby who died in April are to be investigated in a serious case review.