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.