Imerman - Court of Appeal refuses permission to appeal to the Supreme Court

In a hearing before the Court of Appeal on Friday afternoon, leave was sought for permission to appeal the Court's judgment to the Supreme Court.

Full story: Family Law Week

Interdisciplinary Alliance for Children call for Cafcass to be reformed

The Interdisciplinary Alliance for Children (IAC) sent government minsiters with an oversight to children's justice a 'joint position statement' asking for a meeting to explore alternatives to Cafcass.

Full story: Family Law

Covertly found assets no longer valid in divorce

Separated couples no longer be able to use secretly obtained documents to reveal their spouse's hidden.

Full story: The Guardian

Husband wins in Court of Appeal in Imerman case

Court of Appeal decides that information copied from husband’s computer cannot be used in ancillary relief proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorce ruling creates a 'cheat's charter'

Feuding couples who do not want their spouses' lawyers finding out how rich they are have won a landmark legal ruling.

Full story: The Independent

Court of Protection Rules Committee publishes review

The President of the Court of Protection, Sir Nicholas Wall, has published the Court of Protection Rules Committee's Review.

Full story: Family Law Week

Tchenguiz brothers lose papers battle in divorce dispute

Property tycoons Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz failed in a Court of Appeal battle to use information about the financial affairs of their sister's husband at her divorce hearing.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2010

This Order provides for the increase of certain fees payable in family proceedings in England and Wales in the Senior Courts and county courts. For convenience this Order replaces the entire schedule of fees payable in family proceedings in the Senior Courts and county courts. Certain fees which were previously increased in 2006 have been increased by the rate of inflation since 2006. Other fees became payable in 2008 or 2009 at the same level as the fees which were increased in 2006. These fees are also being increased by the rate of inflation since 2006.

Statutory Instrument

Court of Appeal rules in Imerman "that there is no legal basis for Hildebrand rules"

The Court of Appeal has ruled in the case of Imerman that that the Hildebrand rules, which historically have enabled a wife or husband to secretly obtain, copy and use each others' documents in divorce proceedings, have "no basis in law" and are unlawful.

Full story: Family Law

Landmark divorce ruling on hidden money

Protection previously afforded to thousands of people in divorce proceedings has been removed following a landmark Court of Appeal judgement.

Full story: BBC News

Number of UK children taken overseas by a parent rises

The number of British children abducted by a parent and taken overseas has increased in the past year.

Full story: BBC News

Number of child abductions rises by 39 per cent in a year – Foreign Office

The number of British children abducted by one of their parents and taken abroad is set to double as the summer holidays start, the Foreign Office has warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family law supplier base ‘decimated’ by LSC tender

The family law supplier base has been ‘decimated’ by the ‘shock’ outcome of the Legal Services Commission’s tender for civil legal aid work, lawyers groups alleged this week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

OPSI website replaced with www.legislation.gov.uk

The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website, which publishes all UK legislation, is being replaced today by www.legislation.gov.uk.

Full story: Family Law

The Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children (International Obligations) (E & W & NI) Regulations 2010

These Regulations facilitate the ratification of the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-Operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children 1996 (Cm 7727) (“the Convention”) by the United Kingdom. They also facilitate the application of Council Regulation (EC) 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Matrimonial Matters and the Matters of Parental Responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) 1347/2000 (“the Council Regulation”). Except where indicated, they extend to England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

Statutory Instrument

Bureaucracy 'hampers social workers', survey says

Nearly two-thirds of social workers in England say they do not have enough time to serve children and young people properly, an Ofsted survey has found.

Full story: BBC News

Independent commission to look into early intervention

The government has confirmed an independent commission will be set up into early intervention to be chaired by Graham Allen MP.

Full story: Community Care

'Carnage' as family solicitors lose legal aid contracts

LAG has just heard from the Legal Services Commission (LSC) that 1,300 out of 2,400 firms have been awarded contracts in family law.

Full story: LAG News Blog

Children's court service faces inquiry over post-Baby Peter response

MPs call for investigation after report raises serious concerns about Cafcass's ability to handle the rise in workload following the death of Baby Peter.

Full story: The Guardian

Family court service criticised over increased demand

The agency which looks after children's interests in court has not dealt efficiently with an increase in cases since the death of Baby Peter in 2007, an audit finds.

Full story: BBC News

Cafcass efficiency questioned by National Audit Office

Cafcass' response to rising care applications would have been more effective if better progress had been made in tackling existing organisational problems, the National Audit Office has found.

Full story: Community Care

Quarter of children's NQSWs swamped with work - survey

A quarter of newly qualified children's social workers in England feel their caseloads are too high, a survey by Ofsted has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Khyra Ishaq review reveals how mother intimidated professionals

Angela Gordon threatened violence and legal action, and accused staff of racism or harassment.

Full story: The Guardian

Khyra death 'shows professionals should work in pairs'

The death of Khyra Ishaq shows that social workers on child protection cases should be paired up, according to Unison.

Full story: Community Care

Cafcass risks clash with Nagalro by recruiting 50 NQSWs

Cafcass is recruiting 50 newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) under plans to reform its traditional career structures.

Full story: Community Care

Khyra Ishaq death was preventable, says serious case review

Report lists catalogue of missed opportunities to save seven-year-old starved to death by her mother.

Full story: The Guardian

Khyra Ishaq serious case review to be released

A report into how social workers, police and other professionals handled the case of a girl who died after being starved at home will be released later.

Full story: BBC News

Rising divorce rate is linked to the economic recovery

The easing of the recession has spelled the end for thousands of marriages, lawyers said yesterday.

Full story: Daily Mail

Polo playing dotcom tycoon forced to pay wife £7 million in divorce settlement

A polo playing dotcom tycoon was ordered by a judge to pay his ex-wife half his £14 million fortune after being accused of "flagrant, persistent and consistent" attempts to hide his wealth.

Full story: Telegraph

Boris Berezovsky's second wife wins record £100m divorce settlement

• Oligarch and wife Galina only lived together for two years
• Ruling cements London as divorce court of choice for rich

Full story: The Guardian

Ex-wife returns to court to ask for bigger divorce settlement

The ex-wife of a business tycoon has returned to the divorce courts to ask for a bigger slice of his fortune after he sold his business for £180 million.

Full story: The Telegraph

Care applications remain at very high levels

Figures released by Cafcass show that care application demand has remained at a very high level.

Full story: Family Law Week

New research highlights child protection needs of older children

A new approach to child protection for older children is urgently needed in order to ensure their safeguarding, according to a three year study, published by The Children's Society, the NSPCC and the University of York and funded by the Big Lottery.

Full story: Family Law Week

ContactPoint database will close on 6 August

ContactPoint will be switched off on 6 August, ministers announced today.

Full story: Community Care

Fears mount over ‘£500m’ legal aid cut

Speculation mounted over the future of legal aid this week amid reports that the Ministry of Justice plans to slash the £2.1bn legal aid budget by half a billion pounds.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Lord chief justice calls for shorter cases

The lord chief justice has called for family and criminal cases to be shortened.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Boris Berezovsky in '£100m' divorce battle

Boris Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch, will divorce his second wife Galina today in what could be the costliest marriage split in British legal history.

Full story: The Telegraph

Justice Committee announces inquiry into family law

The House of Commons Justice Committee has announced an inquiry into the operation of the family courts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Teenagers get less help from social services due to lack of resources

Study into protection of maltreated teens says there is urgent need for shift in approach to ensure they are kept safe.

Full story: The Guardian

Domestic abuse campaign targets mosques in Scotland

Islam can't be used to justify domestic violence against a partner. That's the message being given to Scotland's Muslim communities with the help of a new campaign.

Full story: BBC News

Butler-Sloss calls for focus on children

A former president of the Family Division has called on the government to cut the number of children in custody and safeguard access to justice in child welfare cases.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Birmingham City Council 'failing to protect' children

Birmingham City Council is failing to protect vulnerable children in care and its capacity to improve is inadequate, an Ofsted report has found.

Full story: BBC News

LSC family fees training events

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has announced the launch of 68 national training events to help providers prepare for the Family Fee Schemes 2010.

Full story: Family Law

Children urged to complete survey about child protection

The Children's Commissioner, Maggie Atkinson, is calling on children practitioners to encourage young people they know to feed their views into the Government's review of child protection.

Full story: Family Law

Woman 'lied about child abuse' in divorce case

A High Court judge in Belfast has concluded that a woman involved in a divorce case falsely accused her ex-husband of sexually abusing their children.

Full story: BBC News

'Gay couples will get equal right to marry'

The Coalition will give homosexual couples the same legal rights to marriage as heterosexuals, a senior Liberal Democrat has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Time controls needed in family cases

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, raised concerns about finance and delays in the courts in a speech this week.

Full story: New Law Journal

Prenuptial agreements on rise amongst younger men

High earners are rejecting their fathers' romantic view of marriage to protect assets.

Full story: The Observer

Number of middle class homes sold due to divorce has doubled in last year

The number of middle class family homes sold due to divorce has almost doubled in the last year, according to new figures.

Full story: The Telegraph

Judge orders warring hedge fund couple to stop fighting as they will never be poor

A judge has told an "immensely" wealthy couple to stop their expensive divorce battle because neither of them will ever be poor.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child support debt owed by constituency

Gingerbread, the single parent charity, has described the level of child maintenance debt across the country as "truly shocking" after collating figures on how much child maintenance is owed in every Parliamentary constituency.

Full story: The Guardian

Association of Directors of Children’s Services says independent social workers aren't needed

The chair of Association of Directors of Children's Services Marion Davis has called for a review of the use of independent social workers in court.

Full story: Family Law

Kenneth Clarke to slash Legal Aid budget

Legal Aid faces “brutal” cuts that will restrict public spending on legal advice for cases ranging from immigration to divorce.

Full story: The Telegraph

First serious case review to be marked outstanding by Ofsted

Only five serious case reviews of 66 done by local safeguarding children boards in the first half of 2010 have been deemed inadequate, while one has been marked outstanding for the first time, Ofsted figures show.

Full story: Community Care

Baby Peter GP suspended for year

A GP who saw Baby Peter eight days before his death has been suspended from working as a doctor for 12 months.

Full story: BBC News

New powers to stop parents dodging maintenance arrears

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has begun using tough new powers to halt or reverse the sale and transfer of assets by parents attempting to dodge financial responsibility for their children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parents of obese children may be guilty of neglect

Child health experts say 'parental failure' over diet and exercise becomes a child protection issue.

Full story: The Guardian

Baby P's grandmother had 'violent background'

The violent history of Baby Peter's family should have alerted social workers more to the dangers posed to the toddler, according to a leaked report.

Full story: BBC News

Children's Commissioner's role to be independently reviewed

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has commissioned Dr John Dunford OBE, currently General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, to carry out an independent and consultative review of the office, role and functions of the Children's Commissioner for England.

Full story: Family Law Week

Vanishing dads owe £3.7 billion to children

Grimsby, Milton Keynes and Blackpool have more feckless fathers who refuse to pay for their upbringing of their children than anywhere else in the UK, new figures show today.

Full story: Daily Express

Wife beaters could face random police visit to discourage reoffending, Theresa May says

People convicted of domestic violence could face random visits by police to make sure they are not reoffending, Thersea May has suggested.

Full story: The Telegraph

Lord Justice Thorpe to review GMC child protection guidance

The General Medical Council (GMC) has announced that Lord Justice Thorpe will chair a working group to produce new guidance for doctors involved in child protection.

Full story: Family Law

Family lawyers left ‘in limbo’ by LSC

Legal aid lawyers have been ‘left in limbo’ by the Legal Services Commission’s continuing failure to announce the outcome of the family and social welfare tenders, practitioners said this week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Metropolitan Police bids to block Baby Peter inquest

The Metropolitan Police are trying to block an inquest into the death of Baby Peter, the BBC has learned.

Full story: BBC News

Shared Parenting Bill presented in the House of Commons

A private members bill on shared parenting was tabled yesterday in the House of Commons by Brian Binley, Conservative MP for Northampton South.

Full story: Family Law

Manchester social services criticised over baby's care

Social services in Manchester have been criticised in an independent review into the care given to a baby boy who was left brain damaged and blinded.

Full story: BBC News

Excluding independent social work expertise from courts is dangerous, say ISW agencies

Independent social workers (ISWs) who work as expert witnesses in the family courts expressed astonishment at remarks made last week by Marion Davis, chair of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, which appear to show a lack of understanding of their role in court proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Coalition still split on marriage tax plans, says Sarah Teather

Liberal Democrat children and families minister says issue is one of only a few that divide her party and the Conservatives.

Full story: The Guardian

Great Ormond Street Hospital 'withheld Baby P facts'

Great Ormond Street Hospital did not disclose key information to the original inquiry into what happened to Baby Peter, it has been claimed.

Full story: BBC News

Most rich men 'too romantic for a pre-nup'

The rate of divorce may be at record levels, but it seems men’s sense of romance is very much alive. At least among the rich ones.

Full story: Daily Mail

Court condemns Russians' bitter divorce

A young Russian couple's "bitter and unruly" divorce battle was criticised in the Court of Appeal today over whether it was a good use of judges' time.

Full story: The Independent

Baby P doctor faces being struck off

A GP who breached his professional duty towards Baby P in the months leading up to the toddler's death faces being struck off after a disciplinary panel ruled today that his fitness to practise was impaired.

Full story: The Independent

Child protection chiefs warn officials over full serious case review plans

Representatives at councils involved in England's most high-profile child protection cases are urging civil servants to proceed with utmost caution in carrying out government plans to publish serious case reviews in full.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

President issues new guidance on McKenzie Friends

The Master of the Rolls and the President of the Family Division have issued new guidance on McKenzie Friends in light of the increase in litigants-in-person in all levels of the civil and family courts.

Full story: Family Law

Call to limit use of court guardians

Independent children's guardians will not be allocated to non-urgent family court cases, under plans set to be considered by the ongoing review of the family justice system.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Support for reform of SCRs gathers momentum

Momentum is gathering behind a push to replace the current system of serious case reviews with a model devised by the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Full story: Community Care

Independent social workers refute attack on their court role

Independent social workers have been left dismayed by calls from directors of children's services to end their role in care application proceedings.

Full story: Community Care

Number of children in secure children’s homes falls by 10%

The Department for Education has released statistics on children accommodated in secure children's homes at 31 March 2010.

Full story: Family Law Week

Pre-nups set to become legally binding in English divorce courts

Multi-million pound divorce cases could become a thing of the past under radical proposals to make prenuptial contracts legally enforceable.

Full story: The Sunday Telegraph

ADCS chief says independent social worker role should end

Independent social workers' role in court should cease, according to Marion Davis, president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services.

Full story: Community Care

Care-leaver plans must be reviewed by social workers, judge rules

Plans for children leaving care must be reviewed by a social worker rather than a personal adviser, a High Court judge has ruled.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Baby P GP 'guilty of misconduct'

Baby Peter's GP Dr Jerome Ikwueke has been found guilty of a serious breach of professional duty.

Full story: BBC News

Council hired £700-a-day consultants on child protection

A council spent £300,000 bringing in experts on £700-a-day rates after its child protection service was branded 'inadequate' – only to get exactly the same rating three years later.

Full story: Manchester Evening News

Call for 'international convention’ on parent relocation

A senior Court of Appeal judge has called for an international convention to establish a common approach in contested cases on the relocation of children, where one parent wishes to move abroad.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Marriage does not make relationships stable, says IFS think tank

Marriage does not make parents’ relationships more stable, according to an influential think-tank.

Full story: The Telegraph

Baby P council boss warns against Government attempts to improve child protection

Attempts by the Government to improve confidence in child protection are likely to backfire, the council chief sacked over the Baby P scandal has warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

More children taken into care due to 'Baby P effect', says Shoesmith

The former head of Haringey children's services, Sharon Shoesmith, has condemned "naive" politicians for unwittingly creating a "Baby P effect" which has seen hundreds more children being taken into care.

Full story: The Independent

Social care problems not down to funding, says Laming

Problems in children's social care cannot be blamed on a lack of funding, according to Lord Laming, author of two government reviews into child protection.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Revised protocol for referrals of families to Supported Child Contact Centres

The National Association of Child Contact Centres has produced a revised protocol for referrals of families to Supported Child Contact Centres, designed to assist judges and magistrates who are proposing to make orders for contact involving the use of a one of their centres.

Full story: Family Law

Number of new private-fostering reports increases

The number of new reports of children being cared for in private fostering arrangements has risen by nine per cent in the past year, the latest figures reveal.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Sharon Shoesmith considers further appeal

Sharon Shoesmith has yet to decide whether to appeal a High Court decision preventing a judicial review of her sacking as director of children's services at Haringey Council after the Baby P case in December 2008.

Full story: Community Care

Sharon Shoesmith warns about 'Baby P effect' on social services

Sacked head of Haringey children's services to say that panic adversely affects social workers without reducing child deaths.

Full story: The Guardian

Family lawyers warn against dangers of cost cutting

Family solicitors have welcomed the government’s aim of encouraging alternatives to court in its review of the family justice system, but warned the focus must not only be cost cutting.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Lord Justice Munby calls for further opening up of the family courts

ALC Hershman-Levy Memorial Lecture analyses reform of public and press access to family proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Couple warned over allowing children to cycle to school alone

A couple have been warned they could be reported to social services unless they stop their young children cycling to school on their own.

Full story: The Telegraph

If your friends get divorced, you could be next in line

Academic research finds that relationship break-ups within groups of friends can be contagious.

Full story: The Observer

Boris Johnson 'backs calls for gay marriage'

Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, has backed calls for an end to the ban on same-sex marriages, a prominent gay rights campaigner claimed.

Full story: The Telegraph

Forced adoption is a truly dreadful scandal

Social workers are removing children from loving families without proper justification, says Christopher Booker.

Full story: The Telegraph

Russian oligarch facing world's most expensive divorce

A Russian oligarch is facing the biggest divorce payment in history after his wife demanded a £3.8 billion settlement.

Full story: The Telegraph

Minister Lynne Featherstone indicates gay marriage a step closer

Homosexual couples could be allowed to “marry” in traditional religious ceremonies for the first time, a government minister has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Ten-year plan for Welsh social services to be published in 2011

A blueprint for reforming social services in Wales over the next 10 years will be published in early 2011, the Welsh Assembly government has announced.

Full story: Community Care

Mother loses appeal over baby's removal

The "draconian powers" of social workers to order a child to be taken from a mother who turns out to be innocent is a cost to be paid to protect the vulnerable, appeal judges said today.

Full story: The Independent

Modern Britain delays parenthood, ONS report shows

Britons are having babies later, are less like to marry and claim double the welfare benefits compared to the 1970s, a report has revealed.

Full story: BBC News

Lord Justice Thorpe: Relocation - the search for common principles

The head of international family justice, Lord Justice Thorpe, on what the law says about what happens to children when parents relocate. Speech to London Metropolitan University 30th June 2010.

Full story: The Guardian (recommend view Fullscreen)

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Bill 2010-11

A Bill to amend section 5 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 to include serious harm to a child or vulnerable adult; to make consequential amendments to the Act; and for connected purposes.

Progress of the Bill: Parliament UK

Baby P social worker wins libel compensation

A Haringey social worker today accepted undisclosed compensation over the authority's false claim that she did not raise concerns about returning Baby P to his mother.

Full story: The Independent

Cuts on the agenda of family justice review

The Ministry of Justice has launched a ‘comprehensive review’ of the family justice system, appointing a panel of experts to hear evidence on how the system can improve. However, the panel chair has admitted a principal catalyst for the review is the government’s desire to make spending cuts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Lawyers warn that court closures could threaten access to justice

Lawyers have warned that government proposals to close nearly a third of the courts in England and Wales could threaten access to justice and increase pressure on legal aid practitioners.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Specialist unit reports more male forced marriages

The government unit dealing with forced marriages received 65% more calls about male victims last year than the previous year, figures show.

Full story: BBC News

Baby Peter clinic 'did not heed doctors' concerns'

A doctor who worked at the north London clinic where Baby Peter was seen days before his death said managers failed to heed his concerns.

Full story: BBC News