Child violence against parents on rise

Children are increasingly likely to attack their parents both physically and verbally, a leading charity warns today.

Full story: The Observer

Adoption system fails the most vulnerable

Hundreds of vulnerable children are stuck in foster care because local authorities are short of cash and begrudge paying adoption agencies to place youngsters with families.

Full story: The Independent on Sunday

Abused children 'at greater risk' after U-turn on court fees

Abused children will be at greater risk after the government abandoned plans to abolish expensive court fees, according to child protection experts.

Full story: The Observer

Christian couple who cannot accept homosexuality challenge their fostering ban

A Christian couple who were banned from becoming foster parents because they believed homosexuality was unacceptable are taking their case to the High Court in a landmark legal challenge.

Full story: The Telegraph

Minister calls for more child protection volunteers

Volunteer social workers should be recruited to help overstretched professionals working on child protection cases, the children's minister, Tim Loughton, has proposed.

Full story: The Guardian

Senior judge slams court closures

The senior presiding judge for England and Wales has criticised the government’s plans to close 157 courts, in a consultation response intended to reflect the views of many judges and ­magistrates.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Record maintenance payments and more children benefiting as Child Support Agency progress continues.

The performance of the Child Support Agency has continued its steady improvement with the latest figures setting new records both for total maintenance payments and the number of children benefiting from them.

Full story: Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Child protection staff still failing to do job properly, Ofsted finds

Watchdog finds fewer than half of serious case reviews better than adequate and authorities frequently too trusting of parents.

Full story: The Guardian

Child abuse reviews improve slowly, say inspectors

More than one in six official inquiries into the most serious cases of child abuse in England are inadequate, the watchdog Ofsted has warned.

Full story: BBC News

Lawyers call for details of £350m legal aid budget cut

Lawyers have called on the Ministry of Justice to give details of how it intends to cut £350m from the legal aid budget, following the outcome of the government’s spending review, announced last week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Children 'at risk' over court fees

Solicitors have warned that local authorities may be deterred from placing vulnerable children into care, following the government’s decision not to scrap the controversial court fees paid by councils in care and supervision cases.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Tycoon wins £1m cut to £8m divorce award

City tycoon Maurice Robson won a £1 million cut to the £8 million he was ordered to pay his ex-wife today in a divorce settlement described by a judge as "half of the carcass of the golden goose".

Full story: The Independent

Guidance on cases where one parent has been killed by the other

This guidance and case resume has been issued by Mrs Justice Hogg.

Full story: Family Law

The Children and Adoption Act 2006 (Commencement No. 4) Order 2010

This Order brings into force on 28th October 2010 section 13 of the Children and Adoption Act 2006.

Statutory Instrument

LSC rules out appeal against family tender judgment

The Legal Services Commission has announced that it will not appeal against the High Court’s judgment following the Law Society’s successful challenge to the family tender process.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Social Work Reform Board's submission to Family Justice Review criticised

The British Association of Social Workers has sharply criticised the Social Work Reform Board for contributing to the Family Justice Review without fully consulting the views of all Board representatives.

Full story: Family Law

Lord chief justice calls for reform of family system

The adversarial court system is not appropriate for settling parental disputes over the custody of children, the lord chief justice said today.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Baby Peter 'was failed by all agencies'

Baby Peter's "horrifying death" was down to the incompetence of almost every member of staff who came into contact with him, official reports say.

Full story: BBC News

Baby P officials failed to check on mother's boyfriend, papers reveal

Full publication of serious case reviews show social worker failed to check on violent partner who was involved in death of Peter.

Full story: The Guardian

Man in 50s ordered to behave in parents' home

A family court has issued a rare order forcing a middle aged man to behave properly in his parents' home.

Full story: The Telegraph

Care Matters funding to be reduced by almost half in four years, minister reveals

Government funding to improve the care system and narrow the gap between children in care and their peers will be halved by 2014, CYP Now has learned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Baby P examination details 'ignored' by official report

Details of a Great Ormond Street Hospital doctor's crucial medical examination of Baby Peter were excluded from the official report into his death, due to be published on Tuesday, BBC London has learned.

Full story: BBC News

Serious harm cases 'should not merit SCR'

Serious case reviews (SCRs) ought to focus on child deaths rather than children who have suffered serious harm, according to a government review of SCRs over the past seven years.

Full story: Community Care

Spending review analysis: Future unclear for children's social care

Now the comprehensive spending review guillotine has fallen, the messy chopping up what's left with tiny local axes has begun.

Full story: Community Care

Couples bid to overturn gay marriage law

A campaign to overturn the bans on gay marriage and heterosexual civil partnerships is to begin next month when eight couples will file applications at British register offices for ceremonies they are presently not allowed to hold.

Full story: The Observer

Children at risk over court fees

Solicitors have warned that local authorities may be deterred from placing vulnerable children into care, following the government’s decision not to scrap the controversial court fees paid by local authorities in care and supervision cases.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

One in ten children born to parents living apart

Nearly one in ten of babies were born to parents living apart last year, according to official figures.

Full story: The Telegraph

Spending Review: Cuts are 'child protection challenge'

Councils will face a challenge to fund child protection services after the spending cuts in England, the Local Government Association has warned.

Full story: BBC News

High thresholds leaving children without social workers

Children are suffering because of increasingly high thresholds in children's social care, a leading professor of social work has claimed.

Full story: Community Care

Child care proceedings fees no longer to be abolished

The government has announced that court fees in child care proceedings will no longer be abolished in April 2011 as previously planned.

Full story: Family Law

72% of British people agree prenups should be recognised

Following yesterday's Supreme Court decision that a prenuptial agreement is binding in the divorce of German heiress Katrin Radmacher, a survey has found that 72% of the population think that prenuptial agreements should be recognised in UK courts.

Full story: Family Law

LSC announces contract extension to 14 December

The Legal Services Commission has announced that all current ‘family only’ and ‘family with housing’ legal aid contracts will be extended until 14 December, following the Law Society’s successful judicial review of the tender process.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Pre-nuptial agreements recognised as German heiress wins fight to keep fortune

Pre-nuptial agreements have effectively been given offical status in British law after a German heiress won a landmark ruling to withhold the vast majority of her £100 million fortune from her ex-husband.

Full story: The Telegraph

Prenup ruling could lead to exploitation of vulnerable

Supreme court ruling could result in the vulnerable and financially weaker party feeling compelled to sign prenups.

Full story: The Guardian

Ministry of Justice budget cut by 23%

The chancellor George Osborne has announced in the government's spending review that the Ministry of Justice's budget will be cut by 23% from around £9.5 billion to £7 billion over four years.

Full story: Family Law

Justice budget will fall to £7bn in four years

The Ministry of Justice will see its budget cut by £2.5bn over the next four years, the chancellor George Osborne announced in the government’s spending review this afternoon.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Prenup business on brink of a boom

A landmark decision to uphold a prenuptial agreement may spur more couples to protect their assets before exchanging vows.

Full story: The Guardian

Pre-nup judgment a “major step forward”

Today’s historic judgment on the status of pre-nuptial agreements is a victory for fairness and common sense, 5,500 strong family lawyers’ association Resolution has said today.

Full story: Resolution

German heiress: legal implications of pre-nuptial ruling

The victory of Katrin Radmacher, a German heiress, in her pre-nuptial agreement court battle has created a "rich man's charter" in divorce cases, lawyers claim.

Full story: The Telegraph

Supreme Court upholds Court of Appeal decision in Radmacher

In Radmacher (formerly Granatino) v Granatino [2010] UKSC 42 the Supreme Court has decided by a majority (Lady Hale dissenting) that the Court of Appeal was correct to hold the husband to the pre-nuptial agreement made by the parties.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court finds in favour of prenuptial contracts in Radmacher

The Supreme Court has found in favour of Katrin Radmacher and held that the Court of Appeal was correct in allowing the enforcement of a prenuptial agreement.

Full story: Family Law

Supreme Court rules in favour of pre-nuptial agreement

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that a pre-nuptial agreement is binding in the case of a German paper company heiress.

Full story: BBC News

Celebrity divorces and pre-nups cheapen marriage says bishop

Multi-million pound celebrity divorces and pre-nuptial agreements threaten to “cheapen” the institution of marriage, a leading bishop has warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

New guidance on how to better support children in care

Improved access to mental health services should be made available as standard practice for children and young people in care, according to new guidance from National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Full story: Family Law

Prenup agreements may become legally binding in England and Wales

A landmark divorce case could today change the face of British divorce law, with prenuptial agreements finally considered to be legally-binding in England and Wales if the Supreme Court rules against the ex-husband of a German heiress.

Full story: The Guardian

Supreme Court to rule on heiress pre-nuptial agreement

A decision by the Supreme Court later in the divorce case of a German heiress could change the law on pre-nuptial agreements in England and Wales.

Full story: BBC News

What next for the family courts?

In the first of a new series of Law In Action Joshua Rozenberg speaks to the Head of the Family Court Division Sir Nicholas Wall about what the future holds and how the sytem can be changed to help those caught up in it.

Full story: Law in Action

Divorce system debate

Divorce law in England is "unfair, uncertain and expensive", peers have heard.

Full story: BBC

Lords debate reforming divorce laws

On Monday evening the House of Lords debated reforming the laws governing divorce, including prenuptial contracts and no-fault divorce.

Full story: Family Law

Family court media reporting delays 'wise'

The government was wise to defer a decision on whether the media should be able to report family court hearings, according to a senior judge.

Full story: BBC News

Keep warring couples out of court with no-fault marriage break-up say divorce reformers

A review of the divorce system is set to push for the introduction of a system of no-fault marriage break-up.

Full story: Daily Mail

Children in care need better support, guidelines say

Teachers and healthcare and social workers must work together better to improve the lives of children in care, new guidelines say.

Full story: BBC News

Rush to save money threatens family justice

Family law association Resolution has today called for a return to evidence based policymaking on family law and warned against simplistic solutions to the complexities of family breakdown.

Full story: Resolution

Lucy Theis QC appointed to the High Court

The former chairman of the Family Law Bar Association, Lucy Theis QC, has been appointed to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 15 November 2010.

Full story: Family Law

Court of Appeal ruling safeguards rights for young people leaving care

In the case of R (SO) v London Borough of Barking & Dagenham [2010] EWCA Civ 1101, the Court of Appeal has clarified the duty of local authorities to provide accommodation for young people leaving care at the age of 18 where their welfare requires it.

Full story: Family Law Week

Lawyers to be kept out of divorce battles

Lawyers will be kept out of thousands of family dispute cases every year in a shake-up of divorce laws.

Full story: The Telegraph

Landmark ruling for prenups in battle of multimillionaire heiress and her ex

Financial agreements made before marriage are binding in Europe but not in England. A court ruling is likely to change that this week.

Full story: The Observer

Divorce battle over offshore assets to be used as a test case in Appeal Court

A costly divorce battle brought by the wife of a wealthy City trader who is demanding a share of his alleged offshore assets has been referred to the Appeal Court as a test case.

Full story: The Telegraph

Sir Nicholas Wall says family judges were slow to tackle domestic abuse

The President of the Family Division has said in a speech given to a Resolution conference on domestic abuse that family judges focused too much on the future of relationships instead of investigating allegations of domestic abuse.

Full story: Family Law

One in ten men would hide assets from partner in divorce

At least one in 10 men would attempt to hide their assets from their ex-partners to avoid having to surrender 50 per cent in court, according to a survey.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family lawyers await LSC appeal move

Uncertainty mounted over the future of family legal aid contracts this week, as solicitors await a decision by the Legal Services Commission on whether it will appeal a High Court ruling that its tender process was unlawful.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Sir Nicholas Wall, President Family Division delivers keynote address at domestic abuse conference

Keynote address by the President for the National Resolution Domestic Abuse Conference.

Full story: Resolution

Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to be scrapped

The government has announced this morning that the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is amongst 192 quangos that are to be scrapped.

Full story: Family Law

Forced mediation 'may not serve interests of children'

Family solicitors have warned that government plans to divert private law disputes over children away from the courts and towards mediation may not lead to child-focused outcomes.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Heiress sacks Vardag for Farrers ahead of Supreme Court ruling

Farrer & Co, the firm that acted for Prince Charles in his divorce from Princess Diana and more recently for Sir Paul McCartney against Heather Mills, will be appearing at the Supreme Court as lawyers for Katrin Radmacher next week.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Senior family court judges back Cafcass at MPs' inquiry

Two of the country's top family judges have backed Cafcass, with reservations, claiming there has been no deterioration in the quality of children's guardian reports despite the increase in public law care applications.

Full story: Community Care

Top family judge warns of longer care proceedings delays

Britain's top family judge has warned of even longer delays in care proceedings if the government fails to fully resource the family courts and children's services.

Full story: Community Care

Illegal fertility company owners given jail term

Nigel Woodforth and Ricky Gage jailed for nine months, suspended for two years, for providing sperm without a licence.

Full story: The Guardian

Baby P doctor applies to leave medical register

Doctor accused of failing to spot Baby P's abuse days before his death is seeking to have name removed from the medical register.

Full story: The Guardian

No further media access before Family Justice Review is completed

Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly has stated that the government has decided to wait until the Family Justice Review has published its final report before determining whether to allow more media access to family courts.

Full story: Family Law

Fallout from benefits cuts set to land on social workers

The chancellor's announcement last week of a benefits cap could see children's services in some areas swamped with new cases, experts are warning.

Full story: Community Care

Justice Minister issues statement about reporting of family proceedings

Commencement of Part 2 of the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 to await Family Justice Review.

Full story: Family Law Week

70% of social workers have been unable to protect children because of job constraints

A survey undertaken by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has revealed that 70% of social workers have been unable to protect a child because of the constraints of their job.

Full story: Family Law Week

Chancery Lane seeks family contracts extension

The Law Society has called on the Legal Services Commission to extend existing family contracts until April 2012, following Chancery Lane’s successful High Court challenge to the family tender process.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Munro's ICS proposal 'unrealistic', says expert

Professor Eileen Munro's suggestion that the Integrated Children's System could be developed to support social work decision-making is unrealistic, according to an ICS expert.

Full story: Community Care

Feuding parents could be refused legal aid unless they mediate

Feuding parents could be refused legal aid in custody battles unless they try mediation first, the justice minister signalled yesterday.

Full story: The Telegraph

Chancery Lane calls for appraisal system for family judges

An appraisal system should be introduced for family judges, so that they can hear feedback on their performance and to reassure the public about the quality of the judiciary, the Law Society has suggested.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Children at risk because of pressure on social workers, research finds

Seven in 10 social workers admit being unable to protect a child because of the constraints of their job.

Full story: The Guardian

Justice Minister takes to the airwaves to promote family mediation

More people should consider mediation rather than going to court to sort out family disputes, Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly has told radio listeners.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Government set to introduce tax break for married couples

The government plans to introduce a tax break for married couples that would partly compensate those losing out from its decision to cut child benefit for higher earners, the Guardian has learned.

Full story: The Guardian

'Arrogant' social worker removed child from carer

A social worker has been branded "arrogant and impetuous" by the General Social Care Council after she removed a child from care against the advice of colleagues.

Full story: Community Care

US House of Representatives calls on Japan to address child abductions

The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling on the Government of Japan to address the problem of abduction of US citizen children in Japan.

Full story: Family Law

Part one of the Munro Review published

Professor Eileen Munro has published the first part of her review of how to remove the barriers and bureaucracy in child protection services.

Full story: Family Law

Parents need maintenance help

Social workers, midwives and early years professionals should play a key role in helping separating families sort out child maintenance arrangements, according to the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Social workers encouraged by Munro review, says Loughton

The first instalment of Professor Eileen Munro's review has "struck a chord" with frontline social workers, according to children's minister Tim Loughton.

Full story: Community Care

Professor Munro sets out initial analysis of child protection system

Professor Eileen Munro has set out her initial analysis on the child protection system in England. She has found that processes and procedures, and the unintentional consequences of previous reforms, are getting in the way of social workers spending time with vulnerable children and families.

Full story: Family Law Week

New study shows strong support in favour of including cohabitants on intestacy

Study anticipates Law Commission report on intestacy and family provision.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child benefit to be withdrawn from middle classes

Child benefit will be withdrawn from higher-rate taxpayers, George Osborne has announced, in a move designed to save a billion pounds a year.

Full story: The Telegraph

LSC hit by £300,000 legal bill over tender

The Legal Services Commission faces a £300,000 bill for the Law Society’s legal costs, after losing a High Court battle over its family tender process.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Long delays by adoption agencies result in adopted people and birth families taking ‘unacceptable risks’

Almost one in five adopted people and birth families have waited 6 months or more for information about their birth relatives from professional adoption tracing agencies.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child protection referrals rise by 6 per cent in 2009/10

Statistics released last week show that in 2009/10, there were 13,523 child protection referrals (an increase of 6% compared with 2008/09), of which 4,660 (34% of all child protection referrals) resulted in an inter-agency case conference (compared with 37% in 2008/09).

Full story: Family Law Week

Children in care rise by 6 per cent in year to March 2010

There were 64,400 looked after children as at 31 March 2010, an increase of 6 per cent from 2009 and an increase of 7 per cent since 2006.

Full story: Family Law Week

President emphasises the importance of new joint agreement with Cafcass

Cafcass and the President of the Family Division have extended temporary case allocation procedures for another year.

Full story: Family Law

Munro: Ofsted needs to take on board social workers' views

Ofsted inspections need to incorporate the views of service users and give more voice to social workers on the frontline, according to Professor Eileen Munro.

Full story: Community Care

Munro report welcomed but little mention of thresholds

Sector leaders have welcomed Professor Eileen Munro’s first report identifying the problems within child protection but an expert has criticised her failure to tackle the issue of thresholds.

Full story: Community Care

LSC may appeal legal aid ruling

Following the High Court's decision yesterday to quash the outcome of the Legal Services Commission's tender round for new family legal aid contracts, the chair of the LSC, Sir Bill Callaghan, has said they are considering appealing the decision.

Full story: Family Law

Serious case reviews should look at good practice, says Munro

Serious case reviews should also look at good practice as the current system does not support a learning culture, Professor Eileen Munro said today.

Full story: Community Care

Resolution strikes warning note on family legal aid victory

The family legal aid tendering round was “unfair, unlawful and irrational”, the High Court has ruled. The Law Society is celebrating the result. Resolution chair David Allison, however, said the ruling made him “concerned about the future”.

Full story: New Law Journal

Munro review: social workers fail children due to focus on rules

Social workers are failing to meet the needs of children because they are too focused on complying with regulations and meeting targets, according to the first instalment of Professor Eileen Munro's review of children's social services in England, published today.

Full story: Community Care

Rise in children in care since Baby P

The number of children in care has dramatically risen following the death of Baby Peter, official statistics showed yesterday.

Full story: The Independent

Child services leaders warn of cuts 'perfect storm'

Child protection services leaders in England are warning of a "perfect storm", with expected funding cuts coming as numbers of referrals rise.

Full story: BBC News