Law Society wins family tender challenge

The Law Society has won its High Court challenge to the Legal Services Commission’s family tender process.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Law Society wins judicial review over family legal aid tender

The Law Society has won its judicial review over the family legal aid tender after the High Court decided to quash the outcome of the tender round for new family legal aid contracts.

Full story: Family Law

Interim Cafcass guidance extended another year

Temporary measures which permitted family courts body Cafcass to allocate cases to teams of duty guardians are to be extended for another year until October 2011.

Full story: Community Care

Family justice review chair David Norgrove: 'we can't go on like this'

An "institutionalised lack of trust" in local authority social work and a tendency for professionals to blame each other are among the early concerns identified by the family justice review.

Full story: Community Care

Number of children in care rises by 6%

The number of looked-after children in England has risen by 6% (64, 400) since last year, new statistics from the Department for Education show.

Full story: Community Care

Child protection services becoming 'overwhelmed'

Association of Directors of Children's Services survey finds 52% increase in number of children referred to social workers.

Full story: The Guardian

Revised guidance on communicating with the Home Office

The President of the Family Division has issued revised guidance on communicating with the Home Office in family proceedings.

Full story: Family Law

Council to pay after wrongful care bid for children

Coventry City Council has been ordered to pay £100,000 towards parents' court costs after it tried to put three of their children into care.

Full story: BBC News

Public Law Children cases fall in second quarter of 2010

Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice show that in the second quarter of 2010 there were 6,100 children involved in public law applications, a slight drop from the 6,600 involved in the equivalent period for 2009.

Full story: Family Law Week

Surge in judges ordering parenting classes

The number of warring parents being ordered by judges to attend parenting classes has tripled to 3,000 in five months, the Gazette has learned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Thousands more children referred to social services in recent years

Thousands more Welsh children are being referred to social services than they were two years ago.

Full story: WalesOnline

UK Border Agency turns down requests for non-EU social workers

The temporary immigration cap is preventing councils from addressing their social worker shortages with non-EU workers.

Full story: The Guardian

US Matrimonial Lawyers see rise in prenuptial agreements

In a recent survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 73% of divorce attorneys reported an increase in prenuptial agreements during the past five years.

Full story: Family Law Week

Future of Cafcass, Children’s Commissioner and even Supreme Court under review

A list of quangos leaked to and published by the Daily Telegraph last week names 177 bodies which are to be abolished, 129 which are to be consolidated or merged and a further 94 still under review.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s Rights Alliance publishes minimum requirements for new office of Children's Rights Commissioner

Based on the framework advocated by 130+ non-governmental organisations in 2001, these new minimum requirements were developed by many of the country's leading children's charities.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass says parenting classes help warring parents to put their children first

Following the criticism by Sir Nicholas Wall, President of the Family Division, of the damage caused by separating parents to their children through their ongoing contact and residence disputes, Cafcass has drawn attention to the assistance offered by court-ordered Separated Parents Information Programmes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Birmingham council ordered to improve child protection

Birmingham City Council is to be issued with a second government Improvement Notice, after a critical Ofsted report into children's services in July.

Full story: BBC News

Cafcass seeks stability as government reviews its future

Cafcass has pledged that it is "business as usual" after being listed as one of several public bodies whose future is under review by government.

Full story: Community Care

LSC puts its case in family judicial review

On the second day of the Law Society’s judicial review of the Legal Services Commission’s tender for family legal aid work, counsel for the LSC today told the High Court that it should have been ‘obvious’ to solicitors that panel membership was going to be an important factor in the bid process.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Social workers thought Baby P's mother 'just needed support'

Social workers believed Baby P's mother was a "caring but inadequate" parent who just needed support, an employment tribunal heard today.

Full story: The Independent

Croydon Council launches social work academy for children and family social workers

Croydon launched one of the first social work academies in the UK yesterday. The Children, Young People and Learners Academy will provide new and experienced social workers with structured training.

Full story: Community Care

ILF to shut and Cafcass under review in bonfire of quangos

The Independent Living Fund will shut while the futures of family courts body Cafcass and the Youth Justice Board are in doubt as part of a government cull of quangos, it has emerged.

Full story: Community Care

Children say social workers lack respect, finds the children's commissioner

Social workers too often fail to communicate well with children or show them respect, the Office of the Children's Commissioner has claimed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Law Society puts legal aid tender case to the High Court

The Law Society warned that the Legal Services Commission’s family tender process will restrict access to justice for victims of domestic abuse, forced marriage and children, as its judicial review of the tender process began in the High Court today.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Senior Lib Dem accuses government over child protection

A leading Liberal Democrat children's spokesperson has accused the coalition of radically changing child protection policy without considering its impact.

Full story: Community Care

Legal aid: judicial review update

The High Court yesterday unexpectedly postponed the hearing of the Law Society's expedited judicial review application by two days.

Full story: The Law Society

Call for Evidence - Family Justice Review

The Call for Evidence for the Family Justice Review closes on 30 September - so just a few days left for people to provide feedback about the way the system can be improved.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Clegg to discuss same-sex marriages with Cameron

Liberal Democrat demands for gay marriage to be legalised opened up a fresh rift with the party's Tory coalition partners last night.

Full story: The Independent

Baby Peter pair disciplinary probe 'flawed'‎

Two social workers involved in the care of Baby Peter escaped the sack after a "deeply flawed" disciplinary process, an employment tribunal has heard.

Full story: BBC News

Cafcass highlights benefits of parenting classes

Following a speech in which Sir Nicholas Wall warned that separating parents risk damaging their children through their ongoing contact and residence disputes, Cafcass has highlighted the benefits of court-ordered Separated Parents Information Programmes.

Full story: Family Law

Lib Dems call for end to barriers to gay marriage

Lib Dem members have urged ministers to recognise gay marriage as a "distinctly liberal" step to a more equal society.

Full story: BBC News

High Court judge warns parents not to describe ex-partners as 'ogres'

Parents who separate must not describe their estranged partners as “ogres” to their children, one of Britain’s most senior judges has warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children 'used as ammunition' in separations

Parents who split up are damaging children's welfare by using them as 'ammunition', according to a senior court judge.

Full story: The Guardian

President warns legal aid in private law proceedings could be abolished

The President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall, has warned that legal aid for private law proceedings may be abolished as an outcome of the Family Justice Review.

Full story: Family Law

Baby P social workers claim unfair dismissal

Two social workers sacked over the Baby P tragedy took their former employer to an employment tribunal today.

Full story: The Independent

DfE to boost spread of GP-style social work practices

Independent social work practices for children in care will be piloted more widely as part of the government's Big Society agenda, the Department for Education has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Baby P clinic doctor Kim Holt to sue NHS

A doctor who raised concerns about the clinic where Baby P was seen days before his death is suing the NHS, claiming she was forced out of her job.

Full story: BBC News

Courts should be a last resort says minister

Minister Jonathan Djanogly has said that more use should be made of mediation as an alternative to using courts in civil and family justice disputes.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Legal aid tender exercise: judicial review update

The Law Society reports that the Legal Services Commission has not accepted the Society's proposed terms of reference for an immediate nationwide review of the tender outcome and its impact on access to justice.

Full story: Family Law Week

Deputy Children's Commissioner welcomes decision to revisit measures on media access to family courts

Sue Berelowitz, Deputy Children's Commissioner for England, has welcomed the Ministry of Justice decision to look again at the measures in the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 that would allow journalists to report more widely on family court proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Outcry! expresses concern about government’s wavering on child immigration detention pledge

Following a report by The Guardian that the government plans to dilute its pledge to end the immigration detention of children, Medical Justice has released a report documenting further damaging effects of the practice.

Full story: Family Law Week

Two men convicted for breaching Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act

Two men from Reading, Berkshire, have been convicted today for running a fertility website without a licence, which made sperm available from anonymous donors to women who wanted to conceive.

Full story: Family Law

Peter Jackson QC appointed as a High Court Judge

Following Mrs Justice Black elevation to the Court of Appeal, Peter Jackson QC has been appointed as a High Court Judge with effect from 1 October 2010.

Full story: Family Law

Media access to family courts could be reversed

The Ministry of Justice is planning to review controversial measures passed by the previous government that would allow the media more access to family court cases.

Full story: Community Care

Newspapers complain to MPs about access to family courts

The Newspaper Society has presented a submission to the House of Commons' Justice Select Committee's inquiry into the operation of the family courts, claiming the new Children, Schools & Families Act 2010 will not succeed in delivering greater accountability.

Full story: Family Law

Publishers protest at reporting restrictions in family court cases

The Newspaper Society has complained that the Children, Schools and Families Act has made legal cases covered by the Act less transparent because they are virtually unreportable.

Full story: The Guardian

Haringey's children's services 'improving', says Ofsted

Standards at children's social services at Haringey Council have improved, a snap Ofsted inspection has found.

Full story: BBC News

Solicitors queue up to sue LSC

Pressure is mounting on the Legal Services Commission over its handling of the tender for civil legal aid contracts, as it faces a growing number of judicial review challenges to the process, and talks with the Law Society broke down.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

MoJ to review media reporting in family courts

The Ministry of Justice has told the Gazette that it will not commence legislation that would extend the media’s right to report family cases without ‘looking closely’ at the changes, amid pressure from family lawyers.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Government denies serious case review U-turn

The government may have to retract its promise to retrospectively publish four serious case reviews in full, as one of these reviews might put surviving siblings at risk, children's minister Tim Loughton has admitted.

Full story: Community Care

Welsh safeguarding project to embed consultant social workers

Consultant social workers in multi-agency teams are set to be embedded in children's services in Wales with the launch today of a safeguarding project.

Full story: Community Care

ContactPoint replacement may not be IT-based, says Loughton

ContactPoint may not be replaced by a computerised system, children's minister Tim Loughton said today.

Full story: Community Care

Shoesmith hits back over sacking

Sharon Shoesmith has hit back over her sacking by Haringey Council after the death of Baby Peter.

Full story: BBC News

Child bride, 14, banned from leaving Australia by judge to prevent arranged marriage

A judge has banned a 14-year-old girl from leaving Australia because her parents had arranged for her to be married to a man she has never met.

Full story: Daily Mail

Guidance in cases of stranded spouses

This Guidance is issued by Mrs Justice Hogg for wardship cases where a a parent has been left stranded abroad by the other parent.

Full story: Family Law

Abused children 'better off in care'

Trying to reunite maltreated children with families runs a high risk of failure, report shows.

Full story: The Guardian

Social work unions threaten industrial action

Trade union leaders representing thousands of social care workers are preparing to vote on possible industrial action in protest at the government's spending cuts.

Full story: Community Care

MEPs call for EU-wide recognition of same-sex relationships

Members of the European Parliament have called for action to ensure that same-sex couples in marriages and civil partnerships are recognised across the European Union.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications remain at highest ever level

Care application demand in the period between April and August 2010 has remained at a very high level.

Full story: Family Law Week

Department for Education launches new initiative for children's home

The Department for Education is launching a new programme of work to bring improvements in children's homes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Law Society’s application for judicial review of LSC tendering process – latest information

As reported previously, the High Court has granted the Law Society's application for expedition and listed the judicial review of the Legal Services Commission's legal aid tendering process for trial on 21 and 22 September 2010 with an estimated length of one and a half days.

Full story: Family Law Week

Wife in £400m divorce battle 'to move into council-funded flat'

Michelle Young, the woman at the centre of a £400 million divorce case, has applied for housing benefit because her husband has yet to pay maintenance, it is reported.

Full story: The Telegraph

Privately fostered children 'open to abuse'

Poor regulation of private fostering is leaving hundreds of children vulnerable to abuse, an investigation for the BBC's Newsnight programme has found.

Full story: BBC News

West Sussex County Council hires social workers from US

Fourteen social workers have been recruited in the US to work in Sussex.

Full story: BBC News

Shoesmith to give evidence to inquiry

Former Haringey director of children's services will appear before meeting of education select committee next week.

Full story: The Guardian

MPs to get advice from Baby P boss: Fury as Shoesmith invited to talk on child safety

The disgraced former head of social services at the heart of the Baby P scandal is to give advice to MPs on child safety, it was revealed last night.

Full story: Daily Mail

The Law Society will continue to fight over the legal aid tender

The President discusses the Law Society's action against the Legal Services Commission over the recent outcome of the family legal aid tender round, which will see the number of firms assigned to family law almost halved.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

LSC extends family contracts pending judicial review hearing

The Legal Services Commission has confirmed that all current civil contracts will be extended for one month, after the Law Society won an expedited hearing of its judicial review last week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Cuts to children's services like 'Armageddon'

Vulnerable children at risk as services countrywide struggle with post-Baby P increase in referrals, and the coalition government's 25% spending cuts.

Full story: The Guardian

Delay over civil legal aid contracts

The Law Society's legal action leads to uncertainty over legal aid contracts for family law and social welfare law.

Full story: The Guardian

SCR clears social workers in case of mum who killed daughters

The murder of two Cambridgeshire girls by their mother in 2007 could not have been prevented by social workers or any other professionals, according to the serious case review.

Full story: Community Care

High caseloads hitting social work practice

Sixteen per cent of social workers have more than 40 cases on the go, while nearly 90% say high case-loads are affecting their ability to practise good social work, a Community Care survey has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Cafcass interim guidance extended for another year

Temporary measures that permitted Cafcass to allocate cases to duty guardians are likely to be extended for another year, Cafcass chief executive Anthony Douglas said today.

Full story: Community Care

Family Legal Aid contract extension

Since The Law Society applied for judicial review of the Legal Services Commission's (LSC) conduct of the tendering process for family legal aid contracts, the Law Society and LSC have provisionally agreed a one month extension of the current unified civil contract.

Full story: Family Law

A fresh start for Sure Start

The previous government's flagship programme, Sure Start, is being refocused on hard-to-reach families.

Full story: Community Care

Fostering Network demands clarity on carer standards under latest review

The Fostering Network is calling for clarity on the requirements of carers amid plans to revise guidance on the training, support and development standards for foster care.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Study shows Sure Start centres effective at reaching vulnerable families

Sure Start children's centres are effectively targeting the most vulnerable families, according to a latest study of Ofsted reports by 4Children.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Opposition attacks Coalition’s stance on domestic violence

In an interview with The Independent, Alan Johnson, the former Home Secretary and current shadow minister, has accused his successor of developing a 'pattern of behaviour' that prejudices women.

Full story: Family Law Week

Indian ministries in conflict over Hague Convention ratification

The Hindustan Times reports that India's Ministry of Women and Child Development and the country's Law Ministry are in dispute as to whether India should ratify the Hague Convention 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mother who fled failed marriage faces extradition battle

A mother who fled to Britain with her three children more than a decade ago to escape a failed marriage is facing extradition to America charged with child kidnapping.

Full story: The Telegraph

More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male, report reveals

Campaign group Parity claims assaults by wives and girlfriends are often ignored by police and media.

Full story: The Observer

Judicial review update: expedited hearing and civil contracts to be extended

At a judicial review directions hearing this morning, the High Court granted our application for an expedited hearing of our challenge to the Legal Services Commission's conduct of the tendering process for family legal aid contracts.

Full story: The Law Society

Council set to halve foster carers' fees

Foster carers working for Slough Council face a 50% cut in the weekly fee paid for their first child.

Full story: Community Care

Councils warn home secretary over migrant cap impact on care

Council chiefs have told Home Office officials that a cap on overseas social workers will weaken child protection teams, putting vulnerable children at risk.

Full story: Community Care

Family legal aid set to suffer?

Solicitor’s firms are licking their wounds after receiving the results of the family legal aid bid round, with lawyers warnings of advice deserts and widespread redundancies.

Full story: New Law Journal

The Magistrates’ Courts Fees (Amendment No. 2) Order 2010

Amends the Magistrates' Courts Fees Order 2008 (S.I 2008/1052) as amended, including amendments to fees payable in family cases, primarily in private family law cases. Came into force on 1st September 2010.

Statutory Instrument

Sharon Shoesmith given leave to appeal court ruling on dismissal

Ed Balls' conduct criticised as judge rules that Shoesmith will pay only fraction of £350,000 costs.

Full story: The Guardian

Court fees increase by over 14% - further increases expected

New Family Proceedings and Magistrates Courts fees came into force today that increase the fees payable for proceedings in family cases by 14.12%.

Full story: Family Law

Law firms plan to escalate LSC tender challenge nationwide

The Legal Services Commission can expect a ‘nationwide’ challenge to the lawfulness of its recent tenders, according to an alliance of 12 family firms which plan to take the fight to the agency.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

What is the alternative to Cafcass?

Doubts over Cafcass's future fuel speculation over what could replace it.

Full story: Community Care