Up to £300m of child maintenance debts to be written off

More than £300million worth of historic child maintenance debts is to be written off, in a new move by ministers.

Full story: The Telegraph

Police to target domestic abuse among older couples

Serious case review into death of woman, 81, after alleged attack by husband, 88, recommends more education on issue.

Full story: The Guardian

Parents 'ask for children to be put into care so they can party on New Year's Eve'

Some feckless parents ask for their children to be looked after by the state over New Year's so they can spend the party season drinking, it has been claimed.

Full story: The Telegraph

Only 6% of new mothers believe Government is family-friendly

Only a handful of parents believe that David Cameron has fulfilled his promise to make his Government the most family-friendly ever.

Full story: The Telegraph

Arab Prince did marry model in Islamic ceremony but it is not valid under English law

A billionaire Arab prince had a "secret marriage" to a former model in London but because it is unrecognised in English law he will not be liable to pay a million pounds a year alimony, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.

Full story: The Telegraph

Adoptive parent checks: overhaul planned in England

The government is to overhaul the way people in England are checked to see if they are suitable to adopt children.

Full story: BBC News

Affair baby must be adopted - court

A baby at risk of becoming the victim of an "honour killing" because she was born as the result of her Muslim mother's secret affair must be adopted to keep her safe, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Full story: Belfast Telegraph

More money for children, as minister proposes end to child maintenance exemptions

Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller promised a new child maintenance system that was "fairer for children" today, as she answered questions on the exemption from maintenance liability for some part-time public servants.

Full story: Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

FJC MARAC Guidance

The Family Justice Council has published a report on multi-agency risk assessment conferences & disclosure into court proceedings.

Full story: Family Justice Council

Guidelines on children giving evidence

The Family Justice Council has produced a set of guidelines in relation to children giving evidence in family proceedings.

Full story: Family Justice Council

Young couples shun marriage over divorce fears

Young adults avoid getting married because they fear it will end in divorce, research suggests.

Full story: The Telegraph

Domestic Violence Protection Orders let victims 'escape'

More than 100 domestic abusers have been barred from their partners' homes in Greater Manchester.

Full story: BBC News

Foster family shortage puts more children at risk

Children in care rose sharply after Baby Peter case in 2008, with crisis building as recession contributes to family breakdowns.

Full story: The Guardian

Maria Miller targets CSA debt mountain

A consultation is launched today on plans to deal with some of the £3.8 billion in unpaid child maintenance.

Full story: Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Joint Committee publishes report on Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill

The Joint Committee on Human Rights today publishes its legislative scrutiny Report on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

Full story: UK Parliament

Fathers could be obliged to sign birth certificates

Fathers could be obliged to sign their baby’s birth certificate under proposals being considered by Downing Street.

Full story: The Telegraph

Clegg attacks Conservative plans to give married couples tax breaks

Nick Clegg is to attack Tory plans to introduce tax breaks for married couples, claiming ministers must not try to preserve a “1950s model” of family life in “aspic”.

Full story: The Telegraph

Girls’ secret father wins right to be on birth certificates

A father of twin girls must be identified on their birth certificates even though his children do not know he is their father, judges have ruled.

Full story: The Telegraph

Government rejects Munro early intervention duty

The government has refused to implement a key recommendation in the Munro Review of child protection to create an early intervention duty on councils.

Full story: Community Care

Social workers should be given more discretion to judge suitability of potential adopters, say Directors of Children’s Services

Local authorities and the family justice system must improve their procedures to speed up the adoption process, according to the Association of Directors of Children's Services.

Full story: Family Law Week

DfE publishes information on the outcomes for looked after children

For the second year the Department for Education has published information on the outcomes for looked after children – on this occasion as at 31 March 2011. Outcomes reported include education, health, offending and substance misuse.

Full story: Family Law Week

Resolution response to Law Commission recommendation on cohabitants' rights

Resolution responds to the Law Commission's recommendation today that certain cohabitants should be entitled to inheritance rights without a will.

Full story: Resolution

Extending domestic violence protection

Young people under 18 could be included in the cross-government definition of domestic violence for the first time, under a consultation launched by the Home Secretary Theresa May today.

Full story: Home Office

Law Commission draft Bill seeks to simplify intestacy and family provision claims on death

Commission also publishes draft bill governing inheritance rights of cohabitants.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government may expand definition of domestic violence

The government is launching a consultation on whether the definition of domestic violence should be widened.

Full story: BBC News

House of Lords urged to reject challenge to civil partnership rules tomorrow

Religious leaders have written an open letter to the House of Lords calling on them to reject the challenge facing the regulations for religious civil partnerships tomorrow.

Full story: Pink News

Parents who abduct children should face longer in prison, says top judge

Parents who abduct their own children could face life sentences because of the “unspeakable cruelty” they cause, the country’s most senior judge said yesterday.

Full story: The Telegraph

MP claims 1,000 children "wrongly" adopted every year

A Liberal Democrat MP is claiming up to 1,000 children a year in England are being adopted for the "wrong" reasons and should stay with their families.

Full story: BBC News

MPs take evidence on intervention thresholds in child protection inquiry

The Education Committee takes evidence on thresholds for intervention with families in a further session as part of its child protection inquiry.

Full story: UK Parliament

Babies safety concern high in study

Child protection campaigners call police or social services six times a day with concerns that babies are in serious danger, with most cases involving parental drug and alcohol abuse, figures have shown.

Full story: Press Association

Forced marriages in England could number 8,000

Data puts cases between 5,000 and 8,000 as government considers making coerced unions a criminal offence.

Full story: The Guardian

Moor J's judgment in middle income divorce reported

'Needs' case highlights the difficulties of achieving satisfactory outcomes in middle income disputes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social workers 'sex up abuse claims to snatch children for adoption'

Social workers regularly “sex up” dossiers on problem parents to take children into care and even to put them up for adoption, a whistleblower reveals today.

Full story: Sunday Express

Bullies face prosecution in domestic violence crackdown

Men who bully or abuse their partners in a "controlling" fashion could face criminal charges under a shake-up of domestic violence laws being planned by ministers.

Full story: The Telegraph

Fears of another Baby P as child care cases soar

Cases of vulnerable children needing the protection of Yorkshire’s care services are rocketing to “unprecedented levels” as social workers warn public spending cuts are increasing the risk of another Baby P tragedy.

Full story: Yorkshire Post

Government accused of breaching international law on children’s rights

CRAE says that the Coalition has made progress in only 18 of 118 recommendations.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child abuse rates 'have not declined'

Child maltreatment has not declined in spite of numerous policy initiatives to tackle the problem, research claims.

Full story: The Telegraph

Study urges authorities to break link care-custody link

Local authorities across the country are failing to divert looked-after children from "the dreary, damaging route from care to custody", according to research published today.

Full story: Community Care

Divorces total increases by 4.9% in England and Wales

The number of divorces in England and Wales increased by 4.9% last year, according to official figures.

Full story: BBC News

Record £130,000 child data error fine for Powys council

A council which sent details of a child protection case to the wrong person has received a record £130,000 fine for breaching the Data Protection Act.

Full story: BBC News

Couple who used Indian surrogates can bring children up as their own rules judge

An English couple who paid Indian women to have their babies can keep them and bring them up as their own ruled one of Britain's top judges, Sir Nicholas Wall ruled today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Most not part of 'proper' families

Eight out of 10 people say their family set-up does not conform to the traditional stereotype of two married parents with two or more children, according to a survey.

Full story: Press Association

Council 'put child, 5, into care for being obese'

A schoolchild aged five has become one of the youngest children in Britain to be taken into care for obesity reasons, it has emerged.

Full story: The Telegraph

Court of Appeal considers Art 13b of Hague Convention in the light of Supreme Court’s decision in Re E

The Court of Appeal in S v C [2011] EWCA Civ 1385 has allowed the father's appeal against the decision of Charles J refusing an application for a return order under the Hague Convention.

Full story: Family Law Week

Second report criticises Pembrokeshire County Council's poor child protection measures

Poor child protection and safe guarding measures have been criticised in a second report on services in Pembrokeshire.

Full story: Western Telegraph

Church of England insists it will not have to host civil partnerships

Vicars will not be forced to hold civil partnership ceremonies just as “a gentleman’s outfitter is not required to supply women’s clothes”, the Church of England has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Number of children in need in England rises to 382,000

The Department for Education has published its annual update on Characteristics of Children in Need in England.

Full story: Family Law Week

Research demonstrates the ‘crucial role’ of child protection volunteers

Research carried out by Anglia Ruskin University looking at the benefits of training volunteers to support families with children at risk of serious harm and subject to child protection plans has been presented to the Children's Minister, Tim Loughton.

Full story: Family Law Week

Tory MPs try to stop civil partnerships in places of worship

Prominent Tory backbenchers are trying to stop homosexual couples holding civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child maintenance: absent parents will have to pay more

Absent parents who lie about their incomes to avoid paying child maintenance will be targeted through their tax records and forced to pay more, under government plans.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family division head seeks ‘immense’ culture change

Family judges need to undergo an ‘immense’ cultural change to help tackle delays in the family justice system, the head of the family division said this week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Wilson SCJ highlights importance of collaborative family law

Supreme Court Justice Lord Wilson has reaffirmed his commitment to collaborative family law and other non-court methods while slamming the Government’s plans to cut legal aid, which he called a “false economy”.

Full story: The Lawyer

Fairer and faster, better for families and the taxpayer

Proposals for new child maintenance scheme unveiled today include boost for poorest single parents.

Full story: Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Ken Clarke postpones legal aid reforms and tendering

The government has postponed the implementation of its legal aid reforms by six months and its consultation on price-competitive tendering for crime work by two years.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Family judges must take bigger role to curb court battlegrounds

Judges should take a more active role in family cases to stop them becoming “battlegrounds” for warring parents who use children as “ammunition”, one of the country’s most senior judges said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Norgrove's family justice service not necessary, Lord Justice Wall says

Lord Justice Wall, president of the Family Division, has said that a new family justice service, a central recommendation of the Norgrove review, is neither practical nor necessary.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Number of children on child protection plans escalates

The number of children subject to a child protection plan increased by 3,600 this year, the latest government statistics have revealed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Education Committee takes evidence on identifying child abuse

The Education Committee holds an evidence session examining whether the child protection system allows for effective identification of children at risk of different forms of abuse and exploitation, as part of its child protection inquiry.

Full story: UK Parliament

One in six cohabiting as marriage rate declines

One in six people are now cohabiting as the number of unmarried adults reaches record levels, figures have disclosed, with 53 the most common age for divorce.

Full story: The Telegraph

Legal aid reform prompts further protest from top judges

Two more senior judges have publicly joined the chorus of those urging the government to rethink proposals to restrict legal aid, branding the plans a false economy and impediment to swift justice.

Full story: The Guardian

Volunteers help prevent children going into care

A charity scheme that uses volunteers to support families in the child protection system could reduce the number of children entering care and save councils in excess of £81,597 for every 50 families it works with.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Martin Narey's report cites adoption failings in Kent

A critical report into adoption services in Kent has said the authority has lost its "grip" and a deterioration in services should have been noticed.

Full story: BBC News

Loughton urged to resolve dispute over creation of College of Social Work

The chair of the education select committee has written to children's minister Tim Loughton asking him to step in to resolve the escalating row surrounding the establishment of the College of Social Work.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

House of Lords’ argument against religious civil partnerships rules outlined

A House of Lords Select Committee has released the argument which will be used to attempt to annul the new rules on religious civil partnerships.

Full story: PinkNews

Practice Direction 14B of the Court of Protection Rules 2007 – Admissions, Evidence and Depositions

This practice direction supplements Part 14 of the Court of Protection Rules 2007.

Practice Direction: Family Law

Practice Direction 19A of the Court of Protection Rules 2007 – Costs

This practice direction supplements Part 19 of the Court of Protection Rules 2007.

Practice Direction: Family Law

Practice Direction 10A of the Court of Protection Rules 2007 – Deprivation of Liberty Applications

This practice direction sets out the procedure to be followed in deprivation of liberty applications.

Practice Direction: Family Law

External court assessments costing councils

The increasing number of court orders demanding independent expert reports in family court proceedings is starting to take a financial toll on local authorities.

Full story: Community Care

‘Deeply worrying’ rise in children on protection list

A children's charity has described a big rise in the number of children being placed on the child protection register as “deeply worrying”. The 6% increase in the number of children being placed on the register was revealed by figures released by the Welsh Government.

Full story: WalesOnline

Council fined for child protection botch

A council has been fined more than £12,000 for a flawed child protection investigation, including an attempt to take a girl into care without considering other options and only seeking her mother's agreement after the decision had been taken.

Full story: Community Care

Ofsted: children 'at risk' in fifth of local authorities

Children are still at risk of "significant harm" in almost one in five council areas as social workers struggle to cope with mounting workloads, according to Ofsted.

Full story: The Telegraph

Ofsted praises adoption panels despite abolition plans

Ofsted has praised the work of adoption panels after the Family Justice Review recommended they should be scrapped.

Full story: Community Care

Children's services successfully addressing weaknesses

Inadequate ratings handed to settings and local authorities are sparking improvements across children's services, Ofsted has concluded in its annual report.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Children forced into contact with violent parents

Children removed from homes where domestic violence was present are being forced to stay in contact with violent parents against their will, according to a report published by Refuge and the NSPCC.

Full story: Community Care

Revised guidance on communicating with the Home Office

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

Full story: Family Law

The Court of Protection (Amendment) Rules 2011

These Rules amend the Court of Protection Rules 2007 (S.I. 2007/1744) so as to enable authorised court officers to exercise the court’s jurisdiction in the circumstances specified in the relevant practice direction.

Statutory Instrument

Bar Council warns Lords about legal aid cuts

The Bar Council has written to Peers to voice its concerns around the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, which is scheduled to receive its Second Reading in the House of Lords later today.

Full story: Family Law

High Court upholds French pre-nuptial agreement

Mr Justice Moor has enforced a French pre-nuptial agreement made in 1994 in financial remedy proceedings in the High Court.

Full story: Family Law Week

Growing number of over-60s seeking divorce

A growing number of British couples are divorcing in their 60s, official figures show.

Full story: The Telegraph

Tory peers to rebel on civil partnerships in churches

Conservative peers in the House of Lords are attempting to scupper plans to allow same-sex couples to hold civil partnerships in churches.

Full story: The Independent

Bar Council hosts debate on the proposed changes to the family justice system

The Bar Council discussed the changes facing the family justice system in a Bar Debate at Gray's Inn on Wednesday, 16th November.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government orders 'rapid review' of adoption

The government has ordered the Treasury to conduct a "rapid review" of adoption focused on speeding up the process and increasing the number of adoptions from care, Community Care has learned.

Full story: Community Care

Child Support Agency performance holds steady

The latest Child Support Agency figures (as at the end of September 2011) show that just over 876,000 children were benefiting from child maintenance payments at the end October, up by 7,400 on the previous quarter. 678,300 cases were paying maintenance out of 872,000 cases with a child maintenance liability.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family court staff votes to go on strike

Members of Napo, the trade union for family court and probation staff, have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike over a dispute with the Government on pensions.

Full story: Family Law

DH and DfE integrate health reforms with Munro

The Department of Health is working with the Department for Education to integrate health reforms with proposals from Eileen Munro's review of child protection.

Full story: Community Care

Shock as firms fail in family legal aid bid

An unexpectedly high number of failed applications for family legal aid contracts has caused surprise in the sector.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Social workers find move away from tickbox approach 'scary'

Many social workers find moving away from a tick box approach to child protection assessments “scary”, according to one of the first councils to answer the Munro Review's call for less bureaucracy and centralisation.

Full story: Community Care

Most social workers threatened in past six months

Nearly two-thirds of children's social workers have been threatened by hostile or intimidating parents in the past six months, a survey by Community Care and children's services consultancy Reconstruct of more than 600 workers has found.

Full story: Community Care

Social care services for children face cuts of 40%, warns charity

NSPCC says local authorities will look to make savings despite rising demand for child protection services.

Full story: The Guardian

ISWs claim they are being forced out of the child protection system

Independent social workers are seeking a meeting with children's minister Tim Loughton after claiming they are being systematically forced out of the child protection system.

Full story: Community Care

Councils fail to keep figures on missing children in care

Councils across the country are flouting their legal duties by ­failing to keep accurate records of children missing from care, a Community Care investigation has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Care league tables get mixed reaction

Stark variations in care services look set to increase despite the desire to raise standards by publishing new league tables ranking local performance, the government is being warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Court of Appeal finds for grandmother in foster care payments ruling

A local authority has lost its appeal over being ordered to pay a grandmother the same rate as a foster carer for looking after her granddaughter.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Under-fire social workers battle with three-fold increase in cases

Social workers who successfully restored the reputation of their department after a number of serious failings are now battling to keep up with a 330 per cent increase in child protection cases.

Full story: Yorkshire Post

The Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (Commencement No.4) (England) Order 2011

This Order is the fourth Commencement Order made by the Secretary of State under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 which brings provisions of the Act into force only in relation to England.

Statutory Instrument

The Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

These Regulations amend the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/3168) so as to enable the approval of religious premises as a place where the formation of civil partnerships may take place.

Statutory Instrument

Peterborough Council draws up improvement plan

Peterborough Council has set out detailed plans to overhaul its safeguarding services after being identified as one of 15 authorities "performing poorly" in Ofsted's children's services ratings earlier this week.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Staffordshire Children's Services rated 'poor'

Staffordshire's Children's Services is performing "poorly" overall, according to national watchdog Ofsted.

Full story: BBC News

Family Procedures Rules 2010 - Practice Direction 34C

This Practice Direction deals with applications for recognition and enforcement to or from European Union member states.

Practice Direction: Family Law

Co-op capture of legal aid experts could be 'Wapping moment' for family law

The surprise departure of Jenny Beck, the managing partner at leading legal aid firm TV Edwards, and two colleagues to set up the Co-op's family law division could be the sector's "Wapping moment", according to the chair of Resolution's legal aid committee.

Full story: The Guardian

Local authority wins appeal in landmark ruling on deprivations of liberty

The Court of Appeal has upheld an appeal by a local authority in a landmark ruling this week on what constitutes a deprivation of liberty.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Campaign to boost recruitment in children's social work

A campaign across 15 councils in northern England is looking to boost recruitment for children's social work roles.

Full story: Community Care

NSPCC warns 200,000 babies at risk of abuse

Nearly 200,000 babies born in the UK to families with domestic violence, mental health or addiction problems are at high risk of abuse, research suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Lawyers call for couples law reform

Lawyers called today for new legislation on "co-habiting couples" after the UK's highest court ruled that a man who left his partner nearly 20 years ago was not entitled to half the value of the house they shared.

Full story: The Independent

Supreme Court verdict gives cohabitees more clarity, though urgent reform still is required

Cohabitees who are separating now have greater clarity about how their assets should be shared following a Supreme Court ruling today.

Full story: The Law Society

Supreme Court unanimously allows appeal in Jones v Kernott

The Supreme Court has unanimously allowed the appeal in Jones v Kernott [2011] UKSC 53 and restored the order of the county court.

Full story: Family Law Week

Case highlights need for legal reform for couples who live together

Today’s Supreme Court decision in the Kernott v Jones case highlights the urgent need to reform the law affecting couples that live together, said family law association Resolution today.

Full story: Resolution

Council fails to enforce adoption

Oxfordshire County Council has failed in a bid to have a toddler placed for adoption after a judge ruled the little girl is better off with a woman she has never met.

Full story: Oxford Mail

Court rules on unmarried couples' property rights

A man who left his partner nearly 20 years ago is not entitled to half the value of the house they had shared, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Cafcass care statistics October 2011

Cafcass October care statistics released.

Full story: Cafcass

Husband in £4m divorce 'should count himself lucky'

The question: what are the “reasonable needs” of a 55-year-old divorced woman with one teenage child still living at home? The answer, the appeal court ruled yesterday, is a nine-bedroom country house with 40 acres of parkland, a £1.65 million lump sum and £75,000-a-year child maintenance.

Full story: The Telegraph

Ofsted reports increase in 'excellent' children's services

More local authorities are providing excellent services for children this year, the latest annual round-up of Ofsted assessments has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Council turns around its 'failing' child safeguarding

Essex Council has turned around its failing child safeguarding services and is now rated adequate by Ofsted, according to the watchdog's annual children's services assessments.

Full story: Community Care

Debate over Legal Aid Bill's definition of "domestic violence"

MPs vote against adopting a broad definition of domestic violence in the Legal Aid Bill.

Full story: New Law Journal

Council to ease staff pressure as child protection fears surface

Cardiff Council has said it is easing the pressure on its children's social workers after a leaked document highlighted concerns among staff that high workloads were putting children at risk.

Full story: Community Care

Mills & Reeve to offer family-friendly fees

Mills & Reeve is to ­provide fixed-price family services as it prepares to compete with non-legal players entering the profession.

Full story: The Lawyer

There are ‘major flaws’ in the Government’s legal aid costings, claims The Law Society

The Law Society has published two reports to highlight major flaws in the government's legal aid proposals.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of protection should be open to public scrutiny, says leading judge

Sir Nicholas Wall calls for public debate and legislation for court that makes crucial decisions about vulnerable people's lives.

Full story: The Guardian

Siblings miss out on adoption, warns BAAF

New research reinforces recent concerns over the number of children adopted from care.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parents of adopted children with special needs 'lack support'

National Autistic Society warns of significant breakdown in the assistance on offer from social services.

Full story: The Guardian

IDS: It’s just wrong to say living together is the equal of marriage

It is wrong to say that living together is the same as marriage, Iain Duncan Smith declared last night.

Full story: Daily Mail

Resolution / CAB survey highlights need for the Government to amend legal aid plans

Findings from a survey by Citizens Advice and Resolution of nearly 1,000 cases found that over half needed to be referred to a family law solicitor, and over 60 per cent were eligible for legal aid under the current rules.

Full story: Family Law Week

Professional groups welcome the key proposals of the Family Justice Review

The Bar Council, Law Society, Family Law Bar Association and Resolution have all welcomed the main proposals contained in the final report of the Family Justice Review, chaired by David Norgrove.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mr Justice Ryder appointed to key modernisation role after Family Justice Review

Mr Justice Ryder has been appointed with immediate effect to the new post of Judge in Charge of Modernisation of Family Justice.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Sector split over Family Justice Review proposals

The British Association of Social Workers has condemned proposals to impose a six-month time limit on public care cases and reduce the use of expert independent social work witnesses in courts.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Mediation the way forward for East Anglia families

Ipswich mediators have been praised by Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly for giving separating families the opportunity to resolve their differences without resorting to court.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Law Society welcomes prospect of faster justice for families and children

The Law Society today said radical and sustained change to the family justice system could not come soon enough, in response to the most comprehensive and important review of family justice since 1989.

Full story: The Law Society

Family Justice Review welcomed but reform at risk from legal aid cuts

Today’s publication of the final report by the Family Justice Review Panel presents a major opportunity for progressive reform of family law – but progress could be seriously undermined by the Government’s controversial plans to cut family legal aid, said family law association Resolution.

Full story: Resolution

Family Justice Review proposals to end delays in family courts

The Family Justice Review panel today announce a package of recommendations aimed at tackling delays in the family justice system and to make sure that children and families are given the service they deserve.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Family justice review 'a betrayal'

An official review into family justice which rejects plans to give parents equal rights to share custody of their children in the event of a split is "a betrayal of children and their families", campaigners said today.

Full story: The Independent

Family Justice Review Published

The Family Justice Review panel has today published its final report announcing a range of recommendations aimed at tackling delays and generally improving the family justice system.

Full story: Family Law

Legal aid cuts 'threat' to domestic violence victims

Cuts to legal aid will create a further barrier for women trying to leave violent relationships and could lead to more deaths, the Women’s Institute has warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Ken Clarke's justice bill passed despite 'attacks'

The government's controversial changes to sentencing policy and legal aid have cleared the Commons, despite opposition from MPs of all parties.

Full story: BBC News

High social work caseloads blamed for council failings

The man brought in to turn around children's social care in Kent has said that high caseloads were a significant reason why the council's services were deemed inadequate by Ofsted last December.

Full story: Community Care

Co-operative unveils family law coup

The Co-operative Legal Services is to offer a family law service spearheaded by leading family lawyers from London firm TV Edwards in the first move by a high street brand into the sector, the Gazette can reveal.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Kernott v Jones: Supreme Court judgment to be delivered on 9 November

The Supreme Court will deliver its judgment in Kernott v Jones on Wednesday, 9 November.

Full story: Family Law Week

Fathers denied a right to see children

Divorced fathers are to be denied a legal right to a relationship with their children in a review of family law due to be published tomorrow.

Full story: The Telegraph

Gay couples to be allowed civil ceremonies in church

Homosexual couples will be able to take part in civil partnerships in church and other places of worship from next month, it will be announced.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children in care to gain savings head start

Children who have been looked-after for more than one year are to be given individual savings accounts, each with an initial payment of £200, the Department for Education announced today.

Full story: Community Care

Social workers criticise quality of work by guardians

Social workers say their relationship with court guardians is close to breaking point and having a direct impact on their ability to support and protect children.

Full story: Community Care

Number of looked-after children allocated permanent placements grows

The overall number of looked-after children living in permanent placements is rising, despite figures showing a drop in the number of adoptions, according to the Association of Directors of Children's Services.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Government publishes 'crude' adoption league tables

The government has published league tables which, for the first time, rank local authorities on how quickly they are placing children for adoption.

Full story: Community Care

Milton Keynes Council ordered to pay £319,000 to victims of child abuse

Local authority held vicariously liable for negligence of social workers employed by predecessor.

Full story: Family Law Week

Shortfall in adoptive families for siblings worsens

Adoption agencies are struggling to find permanent homes for siblings in care because prospective parents are reluctant to take on brother and sister groups, new research has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Action pledged against councils over slow adoptions

David Cameron is expected to promise tough action against English councils that fail to place children with adoptive parents within 12 months.

Full story: BBC News

Commonwealth emphasises the need to tackle forced marriage

Commonwealth leaders have emphasised the need to tackle forced marriage during the course of the summit in Perth.

Full story: Family Law Week

Women victims of domestic violence to lose out in legal aid reforms

Half of all women who are victims of domestic violence will no longer qualify for legal aid under government proposals, leaving hundreds of thousands at greater risk of abuse, according to charities.

Full story: The Observer

Jetsetting millionaire couple to divorce in British courts

The multi-million pound divorce of a jetsetting couple whose lifestyle was compared to an 18th Century nobleman's "Grand Tour" will take place in the English courts, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Full story: The Telegraph

‘Crude’ legal aid cuts get a pasting in the Lords

A Labour lord predicted a ‘prolonged and hard winter for access to justice’ as peers condemned ‘crude’ and ‘ill thought-out’ cuts to legal aid fees in a debate last night.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Social workers 'key to keeping children out of care'

Ofsted has backed the importance of the social worker relationship with families, finding it is the most effective way to prevent children from entering care.

Full story: Community Care

Ofsted warns of parent risks to babies

Ofsted has warned of "shortcomings" in the safeguarding of babies under the age of one.

Full story: BBC News

How intervention is keeping children out of care

Intensive family intervention programmes are helping parents and children to enjoy life at home together.

Full story: The Guardian

Judge reveals distress at ruling teenager cannot keep child

A teenage mother has lost her fight to be allowed to bring up the daughter she gave birth to when she was just 14 years old.

Full story: The Telegraph

Government considers 'right to know' on domestic abuse

People could be given the power to find out from the police if a new partner has a history of domestic violence under new government proposals.

Full story: BBC News

Stay-at-home-dads on the up: one in seven fathers are main childcarers

Study by Aviva shows that more than a quarter of dads gave up work or reduced their hours after the birth of their children.

Full story: The Guardian

Ofsted could accompany social workers on child visits

Social workers could soon be accompanied by Ofsted inspectors when carrying out visits to children, Ofsted has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Third reading of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Bill

Paul Beresford, Conservative MP for Mole Valley, introduced the third reading of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Bill in the House of Commons on Friday 21 October 2011.

Full story: UK Parliament

Child protection destabilised by cuts, says expert

Vulnerable children are now "at greater risk" because the coalition has pared back vital safety measures, according to one of Britain's most experienced child protection officers.

Full story: The Independent

Legal aid cuts will create disturbing new landscape for families, campaigners warn

The Government's planned cuts to legal aid present a ''disturbing new landscape'' which will be ''bad for children, bad for women and bad for families'', campaigners said today.

Full story: The Telegraph

David Cameron in new drive to speed up adoption

David Cameron will within days launch a new drive to make adoption simpler and speedier and to improve the educational opportunities for children in care.

Full story: The Telegraph

Dramatic rise in child protection vacancies in NHS

Vacancy rates in NHS child protection posts are rising dramatically a survey of local safeguarding children boards has found.

Full story: Community Care

Judge scrutinises ill man's removal from foster home

A High Court judge has ordered a local authority to provide details about its decision to remove a man with severe medical difficulties from his former foster parents.

Full story: The Independent

Gove urges local authorities to 'intervene more vigorously' to speed adoptions

Local authorities should "intervene more vigorously" in child protection to help speed up the adoption process, according to Michael Gove, the Education Secretary.

Full story: The Telegraph

Councils prompted to step up efforts to improve paperwork in family law cases

Local authorities must improve their quality assurance processes if problems in the family law system are to be successfully overcome, a member of the family justice review panel has said.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

'Adoption template will highlight best practice locally'

The government is about to publish an "adoption template" highlighting good practice around the country, the children's minister has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Councils warned not to cherry-pick child protection

Local authorities must not be selective of child protection reforms recommended in the Munro review, a senior civil servant has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Loughton argues for a 'change in mindset' over safeguarding

Lead members for children's services have been told to keep a focus on safeguarding or risk another Baby P tragedy, children's minister Tim Loughton has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Decision on early intervention duty due next month

The government is still undecided on whether to create a legal duty on councils to provide earlier intervention to families in need, as recommended by Professor Eileen Munro in her review of the child protection system in England.

Full story: Community Care

LSCB's to be reminded of duty to publish SCRs in full

Children's minister Tim Loughton is to write to local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) reminding them of their duty to publish serious case reviews in full in the near future.

Full story: Community Care

Call to curb scrutiny powers of family court judges

Family court judges should have their powers of scrutiny limited to core decisions, such as whether to take a child into care, kinship arrangements and permanency planning, according to a major report on the family justice system due out soon.

Full story: Community Care

Family Law Awards Winners

Family lawyers from across England & Wales came together yesterday evening at the Hilton Park Lane in London to celebrate Jordan Publishing's inaugural Family Law Awards, sponsored by Trimega Laboratories.

Full story: Family Law

Local Safeguarding Children Boards to be scrapped

Boards set up to help safeguard vulnerable children in Wales are being scrapped by the Welsh government.

Full story: BBC News

Award good news for alternative dispute resolution

Resolution tonight congratulated Family Law in Partnership for being named Family Law Firm of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony in London, saying that the judges’ praise for the firm’s collaborative law services highlighted the crucial importance of alternative dispute resolution in any modern family law firm.

Full story: Resolution

Nottinghamshire makes headway in tackling child protection concerns

Child protection services in Nottinghamshire are no longer inadequate, an Ofsted inspection of the council has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Casey Brittle murder: IPCC criticises domestic abuse care

Nottinghamshire Police has been criticised for its handling of domestic abuse cases after the murder of a woman by her former partner.

Full story: BBC News

Spouses have no right to lottery winnings

It is the legal ruling to have couples competing for the job of going out to buy the lottery ticket.

Full story: The Telegraph

Postcode lottery for care leavers setting up home

Care leavers face a postcode lottery in support when they attempt to set up home, with local authority grants to ease the transition to independent living ranging from £750 to £2,500, an investigation by CYP Now has uncovered.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Take adoption services role away from councils, says top paediatrician

The head of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has called for local authorities to lose their powers to run adoption services.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Lottery win share awarded to ex-husband by court

A hotel porter has won £85,000 of his ex-wife's £500,000 National Lottery prize in the High Court because she had used some of it to buy a family home.

Full story: BBC News

Almost 700 children detained by UK Border Agency in three months

The Children's Society has revealed that between May and the end of August 2011, 697 children were held at all Greater London and South East ports.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court feels the strain as cases back up

The country’s most senior court is being put under severe strain by a surge in disputed matters that are taking more than two years to pass from the appellate court to the Supreme Court.

Full story: The Lawyer

Top divorce lawyer pays up to £100k to socialites for referring cases of unhappy couples

A leading divorce lawyer paid a £100,000 referral fee for an introduction to a wealthy heiress so she could represent her at a hearing.

(Sorry, this story is no longer available.)

Government proposes the abolition of CMEC

The Government is inviting views on plans to transfer the functions of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission into the Department for Work and Pensions, under direct Ministerial control, in order to improve accountability and assist in the process of reform.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children's support services struggling to cope, warns Action for Children

A new report warns that a combination of more children, young people and their families needing urgent help, their problems becoming more serious, and substantial budget cuts to the services available in their communities, is making it increasingly difficult for those most in need to get any help.

Full story: Family Law Week

More British spouses contest ‘international divorce race’ for better divorce settlements

Increasing numbers of British spouses are 'racing' each other to secure more favourable divorce settlements.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic violence training for GPs increases disclosure and referral rates

General medical practitioners and practice nurses who have been given specialist training concerning domestic violence are 22 times more likely to refer women to advocacy organisations, according to research published online in The Lancet.

Full story: Family Law Week

Councils pressurise foster carers to become special guardians

Foster carers are facing increasing pressure to become special guardians as local authorities try to balance their budgets, Community Care has learned.

Full story: Community Care

Spending cuts 'could threaten' innovative court

Spending cuts could threaten the future of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court, the judge behind the innovative institution has warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Operation of the Family Courts: Government Response

This is the Government's response to the Report of the Justice Select Committee on the Operation of the Family Courts published in July 2011.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Cultural misunderstandings contributed to baby's death

Social workers failed to understand the Ghanian cultural values attached to weight and size in the case of a 10-month-old baby who died after her mother force fed her, a serious case review has concluded.

Full story: Community Care

Litigants in person numbers soar

The dire state of the economy has already led to a dramatic increase in the number of litigants in person, new figures from a voluntary organisation suggest.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Scrapping forced marriage law is "unwise" says Supreme Court judge

A Supreme Court justice has criticised his fellow law lords as "unwise" for using human rights legislation to "frustrate Government policy" over a law introduced to crack down on forced marriages.

Full story: The Telegraph

Louise Casey to head national unit for troubled families

Labour's former respect tsar Louise Casey is to lead the government's Troubled Families Team, charged with fulfilling the Prime Minister's goal to transform the lives of 120,000 troubled families by 2015.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Foster children locked out of home until carer returns

Foster children are being locked out of their homes after school until their carer returns from work, the Department for Education has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Supreme Court says forced marriage rules are unlawful

A government ban on non-EU foreign spouses under the age of 21 entering the UK is unlawful, judges have ruled.

Full story: BBC News

The child with two mothers and two fathers who went to court over her

A high court judge's ruling reveals the importance of deciding on parental roles before embarking on artificial insemination.

Full story: The Guardian

Better information-sharing could have saved girl, finds serious case review

The death of a five-year-old girl might have been prevented if there had been better information-sharing between agencies, a serious case review has found.

Full story: Community Care

British spouses 'race' to European divorce courts

Increasing numbers of British spouses are ‘racing’ each other to file for divorce in Europe to secure more favourable divorce settlements, according to legal sources.

Full story: The Telegraph

High Court judge's blast for four gay parents fighting over two little sisters

A High Court judge issued a stark warning yesterday about the traumatic effects on children when complicated homosexual parenting arrangements unravel.

Full story: Daily Mail

Homesick mum wins custody of Aust kids

A "homesick" English mother who refused to return to Australia with her two children after coming back to England has won a "tug of love" battle in Britain's Court of Appeal.

Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

Leeds makes strides for vulnerable children

Leeds City Council has made significant improvements in services for vulnerable and at-risk children, according to Ofsted inspectors.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Local safeguarding boards in Wales need to evidence their child protection work

Local safeguarding children boards in Wales are failing to evidence their child protection work and need stronger leadership and accountability.

Full story: Community Care

Master of the Rolls sees a fertile future for expert evidence in the civil justice system

In the keynote speech to the Expert Witness Institute, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, addressed what he described as the 'growth of an inquisitorial approach to expert evidence'.

Full story: Family Law Week

David Cameron to revisit forced marriage crime plans

The government is to consult on making it a criminal offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to force a person to marry against their will.

Full story: BBC News

Families feel the pressure as the slump takes its toll

A far-reaching study is spelling out the alarming consequences for our personal lives in the gloomy economic climate.

Full story: The Independent on Sunday

MP criticises government 'obsession' with adoptions

An MP has accused the government of being "obsessed" with adoption while ignoring other permanency orders for children, despite not knowing how many adoptions end up breaking down.

Full story: Community Care

Women’s views are often ignored in the family law system, says charity

Information leaflets published to help women through the separation and divorce process.

Full story: Family Law Week

Father has £108,000 taken from bank in record child support payment seizure

A father had £108,000 forcibly taken from his bank in a record child support payment seizure.

Full story: The Telegraph

Barrage of child protection cases dilutes health professionals' early intervention work

Health professionals are struggling to cope with the "vast increase" in the number of child protection cases being referred to them, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Social worker suspended after child protection failings

A social worker who allowed a man under investigation for sexual abuse to stay at a house where children were living has been suspended for nine months.

Full story: Community Care

Adoption review to focus on black children in care

Government seeks to change system where black children are three times less likely to be adopted than white children.

Full story: The Guardian

Birmingham's child protection services have 'improved'

Birmingham's Safeguarding Children's Services are improving, despite facing another serious case review, the chairman of a watchdog has said.

Full story: BBC News

Support staff take on social worker duties

Social work assistants and support workers are being called upon to undertake the work of qualified social workers, trade union Unison has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Conservative Conference 2011: Cameron reaffirms commitment to families

Prime Minister David Cameron has reaffirmed his pledge to make the coalition the most "family-friendly" government in history during his keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Children's commissioner hails 'profound' transformation in care for young people in Wales

Wales’ children’s tsar has hailed the “profound and underestimated” transformation of children’s care as his office marked a decade since it was created.

Full story: WalesOnline

Solicitors should ‘get real’ over legal aid cuts, says Tory MP

An influential Tory MP yesterday condemned The Law Society’s claim that people will die as a result of legal aid cuts as 'irresponsible'.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Council could charge parents who put children into care

Parents who put their children into care could soon be forced to foot the bill, under plans being considered by a council in England.

Full story: Community Care

Conservative Conference 2011: Adoptive parents' leave and pay 'should be aligned with maternity arrangements'

Parents who adopt should be given the same leave and pay entitlements as mothers receive under maternity arrangements, according to the chief executive of Adoption UK.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Loughton vows to boost profile of reviewing officers in system reform

The government is considering how to eliminate any crossover between the roles of independent reviewing officers and children's court guardians ahead of an overhaul of the family justice system to be unveiled this autumn.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Tax breaks for married couples, IDS insists 'We must end bias against marriage’

Married couples must be given tax breaks to end the “bias” against stable families, Iain Duncan Smith will say today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Growing gang problem is linked to missing fathers, says Duncan Smith

A collapse in traditional fatherhood is driving children as young as 10 into gang culture, Iain Duncan Smith has claimed.

Full story: The Guardian

Fiona Shackleton: legal watchdog warns lawyer fees market needs 'urgent reform'

Exclusive: Lawyers are under pressure to adopt more “consumer friendly” fee structures amid thousands of complaints from clients about inflated billing charges, the legal watchdog has warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

The top divorce lawyer, her big name clients, and 'marked up' bills

Baroness Shackleton, Britain’s highest-profile divorce lawyer, has increased the bills of celebrity clients beyond the time she recorded having spent on their cases, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Full story: The Telegraph

Maggie Atkinson welcomes proposals for a stronger, independent, rights-based Children's Commissioner for England

The Government's proposals for a stronger, independent, rights-based Children's Commissioner for England have been welcomed by Dr Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family law-related applications to the courts decline in latest figures released

The Ministry of Justice has released statistics for court business in the period of October to December 2010. The figures show a sharp decline in most areas of family-related work.

Full story: Family Law Week

Serious case reviews adding to paperwork overload study finds

Serious case reviews are adding to the overload of paperwork and bureaucracy surrounding social workers and other professionals involved in child protection according to a study published today.

Full story: Community Care

Judges to hear applications to withdraw life-sustaining treatment in public

Cases concerned with the withdrawing of life-sustaining treatment from patients in a minimally conscious or vegetative state should all be heard by the Court of Protection and should be heard in public, a senior judge ruled this morning as he refused an application by the family of a woman who has been in this condition since February 2003.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Ofsted brands one in four councils inadequate on safeguarding

One in four councils has "inadequate" safeguarding children's services, according to latest figures from Ofsted.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Serious case review recommendations too confusing, claims study

Local safeguarding children boards have been criticised for the poor quality of their serious case reviews into child deaths and abuse.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Almost half of fostered children in Kent 'not from county'

Almost half of the children in care and foster homes in Kent are from outside the county, according to council figures.

Full story: BBC News

Social workers to be quizzed on media ethics

Social workers are being called on to submit their stories of questionable media ethics to the government's two inquiries to arise from the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Looked after children statistics 2011

65,520 children were looked after at 31 March 2011, an increase of two per cent on 2010 and the highest number since 1987.

Full story: Department for Education

More children on protection plans

The number of children on child protecton plans in England has risen by 8% since last year, while the number of children in care has gone up by 2%.

Full story: Community Care

Adoptions continue to fall as children in care rise

The number of adoptions has again plummeted in England, according to figures from the Department for Education.

Full story: Community Care

Brain-damaged woman should not be allowed to die, high court rules

Relatives lose bid to withdraw life-supporting treatment from woman known as M, who is in a minimally-conscious state.

Full story: The Guardian

Reform of kidnap law could hit warring parents

Parents who run off with their children in custody battles could face kidnap charges under proposals to reform abduction laws.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children's spending on special guardianship orders rises sharply

Council spending on special guardianship orders is set to increase massively this year, sparking concerns it is at the expense of adoption support.

Full story: Community Care

Spending on child death reviews set to double

Spending on serious case reviews and child death overviews will more than double over the next year, according to council budget data.

Full story: Community Care

Atkinson welcomes proposed changes to children's commissioner role

Children's commissioner for England Maggie Atkinson has backed government plans to bolster her role.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Councils' foster carer recruitment drive garners more than 3,000 responses

A fostering campaign run jointly by 23 councils across the north west of England has attracted more than 3,000 enquiries, according to latest figures.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Kent children services 'making progress', report finds

Kent County Council is making "significant progress" in improving its heavily criticised children's services, a report has found.

Full story: BBC News

Cohabitants should have scope for financial redress in the event of a relationship breakdown, warns Law Society

Commenting on the government’s refusal to enact legislation on cohabitation in this Parliament the Law Society says reform of cohabitation law is badly needed as cohabitants should have proper redress in the event of a relationship breakdown, when their financial and property rights need to be adjusted.

Full story: The Law Society

Attorney General: cuts to legal aid will force people to represent themselves in court

Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, is to raise concerns about cuts in legal aid with the Cabinet. Mr Grieve has said he will pass on the fears of family lawyers that the Coalition’s cuts will force many people to try to represent themselves in court.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children’s rights coalition announces a year of action for greater recognition of children’s rights

A groundbreaking coalition of children and young people's charities, voluntary organisations and statutory bodies will join forces for a year of action to see greater recognition of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child and to press for its systematic use and implementation across all areas of children's lives.

Full story: Family Law Week

New interim board appointed to advise Office of the Children’s Commissioner

Board will work towards the creation of new Office of the Children's Commissioner for England.

Full story: Family Law Week

Four-year-old girl known to social services murdered at home

A serious case review is to be carried out after a four-year-old girl known to social services was murdered while at her home in Manchester.

Full story: The Telegraph

MoJ pushes for increased take-up of mediation with £10m budget injection

The Ministry of Justice will add £10m to the UK's publicly funded mediation budget next year as part of an effort to promote the use of mediation over litigation.

Full story: Legalweek

Civil partners less likely than married couples to 'divorce'

More than 500 children have been born to lesbian couples since a change in fertility laws two years ago, government figures suggest.

Full story: The Telegraph

One in six adults now 'living in sin'

The rapid rise in couples who choose to live together without being married may be acting as a “firewall” to stop unstable relationships from ending years later in divorce, according to research.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Community Legal Service (Funding) (Amendment No 2) Order 2011 (SI 2066/2011)

This Order amends the Community Legal Service (Funding) Order 2007 (S.I.2007/2441) ("the 2007 Order"). It reduces the cap on the level of enhancements to hourly rates that can be paid to 100% for civil non-family proceedings in the higher courts and 50% for all other proceedings.

Statutory Instrument

The Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings (Amendment No 2) Order 2011 (SI 2064/2011)

This Order amends the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008 (S.I. 2008/2836) so that Chorley County Court, Rawtenstall County Court and Shrewsbury County Court cease to be family hearing centres.

Statutory Instrument

The Supreme Court Fees (Amendment) Order 2011 (SI 1737(L 16)/2011)

This Order amends the Supreme Courts Fees Order 2009 (S.I. 2009/2131) to increase the fee for an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court from £800 to £1,000.

Statutory Instrument

Recruitment problems hamper bid to remodel social work

Attempts to remodel social work in several councils across England were hampered by difficulties in recruiting and retaining social workers and limited resources.

Full story: Community Care

Siblings-in-care charity struggles to find council support

A charity running a free service giving brothers and sisters living apart in care the opportunity to stay in touch is struggling to find local authorities willing to refer children to the scheme.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Legal aid bill ‘contravenes UN convention’

The government’s plans to remove legal aid in private law family cases will place the UK in breach of its obligations under a United Nations convention to prevent discrimination against women, the Gazette has been told.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

College of social work talks break down

A bitter dispute between the British Association of Social Workers and the College of Social Work has been reignited.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Conduct and retention concerns over children's homes staff

Residential child care in Wales has experienced "significant turnover" and a disproportionate number of conduct referrals since the introduction of mandatory registration, the Care Council for Wales reveals in its annual review.

Full story: Community Care

Family bar warns of ‘bleak’ future at national meeting

Family barristers have warned of a ‘bleak’ future for family justice if the government’s legal aid cuts are implemented as planned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Ministers step in over Pembrokeshire child failings

A ministerial board is being set up to help Pembrokeshire council overcome failings in its child protection procedures.

Full story: BBC News

Women face cash crisis in break-ups as banks tighten purse strings on 'divorce loans'

Women stuck in unhappy marriages face a cash crisis with 'divorce loans' at banks drying up in the financial squeeze.

Full story: This is Money

Head of 1 Hare Court joins High Court bench

Family set 1 Hare Court’s chambers head Philip Moor QC has been appointed to the High Court bench, the Ministry of Justice announced this morning.

Full story: The Lawyer

Children want to participate in care home inspections

Children living in residential care want to be more involved in inspections, according to a survey by the children's rights director for England.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Humanists call for equal marriage laws for all

‘Government proposals for same-sex marriage are welcome, but must not entrench new forms of discrimination’, the British Humanist Association has commented in response to the government’s announcement of a consultation into the reform of civil marriage.

Full story: British Humanist Association

Ofsted lauds South Yorkshire and Humberside Cafcass

Ofsted inspectors have praised the South Yorkshire and Humberside operation of family court advisory service Cafcass.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Government's legal aid cuts will harm women and children, says national meeting of family barristers

The Bar Council and the Family Law Bar Association (FLBA) hosted a national meeting of the family Bar on Saturday, 17th September, to warn of the effects of the Government's intended justice cuts.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children hit hardest by legal aid reform, says study

More than 200,000 children and young adults will be hit by heavy cuts to the legal aid budget, according to research.

Full story: The Independent

Hope for new law to allow gay marriage

Gay marriage moved a stepped closer to becoming a reality today as the Government announced a long-awaited consultation on changing the law on same-sex civil unions.

Full story: The Independent

Single parents 'cannot afford' coalition's child maintenance fees

Gingerbread charity says nearly 300,000 families could go without child maintenance under proposals in welfare reform bill.

Full story: The Guardian

Wales halts downward adoption trend

A decline in the adoption rate in Wales has been halted, according to latest figures.

Full story: Community Care

Lexcel accreditation for LSC family contract providers

New providers for Legal Services Commission's (LSC) family contracts can now choose to be Lexcel accredited instead of the obtaining the LSC's Specialist Quality Mark.

Full story: The Law Society

Legal aid cuts: the fight goes on

Campaign groups have vowed to continue their fight against the government’s legal aid cuts, following the rejection of opposition amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill by a committee of MPs.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

LSCB good practice not dependent on resources, says Ofsted

Good practice at local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) is not dependent on having plentiful resources, according to a report published by Ofsted today (15 September).

Full story: Community Care

Half of vulnerable girls face abusive relationships

More than half of vulnerable teenage girls have been victims of violence in at least one of their relationships, an NSPCC study has revealed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Family Intervention Projects and Services

Official statistics on families receiving support from family intervention services in England up to March 2011 are published today.

Full story: Department for Education

Forced marriage crime ruled out by ministers

Ministers have ruled out creating a forced marriage crime, despite pressure from MPs to do so.

Full story: BBC News

Third of councils no longer run children's homes

More than one-third of English councils no longer own or run any mainstream children's homes, a Community Care investigation has found, raising doubts about the future of local authority provision.

Full story: Community Care

Local authorities enthusiastic about Family Courts Information Pilot, review finds

Local authorities were enthusiastic about the Family Courts Information Pilot (FCIP), a Ministry of Justice review has found.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Plan to publish family court judgments online may be reviewed amid cost-benefit concerns

The Ministry of Justice may scale back plans to publish family court judgments online, after a review of the pilot project questioned whether there was any ‘real benefit’ in reporting every case.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Five children sent back to ‘horrific’ family home after judge duped by parents

Mr Justice Mostyn admitted he was ‘comprehensively and deliberately misled’ last summer, when he returned the children to their abusive family in Birmingham.

Full story: Daily Mail

MoJ publishes review of Family Courts Information Pilot

Review considers feasibility of producing written judgments in county courts and magistrates’ courts and publishing anonymised versions on BAILII.

Full story: Family Law Week

Liberty secures equal pension benefits in company scheme for civil partners

Following legal action brought by Liberty, a multi-national company has agreed to give the civil partners of its employees the same pension benefits as spouses.

Full story: Family Law Week

Interim DCS for failing council straddles two jobs

The interim director of children's services appointed to failing city council Peterborough will be juggling two jobs while trying to turn safeguarding services around.

Full story: Community Care

Statement on the Government’s response to the Law Commission report “Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown”

We note the Government’s cautious response to our recommendations, and that reform will not be implemented during the current Parliament.

Full story: Law Commission