Court allows journalists into care hearing

Ruling in case of Steven Neary could open up care system for people with learning difficulties to public scrutiny.

Full story: The Guardian

Adoption guidance criticised for its political spin

Many believe the government has focused on an easy win but has done nothing to tackle issues such as the systemic delays and problematic post-adoption support which is leading to high rates of placement breakdown.

Full story: Community Care

Cornwall safeguarding provision puts children at risk

Cornwall Council has been rated inadequate for safeguarding children, bringing the final number of councils performing poorly in Ofsted's annual children's services ratings to 15.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Court backs decision to bar Christian foster couple

A decision to bar a Christian couple from fostering children because of their views on homosexuality has been backed at the High Court.

Full story: BBC News

Judiciary responds to Government’s legal aid proposals

Judges’ Council, Council of Circuit Judges and Association of District Judges publish responses.

Full story: Family Law Week

Hague Convention on Child Abduction – developments in Singapore and Japan

Singapore implements Convention; Japan conducts hearings of experts.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mother's horror as court takes children after 15 minute hearing

A mother has described the “horrifying” moment her two young children were taken from her by social services after a 15-minute hearing during which a judge failed to take soundings from her or her sons.

Full story: The Telegraph

Cutting legal aid will undermine whole family law system

The President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall, has pointed out that cutting legal aid in family work will increase delays in the family courts.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Law Society’s response to Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly’s comments to media regarding mediation

In response to Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly’s comments to the media today regarding mediation being a ‘quicker, cheaper and more amicable alternative’ to the over-worked family courts, the Law Society would question whether mediation would always be an appropriate way to decide arguments in all cases.

Full story: The Law Society

Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales

The judiciary's co-ordinated response to the Government's legal aid consultation paper is published today.

Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales

Ministers accused of pushing mediation to hide legal aid cuts

Ministers were yesterday accused of promoting mediation for divorcing couples to mask planned cuts to legal aid.

Full story: The Telegraph

More separating couples to be spared court battles

From April separating couples must consider using mediation as a better way of resolving their disputes than battling over them in court, Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly announced today.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Minister wants to probe 'contentious' adoption decisions

Children's minister Tim Loughton is considering whether "highly contentious" adoption cases should be investigated by a government-appointed ombudsman.

Full story: Community Care

Divorcing couples to go through mediation before court

Divorcing couples will be referred to mediation to sort out most disputes before they are allowed to use the courts, the government is announcing.

Full story: BBC News

Gove: more single parents should be allowed to adopt

More children will be placed for adoption with single parents after ministers ordered social workers not to wait for a suitable couple to come forward before giving a child a permanent home.

Full story: The Telegraph

Adoption shake-up: new guidelines will stop 'social-engineering'

New adoption guidelines have been announced by the Government to break down the barriers faced by potential parents and children.

Full story: The Telegraph

Ministers want tougher Ofsted inspections of adoption services

The government is looking to beef-up Ofsted's inspections of adoption services following its publication of updated guidance today.

Full story: Community Care

Couple given children back after judge overturns court ruling

A couple have been reunited with their children after a family court’s decision to separate them was overturned by a judge who criticised the “brisk” nature of the original hearing.

Full story: The Telegraph

Michael Gove: more children should be adopted

More children will be put up for adoption instead of being left in council care under reforms to be announced today by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.

Full story: The Telegraph

Government urges more use of voluntary adoption agencies

The government wants councils to make more use of voluntary adoption agencies, in the first ever piece of guidance on the issue.

Full story: Community Care

Sharp fall in serious case reviews triggers concern

Official figures reveal reluctance among councils to "wash dirty linen in public" after government's decision to publish serious case reviews in full.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Consider 'empty nesters' as adoptive parents, social workers told

Older couples whose own children have left home should be considered as potential adoptive parents, social workers will be told this week.

Full story: The Telegraph

Mixed-race adoption policy gets new guidelines

White couples should be allowed to adopt black and ethnic minority children under new guidelines for social workers in England.

Full story: BBC News

All Party Parliamentary Group on Family Law meets to discuss shared parenting

APPG considers the pros and cons of shared parenting legislation.

Full story: Family Law Week

First imprisonment for breach of a forced marriage protection order

Mrs Justice Macur has imprisoned an east London woman for 8 months for her breach of a forced marriage protection order made by the High Court.

Full story: Family Law Week

Legal aid consultation: Society sets out alternative cost saving measures

The Law Society has outlined how significant savings can be made across the justice system so that government cuts to legal aid can be avoided.

Full story: The Law Society

The £700m oligarch, his wife and fight for a slice of Surrey

The former wife of a Russian oligarch has taken her fight for a slice of his £700 million fortune to the Court of Appeal in a bitter wrangle over one of a string of multi-million pound Surrey properties.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children's commissioner says legal aid reforms will deprive children of the right to be heard

The children's commissioner for England has urged government to stall its proposed reforms to the legal aid system until the publication of the family justice review.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Fatherhood needs redefining, says UN report

The concept of fatherhood needs to be "dramatically readjusted" to bring it into line with the modern world, according to an important study.

Full story: The Guardian

Welfare Reform Bill Introduced

The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has introduced the Welfare Reform Bill today which he has described as the biggest shake-up of welfare in 60 years.

Full story: Family Law

Couples who marry young are most likely to divorce

Couples in their 20s are the most likely group to divorce as celebrity culture fuels a rise in so-called “starter marriages” that end within five years, according to official figures.

Full story: The Telegraph

Divorce figures fall to lowest number since 1974

The number of divorces in England and Wales is down to its lowest level since 1974, according to official figures.

Full story: BBC News

Welsh rule out national social work college

The Welsh government has ruled out setting up a national social work college for Wales, on the basis that it would not raise the profession's status.

Full story: Community Care

Gay couples will be allowed to marry under Coalition plan

Gay couples will be able to marry for the first time under a radical plan to overhaul marriage laws, the Coalition announces today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family Procedures Rules 2010 Practice Directions - Full List

The new Family Procedures Rules 2010 Practice Directions establish a comprehensive modernised code of family procedure replacing a large body of unconsolidated rules, guidance and forms for different courts and different types of proceedings.

Full article: Family Law

Thousands respond to Ministry of Justice legal aid consultation

The Ministry of Justice received 5,000 responses to its consultation on legal aid cuts, Jonathan Djanogly told the Justice Committee this morning.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Children in care oppose media access to family courts, says children's rights director

Only half of children in care trust the court system to make the right decision about their lives, the children's rights director has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Women's refuge chief returns OBE in protest over cuts

Denise Marshall says funding cuts will leave Eaves charity unable to support victims of violence and sex trafficking.

Full story: The Guardian

Ex-husband wins financial review

An Italian restaurateur, from north London, who was left waiting on tables after his marriage to a multimillionairess broke down has won a review of his divorce settlement in the UK courts.

Full story: The Press Association

Mother in tears as legal plea to sterilise her daughter is left unresolved

Judge rules court has not enough evidence to decide on operation for 21-year-old who is about to give birth.

Full story: The Guardian

Government confirms future funding for children's charity and helpline

Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton, is today announcing that the NSPCC will be awarded a grant worth £11.2 million over the period 2011-2015 for continued investment in Childline and the NSPCC Helpline.

Full story: Department for Education

Million children 'severely maltreated', says NSPCC

One in four people in the UK, aged between 18 and 24, claims to have experienced severe violence, sexual abuse or neglect as a child, says the children's charity the NSPCC.

Full story: BBC News

Practice Direction 9A – Application for a Financial Remedy

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 9.

Full article: Family Law

Practice Direction 7A – Procedure for Applications in Matrimonial and Civil Partnership Proceedings

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 7.

Full article: Family Law

Practice Direction 3A – Pre-Application Protocol for Mediation Information

This Practice Direction applies where a person is considering applying for an order in family proceedings of a type specified in Annex B (referred to in this Direction as "relevant family proceedings").

Full article: Family Law

Resolution and Bar Council warn of costs to taxpayers of legal aid changes

Both Resolution and the Bar Council, have today published criticisms of the government's planned reform of legal aid.

Full story: Family Law Week

Butler-Sloss issues warning over legal aid cuts

The government’s planned legal aid cuts will have a ‘serious adverse long-term effect’ on the justice system, a former president of the family division of the High Court has warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Gay 'marriages' to be allowed in church

Ministers are proposing to change the law to allow homosexual couples to "marry" in traditional religious ceremonies – including in church.

Full story: The Telegraph

Surrogate mum tells why she refused to hand over her baby

A surrogate mother who won the legal right to keep her baby has told how she could not bear to hand over the child because she feared the couple she was having the baby for would not make good parents.

Full story: The Telegraph

New headquarters for Kent Family Mediation Service

Divorcing couples in Kent will be able to work through their break-ups more quickly and cheaply and in a less stressful way following the opening of a new headquarters for the Kent Family Mediation Service.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Gingerbread calls on government to drop child maintenance fees

Single-parent charity Gingerbread has renewed calls for government to reverse plans to introduce child maintenance fees after figures revealed more than £1.1bn was collected by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission last year.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Oldham care baby mother takes battle to European courts

A mother from Greater Manchester who claims her baby daughter was wrongly taken into care has taken her case to the European Courts.

Full story: BBC News

Social work managers report more recruitment difficulties

Managers are finding it increasingly difficult to fill the high number of vacancies in social work departments, a snapshot survey by a recruitment agency has found.

Full story: Community Care

Ofsted notes 'outstanding' progress at Cafcass Derbyshire

Cafcass has been commended by Ofsted after an inspection revealed "outstanding" improvements in the services it provides to children and families in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Full story: Community Care

Call for national standards for substance misuse testing

Following a High Court ruling last November highlighting the need for caution when hair tests for alcohol are being interpreted and relied upon, the company that carried out the original test in the case is calling for national standard procedures for testing for parental substance misuse.

Full story: Family Law

£3.7bn owed in child maintenance

More than £3.7 billion is still owed by parents in uncollected child maintenance payments, figures have revealed.

Full story: The Press Association

LSC chair says legal aid practitioners need to "be realistic"

The chair of the Legal Services Commission, Sir Bill Callaghan, has said everyone working in legal aid needs to think about their "responsibilities, be realistic and show imagination."

Full story: Family Law

Unannounced inspections introduced for Cafcass

Ofsted has introduced no-notice inspections for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), the chief inspector of the watchdog has confirmed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Family breakdown key factor of mental illnesses, new report claims

The increase in cases of mental illness in Britain can in part be attributed to the high levels of family breakdown, according to a report by the Centre for Social Justice think-tank.

Full story: Family Law

Iain Duncan Smith attacks costly 'Hello-style' weddings

A Cabinet minister has praised the benefits of marriage but warned against the trend for "Hello-style weddings" which could push couples into debt.

Full story: BBC News

Failings over Teesside child injury case

Opportunities were missed to protect a disabled 11-year-old boy on Teesside, a review has found.

Full story: BBC News

Couples should be encouraged to marry, says Iain Duncan Smith

Young couples are being actively discouraged from marrying and ministers should start championing families rather than celebrity culture, a leading Cabinet minister will say today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Munro's child protection pilots could transform safeguarding

A pilot plan to scrap statutory deadlines in child protection work has the potential to transform the confidence and standing of social workers, according to experts.

Full story: Community Care

Divorce judge orders car crash amputee to hand over more than half of his £500k compensation to ex-wife of five years

A disabled man has been given the right to appeal a divorce ruling that he hand most of a £500,000 compensation pay-out for losing his leg to his ex-wife.

Full story: Daily Mail

Couples to get free counselling to cut cost of broken homes

Couples will receive free counselling sessions to help them stay together as part of a Government drive to support marriage and cut down the cost of family breakdown.

Full story: The Telegraph

Law Society launches legal aid campaign for the public

The Law Society is to launch a high-profile campaign, ‘Sound off for justice’, this week – aimed at harnessing public opposition to legal aid cuts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Court bans man with low IQ from having sex

A man with a low IQ has been banned from having sex by a High Court judge who admitted the case raised questions about “civil liberties and personal autonomy”.

Full story: The Telegraph

Disciplinary action over baby Alex Sutherland's death

Two social workers are facing disciplinary action following the death of a 13-month-old boy in Manchester.

Full story: BBC News

Children's minister condemns Telegraph adoption campaign

Children's minister Tim Loughton has condemned a national newspaper columnist's campaign against "forced adoptions", branding it "damaging" and "demoralising".

Full story: Community Care

Supreme Court rules in favour of 'child's best interest' in immigration cases

The Supreme Court has ruled that the "best interests of the child" need to be put at the centre of any immigration decision to remove non-citizen parents.

Full story: Family Law

Top judge's charter for unmarried couples

Unmarried couples should get new rights to share property and money when they split up, Sir Nicholas Wall, the country's most senior family judge, says today.

Full story: Resolution

Legal aid cuts pose risks to family cases

Resolution is one of many signatories to a letter expressing concern about cuts to legal aid.

Full story: Resolution

Top judge Sir Nicholas Wall calls for unmarried rights

Unmarried couples should have rights to a share of property and money if they split up, the top family judge in England and Wales has said.

Full story: BBC News

Children in danger from violent fathers 'due to social services failures'

Almost 90% of men guilty of domestic violence remain in close contact with their children without supervision, report finds.

Full story: The Guardian

Baby found dead in Manchester home was failed by authorities

Inquiry criticises care workers for failing to protect 13-month-old Alex Sutherland from his mother's drinking and neglect.

Full story: The Guardian

Doctor’s surgery becomes legal advice centre

Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly visited an innovative legal advice surgery based at a GPs’ practice in Surrey.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Wales reforms SCR system to take less time

Wales is to implement a new system of serious case reviews this year, deputy minister for social services Gwenda Thomas announced today.

Full story: Community Care

Interim report of Munro review published

Professor Munro today signals a new approach in her interim report on child protection, which focuses on helping children rather than on the regulations, inspections and procedures that have thrown the system out of balance.

Full story: Department for Education

Home DNA kits to test paternity go on sale in shops

Home DNA testing kits are going on sale in Boots stores across the UK later.

Full story: BBC Newsbeat

Munro review states need for unannounced inspections for all children's services

All children's services should be subject to unannounced inspections according to Professor Eileen Munro's interim report into the child protection system in England.

Full story: Community Care

Make child protection 'less tick-box'

Child protection should be less about red tape, targets and form-filling and more about looking after the child, an official report says.

Full story: BBC News

Ofsted braced for child protection criticism in report published today

Report expected to recommend Ofsted is stripped of some powers following Baby P tragedy.

Full story: The Guardian