Cafcass must align more closely with Munro say guardians

The Family Justice Review must alter the role of Cafcass to get the family courts body in line with Eileen Munro's review of child protection, according to the guardians' professional body Nagalro.

Full story: Community Care

Proposals address ‘scandalous’ delays in family proceedings

The Family Justice System is ‘not working’ with ‘scandalous’ delays which are harmful to vulnerable children and adults, according to the independent Family Justice Review panel.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Family judge tells father to use Skype to see his children

Britain’s most senior family judge has overturned a man's attempts to stop his children emigrating to Australia with their mother - saying they can keep in touch by Skype.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family Justice Review recommends new integrated Family Justice Service

The Family Justice Review panel, who publish their interim report today, has recommended a range of reforms to tackle delays in the family courts and ensure that children and families get a better quality of service.

Full story: Family Law

Family Justice Review panel publishes interim report

The Family Justice Review panel, chaired by David Norgrove, has delivered an interim report to the Ministry of Justice.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children deserve better from family justice system

The family justice system needs significant reform to tackle delays and ensure that children and families get the service they deserve, says an independent panel set up to review how the system works.

Ministry of Justice News Release

Family justice review: interim report

The Family Justice Review is launching its interim report and inviting responses to its proposals for reform.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Grandparents will get legal right to see grandchildren after divorce battles

Grandparents will get legal powers to guarantee them access to their grandchildren after divorce battles under new proposals, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Full story: The Telegraph

Cafcass faces shake-up but review rules out abolition

Family courts body Cafcass will be reformed but not abolished if recommendations made today by the Family Justice Review are accepted by the government, Community Care understands.

Full story: Community Care

Munro urged to make child development key to training

Child development should be incorporated as a key element in social worker training to give professionals a fuller understanding of children's emotional needs and family dynamics, England's children's commissioner has recommended.

Full story: Community Care

Average age for women to marry hits 30 for first time

Women, on average, are waiting until they are 30 before they get married, according to official figures which indicated people are leaving it later than ever before to tie the knot.

Full story: The Telegraph

'Exhausted' lawyers in care cases need more support

A detailed and enlightening report on the representation of parents in care proceedings was published this week by academics at Bristol University law school.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Baby Peter: Sharon Shoesmith sacking defended

Sharon Shoesmith's sacking in the wake of the Baby P case has been defended by government lawyers at the appeal court.

Full story: BBC News

Judges say they are ill-prepared for care proceedings cases

Judges are not sufficiently prepared to make decisions in care proceedings cases, according to a study from the University of Bristol.

Full story: Community Care

MPs warn against legal aid reforms in divorce cases

Restricting support to disputes featuring claims of domestic violence will encourages false allegations, says select committee.

Full story: The Guardian

£44m boost for children's social work teams in England

Children's social work teams across England will receive £44m in 2011-12 to help reduce pressure on frontline staff, children's secretary Michael Gove has announced.

Full story: Community Care

Ed Balls accused as Sharon Shoesmith appeals against sacking

Barrister tells court that minister acted against natural justice in wake of Baby P's murder.

Full story: The Guardian

Justice Committee told that Cafcass is 'beyond reform'

The Justice Select Committee of the House of Commons, which is hearing evidence concerning the operation of the family courts, has been told that Cafcass is beyond reform and should be abolished.

Full story: Family Law Week

Shoesmith begins appeal over Baby P

Sharon Shoesmith is beginning her appeal against a High Court decision upholding her sacking after the Baby P tragedy.

Full story: The Press Association

Divorce: Couples face new mediation rules and warnings

Divorces in England and Wales could become quicker, less stressful and cheaper, but there are fears people will miss out on advice.

Full story: BBC News

Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission publishes review of Deduction Orders

£760,000 collected by Deduction Orders in first year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Millionaire claims he faces homelessness after unique divorce ruling orders trust funds to go to wife

A millionaire hotel tycoon claims he faces homelessness after a unique divorce ruling ordering him to set up a trust fund for his wife.

Full story: Daily Mail

Family compensation

The Law Society has expressed disappointment that the Legal Services Commission will not provide a structured compensation package for firms that lost out in the 2010 family law tender round.

Full story: New Law Journal

Family Procedures Rules 2010 Practice Directions - Full List

The Practice Directions are available to download as Pdf documents by clicking on the links below.

Practice Directions

Family Procedure Rules 2010 Forms - Full List

The Forms are available to download as Pdf documents by clicking on the links below.

Practice Guidance

Wife loses bid for bigger payout from estranged husband

The estranged wife of a former banker who argued that £4.8 million was not enough to live on yesterday lost a High Court bid for a larger slice of his wealth.

Full story: The Telegraph

European Commission publishes proposals on matrimonial property rights

The European Commission has published proposals on EU-wide rules to bring legal clarity to the property rights for married international couples and for registered partnerships with an international dimension.

Full story: Family Law

Court prevented father from speaking to MP

In a House of Commons debate last week, John Hemming, MP for Yardley in Birmingham, highlighted a case in which a father was prevented by a court order from speaking to the MP about his care proceedings case.

Full story: Family Law

Serious Case Review: Abuse of autistic boy went unnoticed

Social workers and teachers in Middlesbrough failed to act upon the injuries suffered by a disabled child being abused at home.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Mediation rules pushed through too hastily, say legal experts

Rules that will require separating couples to consider settling legal disputes through mediation services from next month are being rushed through, according to mediation providers.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Bid to make foster carers undergo drug/alcohol hair tests

One of the UK's leading drug and alcohol hair testing firms is pressing the government to make the tests mandatory for all foster carers, Community Care has learned.

Full story: Community Care

Pressure prompts review of ‘domestic violence’ legal aid definition

The government has delayed its plans to respond to the legal aid and civil costs consultations until after Easter, and will ‘review’ the definition of domestic violence, the legal aid minister said last week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

APPG on Family Law and the Court of Protection meet to discuss marital property agreements

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Family Law and the Court of Protection are holding an event to discuss the Law Commission's proposals on marital property agreements in the House of Commons on Thursday 31st March.

Full story: Family Law Week

Infertile man pursued by CSA ‘to the point of bankruptcy’

A man who is infertile claims he has been pursued “to the point of bankruptcy” by the Child Support Agency.

Full story: The Press and Journal

Loughton denies risk to child protection from duties review

Children's minister Tim Loughton has reassured social workers that he expects "no significant changes" to safeguarding or child protection duties, following the consultation launched by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Full story: Community Care

Loughton forced to defend foster care charter

Children's minister Tim Loughton was today forced to defend his decision not to make the government's new Foster Carers Charter compulsory for all local authorities.

Full story: Community Care

Mother who hid baby from husband loses fight to keep her secret

A mother who kept her baby a secret from her husband has been told she can not have the boy adopted after judges refused to back “a great lie”.

Full story: The Telegraph

Foster carers' charter to 'end myths and red tape'

A new charter for fostering is to be published which ministers hope will put an end to "myths and red tape" that have undermined some carers.

Full story: BBC News

Banker fights to cut ties with 'workshy' ex-wife

A former banker who claims his ex-wife treats him as an "indefinite meal ticket" more than a decade after they separated, has launched a landmark case to end her dependency on his salary.

Full story: The Telegraph

Practice Directions for Family Procedure Rules available for downloading

Full list of currently available Practice Directions published.

Full story: Family Law Week

Hundreds 'sue local authorities over child abuse'

Hundreds of young people are trying to sue local authorities in England and Wales for failing to remove them from abusive homes, lawyers are claiming.

Full story: BBC News

Appointment of new Child Maintenance Commissioner

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) has announced that Noel Shanahan has been appointed as Commissioner and Chief Executive to replace Stephen Geraghty.

Full story: CMEC

New minimum standards and regulations for fostering

The Department for Education has revised and modernised the regulatory framework for fostering in England which includes national minimum standards, fostering services regulations and related statutory guidance.

Full story: Family Law

Confusion over consultation on child protection duties

Children's social care groups are worried and confused by a government consultation on whether to ditch a council's legal duty to investigate child protection concerns.

Full story: Community Care

Women’s Aid’s survey reveals fear that over half of refuge and outreach services could face closure

National charity warns that cuts to domestic and sexual violence services will cost lives.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Appeal sets aside property disposal in Russian financier's divorce proceedings

The Court of Appeal, comprising Sir Nicholas Wall, Lord Justice Sedley and Lady Justice Arden, has set aside the disposal of a £2m mansion by the husband in ancillary relief proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Fostering Network welcomes national minimum standards for fostering

The Fostering Network has welcomed the release of the new national minimum standards for fostering services in England.

Full story: Family Law Week

Law Society issues new guidance on VAT on disbursements

The Law Society has issued new guidance on the VAT status of disbursements commonly charged to clients by their solicitors.

Full story: Family Law Week

APPG on Family Law and the Court of Protection meets to discuss Transparency

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Family Law and the Court of Protection is holding a meeting on the 29th March to discuss transparency: privacy and the public interest.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social services 'failed to protect teenager from years of family abuse'

Social services failed to protect a teenager from years of family abuse and violence, despite dozens of “very significant” warnings that the girl was at risk of harm, an independent review has concluded.

Full story: The Telegraph

Practice Direction 6C – Disclosure of Addresses by Government Departments (amending PD of 13 February 1989)

The arrangements set out in the Registrar’s Direction of 26 April 1988 whereby the court may request the disclosure of addresses by government departments have been further extended.

Practice Direction

Cap on expert social work witness fees will be untenable, warns social work association

Family courts are being warned they face an exodus of expert social work witnesses in May when their fees are capped.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Former Attorney General Baroness Scotland returns to the Bar at 4 Paper Buildings

The move will see her return to practising children's law, an area she focused on prior to her political career, with 4 Paper Buildings one of the leading sets in the UK in this sector.

Full story: Legalweek

Oligarch's ex-wife wins divorce battle to get bigger slice of £700m fortune

The former wife of Russian oligarch Boris Agrest yesterday won her Court of Appeal battle to get a bigger slice of his £700million fortune.

Full story: Metro

Children's social work practice pilots to be expanded

More GP-style social work practice pilots for children are to be rolled out in the autumn as part of the government's Big Society agenda.

Full story: Community Care

MPs urged to oppose child support proposals

MPs have been urged to oppose controversial changes to child support by a group of organisations including Gingerbread and the Children's Society.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Nottinghamshire council children's services 'improved'

Nottinghamshire's children's services have won an improved rating from Ofsted inspectors but changes still need to be made, according to a new report.

Full story: BBC News

Forced marriages 'at record high' - South Wales Police

A Welsh police force say they are dealing with the largest number of cases of forced marriage and honour based-violence they have ever seen.

Full story: BBC News

Child support agency in ‘chaos’ after computer meltdown

The Child Support Agency is facing an avalanche of paperwork after its computer systems malfunctioned.

Full story: Daily Mail

Children's services take hit of more than half a billion pounds

Children's services departments are set to lose well in excess of £500m by the end of the month as councils finalise their 2010/11 budgets, analysis by CYP Now has revealed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

'Honour' killings plan does not go far enough, says women's rights group

New government plans for tackling violence against women and girls will not go far enough to help victims of "honour" violence, campaigners have claimed.

Full story: The Guardian

The Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2011

This Order provides for the increase in certain fees payable in family proceedings in England and Wales in the Court of Appeal, High Court and county courts. Comes into force on 4th April 2011.

Statutory Instrument

Ombudsman could investigate child 'snatching' by courts

An independent Ombudsman could be appointed to investigate cases in which social workers and the courts are accused of taking children from their homes without justification.

Full story: The Telegraph

9,000 children on abuse register

Almost 9,000 children in Wales are at risk of, or already suffering abuse or neglect, according to new figures.

Full story: WalesOnline

Parents facing inheritance dilemma

A third of parents are reluctant to leave money to their married children when they die in case they get divorced, research indicates.

Full story: The Press Association

Newly-separated parents offered information on arranging child maintenance

CMEC says that 91,000 children benefit from maintenance agreements after contacting Child Maintenance Options.

Full story: Family Law Week

Twelve children’s homes help to improve the lives of children, says Ofsted

Ofsted has published Outstanding Children's Homes, a report highlighting twelve homes that have excelled in helping improve the lives of children and young people in their care.

Full story: Family Law Week

Childline reports rise in number of calls from children in care

Charity says 3,196 looked-after children contacted the service in 2009-10, a rise of almost a third in five years.

Full story: The Guardian

Domestic violence victims and their children at risk as support services are cut

Domestic abuse victims and their children are at serious risk of harm as a result of funding cuts to police, health, legal aid and social services budgets, a national charity has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Khyra Ishaq's father sues council over starvation death

The father of a girl who was starved to death after "missed opportunities" by children's services to save her is suing Birmingham City Council.

Full story: BBC News

Mediator shortage looms, says family lawyers' group

Separating couples may ‘escape’ the new requirement to consult a mediator before going to court because of a shortage of properly accredited mediators, family lawyers’ group Resolution has suggested.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Neuberger warns against mediation and defends legal aid and Jackson

The Master of the Rolls warned against mediation being used as a replacement for the courts, defended the cost of legal aid, and voiced strong support for Lord Justice Jackson’s civil justice reforms in a speech earlier this week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Peterborough safeguarding improvements satisfy Ofsted

Child protection services at Peterborough City Council are on the road to recovery, a no-notice Ofsted inspection has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Mediation dispute

A lack of accredited mediators could stymie the Ministry of Justice’s new policy of compulsory mediation for divorcing couples.

Full story: New Law Journal

New online guidance replaces fostering workbooks

Online guidance for foster carers was launched today to replace the controversial CWDC workbooks.

Full story: Community Care

Social workers call for amendments to Health and Social Care Bill

The British Association of Social Workers' chief executive Hilton Dawson has written to Professor Eileen Munro urging her to support his organisation's amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill.

Full story: Family Law

High Court forces council to support teenager with autism

The family of a teenager with severe autism has won a High Court appeal to force a local authority to provide support for him once he turns 18.

Full story: Community Care

Stoke baby death review finds 'poor communication'

Failures in communication between different child protection agencies in Stoke-on-Trent have been identified following the death of a baby.

Full story: BBC News

Loughton: Ofsted must focus more on children's social care

Ofsted is overly focused on its inspection remit within schools and needs to increase its emphasis on children's social care, according to children's minister Tim Loughton.

Full story: Community Care

Seventeen new family law QCs appointed

The Lord Chancellor has approved the appointment of 17 new family law Queen's Counsel.

Full story: Family Law

£5million is not enough! Divorced husband appeals after receiving 'minimalist' slice of ex-wife's £57million fortune

A divorced husband who claims a judge's 'unfair discrimination' led to him being refused a fair share of his ex-wife's £57m fortune has taken his case to the Court of Appeal.

Full story: Daily Mail

Loughton urges councils to outsource adoption services

More local authorities could boost adoption rates by outsourcing to the voluntary sector, according to children's minister Tim Loughton.

Full story: Community Care