UK gay marriage challenge goes to European Court

A challenge against the UK’s bans on gay marriage and straight civil partnerships will be filed at the European Court of Human Rights this week.

Full story: Pink News

Charity backs gay parent adoptions

Children in the care system are losing out because of a disturbing and prevalent attitude among Britons that gay parents are second best, a children's charity has warned.

Full story: The Guardian

BAAF responds to recent focus on adoption in the media

The British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) has responded to recent comment and reporting of adoption in the media over the past few weeks and months.

Full story: Family Law Week

Oil millionaire's ex-wife wins £3m more in divorce settlement

An oil technology millionaire was ordered to increase his former wife's divorce settlement from £5 million to £8 million today.

Full story: The Independent

Legal aid cuts spark child abduction fears

Leading family solicitors have warned that withdrawing legal aid for private law family cases could lead desperate parents to abduct their children.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Supreme Court widens definition of 'domestic violence’

The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that ‘domestic violence' in homelessness cases includes psychological as well as physical abuse.

Full story: Family Law

Children in care far from home 'at risk'

Charities are warning that thousands of children placed in care far from home are more vulnerable to criminality, drug abuse and sexual exploitation.

Full story: BBC News

Loughton casts doubt on Ofsted adoption inspections

Children's minister Tim Loughton has promised to investigate Ofsted inspections of adoption services, claiming that some of the "good" and "outstanding" ratings do not reflect the outcomes for children.

Full story: Community Care

Public Accounts Committee criticises MoJ for poor financial management

The Ministry of Justice has been told by the Public Accounts Committee that it must improve its financial management as it prepares to make massive cuts to its budget.

Full story: Family Law

Family justice review considers children's panels

Radical options such as the introduction of Scottish-style children's panels are being considered as part of the family justice review.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Council must review up to 400 child protection cases

Gloucestershire Council must review nearly 400 child protection cases following an Ofsted inspection.

Full story: Community Care

Legal aid change prompts concerns in Wales

Legal professionals in Wales have expressed concerns about reforms to the legal aid system.

Full story: BBC News

Barnardo's ex-head says race issues threaten adoptions

The reluctance of some councils to seek to arrange mixed-race adoptions means the UK faces a collapse in adoption rates, the outgoing chief executive of Barnardo's has warned.

Full story: BBC News

Surrogate mother allowed to keep her child

A surrogate mother who changed her mind about handing over her baby has been allowed to keep the child.

Full story: BBC News

Adoptions need to quadruple, says outgoing Barnardo's chief

Britain is facing a dangerous collapse in adoption rates because of the prejudiced attitudes of some local authorities and adoption agencies towards white parents adopting minority ethnic children, according to Martin Narey, the outgoing chief executive of Barnardo's.

Full story: The Guardian

Cafcass chief tells staff to improve complaints handling

The chief executive of Cafcass has demanded improvements after warning staff the family courts body is among the worst performing public bodies for handling complaints, Community Care has discovered.

Full story: Community Care

Feud erupts over establishment of College of Social Work

A row has broken out over the establishment of the College of Social Work, after the British Association of Social Workers announced plans to set up its own rival organisation.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Children's social workers want return of patch-based teams

Most child protection professionals want a return to "patch-based" working, according to a Com­munity Care survey on bureaucracy for the Munro review.

Full story: Com­munity Care

Marco Pierre White's £50million divorce is off the menu as he reconciles with estranged wife Mati

Marco Pierre White and wife Mati have decided to give their marriage another go, just as the judge was about to put an end to the long –running saga.

Full story: Daily Mail

Litigants in person set to rise

The Law Society has warned that the courts could be ‘thronged by countless individuals unable to have a lawyer, like a scene from Pickwick Papers’, if the government presses ahead with legal aid reforms without conducting research on the likely effect on the number of litigants in person.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Adoption delays could be costing councils millions

As many as 1,000 children could be languishing in care because of delays in approving adoptive parents, costing councils tens of millions of pounds, research has found.

Full story: Community Care

LSC pledge on matter starts for legal aid work

The Legal Services Commission has begun allocating new matter starts for family legal aid work to firms on the basis of the amount they received last year, it said last week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

ContactPoint replacement mooted

The Department for Education is exploring possible IT-based replacements for the controversial ContactPoint database, it has been announced.

Full story: Public Service

Barnardo’s calls for the appointment of a child protection minister

The children's charity Barnardo's has published a hard-hitting report on sexual grooming which calls on the government to appointment a minister with responsibility for protecting children.

Full story: Family Law

Child protection standards published by Royal College of Paediatrics

Children's social workers should have immediate access to paediatricians when they have child protection concerns, according to the Royal College for Paediatrics and Child Health.

Full story: Family Law

Missing Child Support Agency money reunited

A thousand children have received windfalls from the Child Support Agency after the maintenance enforcement body worked with banks and building societies to resolve incorrect standing orders.

Full story: The Telegraph

Sheffield sees number of 'at risk' children increase

The number of children deemed to be at risk of abuse in Sheffield increased by almost a third last year, the latest official figures show.

Full story: BBC News

NSPCC releases guide to help social workers avoid common mistakes

The NSPCC has launched a guide for social workers to address the most common mistakes made when dealing with child protection cases.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Family law yeasayers contend that prenups could improve marriage rates

Family lawyers have broadly welcomed moves to enshrine prenups in law, saying that this is long ­overdue.

Full story: The Lawyer

New online search for IFAs with divorce accreditation

Family law association Resolution has today launched a new search facility to enable members of the public going through separation or divorce to find a specialist independent financial advisor.

Full story: Resolution

Cheap divorce websites carry hidden costs, lawyers warn

Solicitors have warned couples planning to use low-cost websites to get a "quickie" divorce that they could risk making catastrophic errors through lack of legal advice.

Full story: The Observer

Family lawyers hail new code

Family lawyers have welcomed last week’s publication of the long-awaited Family Procedure Rules 2010, which will come into force on 6 April.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Lawyers call for clarity on pre-nups as Law Commission launches review

Leading UK family lawyers have called for greater clarity as the Law Commission carries out a review likely to usher in legally binding pre-nuptial agreements.

Full story: Legalweek

Child support reforms to stress parental responsibility

Ministers are proposing an overhaul of the current system of child support, saying it too often "drives a wedge" between parents and their offspring.

Full story: BBC News

Resolution reacts to Law Commission paper on pre-nuptial agreements

Responding to the publication of a new paper on the status of pre-nuptial agreements, family law association Resolution has renewed its calls for pre-nuptial agreements to be made legally binding.

Full story: Resolution

Pre-nup rules will force rich to disclose their wealth

Rich husbands who want their wives to sign binding pre-nuptial agreements will have to disclose all the details of their wealth, under proposals for sweeping changes to marital law.

Full story: The Independent

Law Commission consults on pre-nuptial agreements

The Law Commission has today published a consultation on the future of pre-nuptial agreements, seeking views on whether couples should be able to make binding agreements governing financial arrangements if their relationships end.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

'Concern' over 540 child cases in Kent

A review of Kent's child protection services has identified more than 500 cases which raise cause for concern.

Full story: BBC News

Extra GP-style social work practice pilots to be launched

A further nine independent GP-style social work practices for children in care will be piloted in England this year despite opposition from unions.

Full story: Community Care

Parents face government fees to split up

Parents who split up face having to pay a "fee" to the government to sort out their child maintenance arrangements under controversial plans to tackle family breakdown.

Full story: The Telegraph

Law Commission to publish pre-nup consultation document on 11 January

The Law Commission has announced that it will publish a consultation document concerning the enforceability of pre-nuptial agreements on Tuesday, 11th January.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cuts 'will lead to vulnerable children dying'

More vulnerable children will die at the hands of their parents because of funding cuts, the disgraced former children's services boss Sharon Shoesmith has warned.

Full story: BBC News

Ofsted finds poor safeguarding services in Cheshire West and Chester, and West Sussex

Cheshire West and Chester, and West Sussex have been added to the list of local authorities ranked as "performing poorly" in Ofsted's annual ratings of children's services.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

DWF signs divorce-funding deal with Co-operative bank

The Co-operative Bank has unveiled plans to launch funding deals for individual firms to provide clients with loans to fund divorce cases.

Full story: The Lawyer

Munro deadline for questions extended to 24 Jan

Eileen Munro has extended the deadline for frontline workers wishing to contribute their views to her review of children's social services.

Full story: Community Care

Legal aid cuts will cause “inequality of arms”

The civil legal aid cuts will have potentially dangerous consequences for domestic violence victims and children and families facing care proceedings, the Family Law Bar Association has warned.

Full story: New Law Journal

Experts criticise gap in Munro social worker questions

Professor Eileen Munro, who is currently reviewing child protection procedures, should be eliciting social workers' views on the role of joint child protection investigations with other professionals, according to academics.

Full story: Community Care

For richer, but not necessarily for poorer – pre-nups to become law

Spectacular divorce battles like that which ensued after the break-up of Sir Paul McCartney and the model Heather Mills, costing the former Beatle £24.3m, are expected to be consigned to history after the Law Commission produces its long-awaited report on "pre nup" agreements next week.

Full story: The Independent

LSC Guidance on financial eligibility to support mediation services

This Guidance on financial eligibility to support mediation services was issued by the Legal Services Commission in December 2010.

Full story: Family Law

Pre-nups to get the full force of law with binding contracts to protect couples' assets

Landmark reforms are being planned to enable couples to sign legally binding pre-nuptial agreements for the first time in Britain.

Full story: Mail Online

Family mediation - an alternative to courts

During Christmas and the New Year many families will have been coming together, but for some this year’s holiday season will have been a difficult time.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Guidance in cases involving the Official Solicitor

This Guidance was issued following a meeting between the Official Solicitor and the President in which they discussed the difficulties which the Official Solicitor had been having in accepting requests to act as guardian ad litem/litigation friend for protected parties in proceedings relating to children.

Full story: Family Law

'Fathers at risk' in Government's legal aid cut

Hundreds of men will face false allegations of domestic violence and child abuse because of legal aid reforms, barristers warned today.

Full story: Evening Standard

Divorce Day: A perfect day to untie the knot

Today thousands of couples will finally phone a divorce lawyer after a 'festive' break marred by rows.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Family Procedure Rules 2010

These rules, which will come into force on the 6th April 2011, provide a new code of procedure for family proceedings in the High Court, county courts and magistrates’ courts, and replace existing rules of court for family proceedings, in particular the Family Proceedings Rules 1991.

Statutory Instrument