New practice directions on split hearings

The President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall, has issued new practice directions for judges and magistrates on when it is suitable to direct a split hearing or to conduct a fact finding hearing.

Full story: Family Law

Haringey defends sacking of Baby P's social workers

Haringey Council has defended its decision to sack the two social workers responsible for safeguarding Peter Connelly even after the national regulator ruled they should be allowed to continue practising later this year.

Full story: Community Care

Official Solicitor unable to accept new children cases

The Official Solicitor has written to family law practitioners to inform them that his staff is unable to accept new instructions to act as a guardian ad litem or litigation friend without some delay.

Full story: Family Law

Mother charged with kidnapping twins from foster care

A mother who snatched her four-year-old twins from social services was charged today with two counts of kidnapping.

Full story: The Guardian

LSC could face judicial review of 'unfair’ family tender process

The Legal Services Commission could face a judicial review of the process and selection criteria used in the recent tender exercise for its new family contract.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Woman with hospital phobia must be forcibly treated for cancer, judge rules

A cancer sufferer is to be forced to have life-saving treatment against her wishes after a landmark court ruling by a High Court judge.

Full story: The Telegraph

Man wins half share of house 17 years after moving out

A man who moved out of his family home 17 years ago has won the right to claim half the value of the property, despite paying no mortgage for nearly two decades.

Full story: The Telegraph

Why judges have warned unmarried couples to 'plan for the possibility you might split up'

Unmarried couples who buy homes together were treated to a 'cautionary tale' by appeal judges today. The judges had ruled by a majority that Leonard Kernott was entitled to a half share in the home he shared with a partner he left 17 years ago.

Full story: Daily Mail

Abuse case social worker 'unqualified for task'

A social worker who missed signs of abuse against a three-year-old girl who suffered nearly 200 scars at the hands of her father was unqualified for the task, a report concluded today.

Full story: The Independent

Baby Peter social workers suspended

Two social workers have been suspended for misconduct in the case of Baby Peter, who died while on Haringey Council's child protection register.

Full story: BBC News

Third of staff 'feel powerless' to stop child neglect

More than a third of social workers and police officers say they have felt powerless to act in suspected cases of child neglect, according to a survey.

Full story: BBC News

Son sues mother for ‘failing to protect him from childhood abuse’

A son sued his mother at the High Court yesterday over her alleged failure to protect him from his father’s beatings.

Full story: The Times

Recession blamed as birth rate falls for first time since 2001

The birth rate in England and Wales has fallen for the first time since 2001, suggesting that the recession may have forced couples to postpone plans to add to their families.

Full story: The Independent

Peterborough and Nottinghamshire set to receive government improvement notices

The government is set to issue two councils with improvement notices following damning inspection reports into their safeguarding practices within children's services.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Warning of increased domestic abuse during World Cup

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) is warning of the threat of increased domestic violence during England's World Cup campaign.

Full story: BBC News

Tycoon's son launches appeal over divorce ruling

The son of Russian multi-millionaires - who is alleged to have tried to have his wife deported after she sued for divorce in London - launches an appeal on Thursday after his own Moscow decrees were ruled invalid.

Full story: The Press Association

Baby Peter social workers admit failures

Two social workers involved in the Baby Peter case have admitted failing to follow procedures to protect him in the months before his death.

Full story: BBC News

Child protection 'good' in Bristol

Child protection services in Bristol are good, according to an inspection report... Bristol is the first large city in England and Wales to receive the good rating.

Full story: BBC News

Baby P social workers admit failures

Two social workers have admitted failing to follow procedures to protect Baby Peter in the months before his death in north London.

Full story: The Press Association

US Supreme Court decides that ne exeat rights are ‘rights of custody’

An order prohibiting the removal of a child from a country without the non-custodial parent's consent is enforceable under the 1980 Hague Convention, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Abbott v Abbott.

Full story: Family Law Week

Leader of England's Catholics criticises coalition over marriage

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has criticised David Cameron’s coalition government for failing to support marriage.

Full story: Telegraph

Adopted children face anguish as birth parents stalk them on Facebook

Social networking sites being used to flout rules leading to 'intrusive and unplanned' contact.

Full story: The Observer

Case backlog put children at risk in Peterborough

A Peterborough children services backlog of more than 230 cases put youngsters at risk of harm, says a watchdog's report.

Full story: BBC News

Blundering council staff 'forgot' suspected child abuse victims

Hundreds of suspected child abuse victims were “forgotten” by council staff and wrongly left waiting several weeks to be assessed by social workers, officials admitted.

Full story: Telegraph

Coalition sets out its policies on the family and children

The Government has published its Coalition Document in which it sets out its policies for families and children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Civil law review must not miss opportunity to enshrine the rights of children

The Children's Rights Alliance for England (Crae) is urging the government to put children's rights at the heart of plans to review civil law.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Why independent social workers may quit over fees cap

Independent social workers are so enraged by the capping of their expert witness fees that some are refusing to deal with Cafcass and others may leave their sector altogether.

Full story: Community Care

Social services criticised over care of girl found hanged

Nottinghamshire social workers responsible for Charlotte Avenall were poorly trained and overworked, report finds.

Full story: The Guardian

Family plans set out by coalition

The coalition government has pledged to support families and maintain the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020.

Full story: BBC News

Tories keep manifesto family pledges in coalition plans

The Conservative Party has retained the majority of its pre-election pledges to support families within the new coalition's programme of government, published today.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Coalition promises to reduce inspection burden

The coalition government has promised to scale back regulation and inspection within children's services.

Full story: Community Care

Wife fighting £400 million divorce case runs out of money

The woman at the centre of a £400 million divorce case could be forced to abandon her court battle because she has run out of money.

Full story: The Telegraph

Care applications continue to rise

Figures released today by Cafcass show that care applications remain at record levels.

Full story: Family Law

Barnardo's assistant director calls for children to be taken into care earlier

Barnardo's assistant director of policy has called for children suffering neglect to be taken into care earlier, adding his voice to the debate started by outgoing chief executive of the charity, Martin Narey.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

ContactPoint database to be scrapped

In his first official speech as Deputy Prime Minister today, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg announced the Government's plans to scrap the controversial children's database ContactPoint.

Full story: Family Law

US Supreme Court upholds Hague Convention rights

The US Supreme court has ruled that a British father seeking the return of his son who was taken by the child's mother from Chile to Texas, has a right of custody under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Full story: Family Law

Record high month for Cafcass care applications

Care order applications to Cafcass are continuing to soar, according to the family courts body's latest quarterly figures which showed a 34% rise in the year 2009-10.

Full story: Community Care

Social work fears being sidelined

Social workers are calling on the new coalition government to show its commitment to the profession amid fears that looked-after children and child protection issues could be overlooked.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Baby P social workers face misconduct charge

Two social workers involved in the Baby Peter case are to be charged with misconduct, it has been revealed.

Full story: BBC News

Foster care: rise in demand affects placement viability

Two out of five foster carers (42%) are looking after children outside their area of expertise as providers struggle to meet increasing demand for services, research has found.

Full story: Community Care

The Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (Commencement No. 4) (Wales) Order 2010

This Order is the fourth Commencement Order made by the Welsh Ministers under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (“the Act”), which brings specified provisions of the Act into force in relation to Wales.

Statutory Instrument

JKN v JCN: Latest salvo fired in battle against constraint on English courts to stay proceeding under forum conveniens

In JKN v JCN [2010] EWHC 843 (Fam) the High Court has granted a stay of divorce proceedings initiated in England and, in doing so, has sought to clarify the jurisdiction of the English courts under Brussels II Revised in the wake of Owusu v Jackson [2005] 2 WLR 942.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government puts work of children's sector bodies on hold

The new Department for Education has called a moratorium on the work of all government quangos and arm's length bodies in the children and young people's sector.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Cost of family justice system ‘worryingly high’, says Thorpe LJ

Solicitors Journal reports Thorpe LJ's comments in a recently released judgment that the cost of the family justice system is "worryingly high" and it is the duty of judges to safeguard resources.

Full story: Family Law Week

Shortage of foster parents

The UK is facing a shortfall of over 10,000 foster parents, due in part to a rise in the number of babies and toddlers being taken into care following the Baby P case, a fostering charity has warned.

Full story: The Independent

Araldite grandchildren win court row over family's multi-million pound fortune

Three grandchildren of the Araldite glue tycoon have won a legal battle over a multi-million pound family fortune.

Full story: The Telegraph

Tim Loughton is named Children's Minister

Tim Loughton has been appointed as Minister for Children in the new coalition government in the Department for Education.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Break-up of DSCF draws criticism from profession

The Tory-Lib Dem government's decision to rename the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) has proved unpopular among children's professionals, as the sector speculates on its implications for a restructuring of children's services.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Abolition of ContactPoint database could be harmful to disabled children, warns charity chief

The government's decision to scrap the controversial children's database ContactPoint has been described as a retrograde step which could leave families of disabled children with less co-ordinated support.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

DCSF becomes education department

Michael Gove's first act as education secretary has been to ditch Labour's rebranding of his department.

Full story: BBC News

Roadshow warning over forced marriages to start

The first UK roadshow aiming to stop South Asian youngsters being forced into marriages abroad is due to get under way.

Full story: BBC News

'Penniless' ex-millionaire to appeal against £600,000 divorce payout

A racehorse owner appealing against his divorce settlement had to turn to Kevin Keegan for an emergency loan after he lost his fortune in the credit crunch, a court heard today.

Full story: London Evening Standard

Kinship care ruling could cost councils dear

A ground-breaking case on kinship carer payments could leave local authorities with a huge bill, a social care lawyer has warned.

Full story: Community Care

Business tycoon tried to 'wipe out' fortune prior to divorce

The businessman at the centre of what could be Britain's most expensive divorce deliberately "wiped out" his money to prevent his wife from getting it, a court heard.

Full story: The Telegraph

Grandmother wins right to foster parents' pay

A grandmother who is bringing up her granddaughter has won the right to the same pay as foster parents.

Full story: The Telegraph

New guidelines for judges to talk to children in court

The Family Justice Council has published new Guidelines for judges prepared to meet children who are the subject of court proceedings.

Full story: Family Law

Zac Goldsmith faces multi-million pound divorce payout after admitting adultery

Zac Goldsmith, the millionaire environmentalist and newly elected Conservative MP, is facing a divorce payout worth tens of millions of pounds after admitting adultery.

Full story: The Telegraph

Tchenguiz brothers appeal for right to use stolen documents in divorce

Two brothers who stole 20,000 documents to help their sister in her divorce from her multimillionaire husband lodged a landmark appeal yesterday for the right to use them to expose the true state of his finances.

Full story: The Times

Appeal in Oxford adoption parents' photo case

Oxfordshire County Council has gone to court to stop the parents of a child given up for adoption receiving an annual picture of the toddler.

Full story: BBC News

Ministry of Justice requests participants for file review of experts’ costs in legal aid work

The Ministry of Justice , through the Legal Services Commission, is conducting further analysis of expert witness fees paid in legal aid work. As part of that process it is asking legal aid providers to let it have recently closed case files.

Full story: Family Law Week

Tycoon’s wife gives taxman secret files

The latest twist in a bitter £400m divorce battle threatens to cause jitters among a wealth circle.

Full story: The Times

Hung parliament will see children's services stagnate

A hung parliament will hold back children's services, according to sector experts.

Full story: Community Care

Press still silenced, despite family court reforms, say lawyers

One year after ground-breaking reforms that were meant to open thousands of hearings to the media, more family courts are now more closed to public scrutiny, it is claimed today.

Full story: The Times

Paediatrician David Southall 'may do child work again'

Paediatrician Dr David Southall has said he may return to child protection work after winning an appeal in a long dispute over a case he handled.

Full story: BBC News

Paediatrician David Southall back on medical register

Paediatrician Dr David Southall is back on the medical register after winning an appeal over a long-running dispute with the General Medical Council.

Full story: BBC News

DCS turnover rate raises concern

More than 70 directors of children's services across England's 152 councils have either left the post or moved authority in the past two years, CYP Now has learned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

New charity created for separated and divorced women

Maypole Women established to offer support and a voice for women.

Full story: Family Law Week

Conservatives may reclassify gay civil partnership as marriage

A Conservative government would ''consider'' changing the law to allow gay civil partnerships to be renamed marriages, it was confirmed today.

Full story: Telegraph

Sold by the £400m divorce tycoon: The extraordinary property portfolio Scot Young owned before the banks took back the keys

From a beachfront villa in Miami to a 200-acre estate in Surrey, it is a £100million portfolio of properties worthy of a sheik or a Russian billionaire.

Full story: Mail Online