Britain's top divorce judge uses his own courts to ban his wife from discussing their divorce

One of the most senior family judges in England and Wales claims to have obtained an order to stop his wife speaking publicly about their marriage break-up.

Full story: Mail Online

Foster carers at risk under government welfare reforms

The Fostering Network has launched a new campaign to ensure foster carers are not worse off under government's plans for welfare reform and the introduction of the new Universal Credit in 2013.

Full story: Family Law

£1 billion child maintenance arranged or collected by the CSA in the last year

More than 1,000 parents receive suspended prison sentences for non-payment of child maintenance.

Full story: Family Law Week

Families Need Fathers’ telephone helpline logs a record number of calls in 2010/11

The Families Need Fathers evening telephone helpline answered 4,125 calls in the year from June 2010 to May 2011.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adoptions fall to record low

The number of children being adopted in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level on record, according to official figures.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children's commissioner critical of family justice review

Local authorities would not be able to employ independent reviewing officers if judges were to stop scrutinising care plans for children and young people, according to the children's commissioner.

Full story: Community Care

MoJ concession on immigration domestic violence cases

Lawyers have welcomed the justice minister’s concession to put some immigration domestic violence cases back within the scope of legal aid.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Ofsted proposes two-week long, unannounced inspections

Ofsted inspections of local authority children's services could in future consist of a two-week, on-site, unannounced visit that will include direct observation of interactions with children and families.

Full story: Community Care

Twin baby swap parents found guilty of child cruelty

Mohammed and Nafisa Karolia switched babies to cover up injuries to seven-month-old girl who later died.

Full story: The Guardian

Children of duke's bigamous marriage can benefit from trusts

Children from the 13th Duke of Manchester’s second, bigamous, marriage can benefit from family trusts, the High Court has ruled.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Boris Johnson criticises legal aid proposals on domestic violence

The mayor of London has warned that the majority of women who have suffered domestic violence will find it ‘impossible’ to get legal aid to help divorce their abusive partners, because of the ‘restrictive’ evidence required to prove it.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

FLBA and Bar Council call a national meeting on the Legal Aid Bill

The FLBA and the Bar Council have called a national meeting on "The Legal Aid Bill - What is the future for Family Justice".

Full story: Family Law Week

Boris Berezovsky's ex-wife hails 'superb' English legal system

The ex-wife of the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky has paid tribute to the "superb" English legal system after shattering the record for a British divorce payout when she accepted a settlement worth up to £220m.

Full story: The Telegraph

Advocacy blueprint needed to protect vulnerable children's right to be heard, says Children's Commissioner

Dr Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England, is championing the development of a blueprint for advocacy services to help vulnerable children to have ready access to professionals and services that can support them in having a real say in decisions affecting their lives, under the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Children.

Full story: Family Law Week

reunite sees a large increase in the use of its prevention service

The advice line statistics of reunite, the charity specialising in international child abduction advice, for the first half of this year show a 36% increase in the number of enquiries relating to prevention measures.

Full story: Family Law Week

Britain's biggest divorce deal: oligarch's wife to get 'hundreds of millions'

Britain's biggest divorce settlement worth "hundreds of millions of pounds" was agreed today in the High Court.

Full story: Evening Standard

GP who missed Baby P abuse to return to work

General Medical Council rules Dr Jerome Ikwueke has 'gained considerable insight into his failings' after 12-month suspension.

Full story: The Guardian

Coalition rules out legalising multiple Islamic marriages after Whitehall leak

Ministers have ruled out legalising polygamy after a leaked Whitehall paper suggested multiple Islamic marriages could be officially recorded by the state.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children abused for 10 years by adoptive parents

Three children rescued from drug-addicted parents suffered a decade of abuse and neglect by the couple who adopted them, a case review has found.

Full story: BBC News

Domestic violence rules 'boost cost of disputes'

Family lawyers have attacked the government’s plans to deny legal aid to domestic violence victims who accept ‘undertakings’ from an allegedly abusive partner.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

One in five children say review meetings are pointless

More than one in five children in care say that none or few of the big decisions in their lives are made in review meetings, according to a report from Children's Rights Director Roger Morgan.

Full story: Community Care

Law Commission reveals new areas for reform

Reviewing the law of contempt, European contract law and financial provision on divorce are among the 14 projects that the Law Commission has revealed it will look into over the next three years.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Government response to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into forced marriage

Government response to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into forced marriage.

Full story: Home Office (pdf)

IFS questions Cameron's promised tax breaks for married couples

Marriage provides “little, if any” educational or emotional benefit to children, according to research that casts doubt on David Cameron’s promise to give tax breaks to married couples.

Full story: The Telegraph

Half of all children in homes placed out of area

More than half (55%) of all children placed in residential care are in out-of-area placements according to new data from the Department for Education.

Full story: Community Care

CMEC Annual Report and Accounts 2010/11

Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission Annual Report and Accounts 2010/11.

Full story: CMEC (pdf)

Lords meeting raises concerns about human rights implications of sharia law

Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill discussed at meeting.

Full story: Family Law Week

Women may be warned of partners' violent pasts under new 'Clare's Law'

Plans aimed at reducing the number of deaths from domestic violence are being considered by the home secretary.

Full story: The Guardian

Government sets out Adoption Adviser Remit

The Government has published the appointment letter for the new Ministerial Adviser on Adoption.

Full story: Department for Education

Half of parents have a maintenance arrangement within eight months of contact with Child Maintenance Options

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has published findings from a quantitative research report based on an evaluation of the Child Maintenance Options telephone service.

Full story: Family Law Week

CAFCASS’ duty to allocate a guardian does not confer upon children an enforceable right

The High Court in R (R, E, J and K, minors by their litigation friend the Official Solicitor) v CAFCASS [2011] EWHC 1774 (Admin) has dismissed a claim for judicial review and found that Cafcass' actions in the wake of the recent increase in care cases were lawful.

Full story: Family Law Week

Second council outsources adoption

A second council has followed Harrow's lead in partnering with the charity Coram to improve adoption rates and reduce delays.

Full story: Community Care

High Court clarifies the procedure under the FPR 2010 when seeking permission to appeal from district judge

Baron J has clarified in O v O (Procedure for listing applications for permission to appeal to the High Court) the procedure where a party seeks to appeal in family proceedings from the decision of a district judge.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications continue to rise as court delays continue

Better identification and assessment of the impact of neglect on children are behind the sustained rise in care applications this year with Cafcass reporting a further 9% increase in cases between April and June compared with the same time last year.

Full story: Community Care

Guidance Note: In-Court Family Mediation Services

This Guidance is issued by the Ministry of Justice and comes into effect immediately to provide improved access to mediation services and prevent court delays.

Full story: Family Law

MPs call on Cafcass to use more self-employed guardians

MPs have called on Cafcass to use more self-employed guardians and to respect the professionalism of its staff by taking a lighter-touch management style.

Full story: Community Care

Mishcon de Reya launches pre-nuptial agreement insurance

Mishcon de Reya, in partnership with the Legal Expenses Insurer ARAG plc, and Lansdown Insurance Brokers of Cheltenham, has today launched Protect Pre-Nup, an insurance product that provides cover for legal costs if a spouse challenges a previously agreed pre-nuptial agreement - the first of its kind in the UK.

Full story: Family Law

Britain is divorce destination of choice for rich and powerful

Britain has become the destination of choice for high rollers to get a divorce sparking judicial concern that the rich and powerful are exploiting the courts.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family courts expect more litigants in person

Family courts will need to be better prepared to deal with litigants in person following the government’s legal aid reforms, MPs warned in a report published today.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Justice Committee publishes report on the operation of the Family Courts

Family Courts will need to be more prepared to cope with litigants representing themselves following Government reforms to Legal Aid – MPs on the Commons Justice Committee have warned in a new report.

Full story: UK Parliament

Increase in complaints to the Local Government Ombudsmen

Complaints to the Local Government Ombudsmen increased over the last year and the upward trend is expected to continue, according to their latest annual report for 2010/11 published today.

Full story: Family Law

Divorce is easier than obtaining a driving licence, warns judge

Getting a divorce is easier than getting a driving licence, a senior judge said yesterday as he warned family breakdown affects everyone including the Royal Family.

Full story: The Telegraph

Directors' anger at government delay on Munro SCR proposal

Directors of children's services are angry that the government intends to delay the move to a systems-based approach for serious case reviews (SCRs) recommended by Professor Eileen Munro in her review of child protection in England.

Full story: Community Care

CAFCASS Annual Report and Accounts 2010-11

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service Annual Report and Accounts 2010-11.

Full story: CAFCASS (pdf)

Social workers 'unfairly' targeted by Family Justice Review

Social workers were unfairly singled out by the Family Justice Review in its bid to reduce the number of experts called by courts, a member of the review panel has admitted.

Full story: Community Care

Senior family judge says divorce has become 'epidemic'

One of the most senior family judges in England and Wales says the number of family breakdowns has reached "epidemic" proportions.

Full story: BBC News (audio)

ADCS calls for urgent action on protection recommendations

The Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) has called immediate action on Professor Eileen Munro's recommendations for improving child protection.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Government responds to the Munro Review of Child Protection

The Government today published its response to Professor Eileen Munro’s recommendations to reform the child protection system, set out earlier this year.

Full story: Department for Education

Jersey allows religious civil partnerships

Jersey has passed a law to allow civil partnerships – including giving gay couples the right to tie the knot in church if they – and religious organisations – wish.

Full story: Pink News

High Court rules Cafcass only has a 'general duty' to provide Guardians

A High Court judgment handed down today has dismissed a claim for judicial review and found that Cafcass' actions in the wake of the massive increase in care cases were lawful.

Full story: Family Law

Narey kinship care proposal could be illegal, say experts

Martin Narey's proposal that social workers should spend less time assessing kinship carers before considering adoption could be illegal, the government has been warned.

Full story: Community Care

Government publishes consultation response on the future of child maintenance

Today the Government is responding to the consultation on the future of child maintenance and is setting out radical changes to the system to make separated parents take full responsibility for their children’s ongoing financial support.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Legal Aid Bill goes before Public Bill Committee

The controversial Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill enters its first day of Committee Stage today, which will see Committee members hear evidence from a range of interested parties.

Full story: Family Law

Independent social workers attack Family Justice Review plans to oust them from courts

CISW Conference demonstrates depth of opposition by ISWs to proposals.

Full story: Family Law Week

Promoting and protecting children’s rights are at the heart of the Children’s Commissioner's new work programme

Dr Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England, has announced her plans to promote and protect children and young people's rights in England in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Full story: Family Law Week

May and June care application numbers highest ever for those months

There were 843 care applications during June 2011. Between April and June 2011, Cafcass received 2,345 new applications.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Appeal rewrites relocation guidance for divorced parents

The welfare of the child should be “the paramount consideration” for family judges considering applications by divorced parents to relocate abroad, the Court of Appeal held last week.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

New report argues against legal presumption of shared care

A new report from single parent charities Gingerbread and One Plus One argues that a legal presumption of shared care would focus on parental entitlement rather than what is in the best interests of children.

Full story: Family Law

LSC publishes plan for interim family contracts

The Legal Services Commission has published a plan for the tender process for new interim family contracts to start in February 2012.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Narey 'misleading public and alienating social workers'

Martin Narey's plans for adoption reform have come under fire from critics who claim the former Barnardo's chief is misleading the public and alienating social workers.

Full story: Community Care

‘No political will’ to reform marriage laws

There is ‘no political will’ to address the record levels of family breakdown that currently cost the country an estimated £40-100bn a year, a leading family lawyer claimed during a Law Society public debate yesterday.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Ofsted: Munro's vision for inspection unrealistic

Eileen Munro's vision for local authority inspection is unrealistic, according to John Goldup, Ofsted's director of social care.

Full story: Community Care

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill Committee announce programme

The Committee will hear oral evidence on Tuesday 12 July and Thursday 14 July and then consider the Bill every Tuesday and Thursday, excluding the recess, from that point concluding on Thursday 13 October.

Full story: UK Parliament

Civil partnerships rise: registered unions now nearly 50,000 in UK

Brighton and Hove is the most popular place in Britain for same-sex couples tying the knot at register offices.

Full story: The Guardian

ONS: gay 'divorces' up by 44%

Lesbian couples are twice as likely as gay men to separate, according to new figures showing a 44% rise in the number of civil partnerships that were dissolved last year.

Full story: The Telegraph

Ministerial Adviser on Adoption announced

Writing in The Times today, Children’s Minister Tim Loughton has announced that Martin Narey will be appointed as the new Ministerial Adviser on Adoption.

Full story: Department for Education

Experts tell Narey to order study into adoption breakdowns

Incoming adoption tsar Martin Narey should ensure the government commissions research into adoption breakdowns before expecting local authorities to increase placements, experts have warned.

Full story: Community Care

Pair fostered in 'northern' fear

Two children were placed in foster care because a social worker feared they would "not adapt to northern culture" in Yorkshire, a relative said.

Full story: BBC News

The Gender Recognition Register (Amendment) Regulations 2011

These Regulations amend the Gender Recognition Register Regulations 2005.

Statutory Instrument

Court backs independence of children’s guardians

President gives guidance where there are disputes between CAFCASS as a body and the CAFCASS guardian.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adoption tsar Narey wants social workers to speed up

Social workers must make earlier and quicker decisions to "dramatically increase" adoption numbers and ensure fewer break down, the government's first adoption tsar has recommended.

Full story: Community Care

Legal aid cuts force advice agencies to consider charging

Advice agencies, whose role until now has been to provide free advice to the poorest people in society, are being forced to consider charging by the government’s legal aid cuts.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Adopting children to be made faster and easier

Adopting children will be made quicker and less complicated under recommendations to be put to ministers.

Full story: The Telegraph

Narey confirmed as government's new adoption tsar

Former Barnardo's chief Martin Narey will be tasked with encouraging "sceptical" social workers to see adoption as an option for more children in care in his role as the government's first adoption tsar.

Full story: Community Care

Committee publishes report on child maintenance reforms

Non-resident parents should be required to pay child maintenance through direct deductions from their salaries or bank accounts, according to a report published today by the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

Full story: UK Parliament

Ken Clarke targeted by 'fathers' rights' Batman activist

An activist for campaign group ''New Fathers 4 Justice'' has tried to ''arrest'' Justice Secretary Ken Clarke at his home.

Full story: The Telegraph

Narey among runners to be government's adoption tsar

The government is to appoint an adoption tsar, Community Care has learned. Sources say former Barnardo's chief Martin Narey is a likely candidate.

Full story: Community Care

Local authorities cut children's social care spend by 1.8%

Local authorities are cutting spending on children and families social care by 1.8%, according to figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Full story: Community Care

Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders

From 30 June 2011, Domestic Violence Protection Orders will be piloted for one year in three police force areas – West Mercia, Wiltshire and Greater Manchester Police.

Full story: Home Office

Great Ormond Street Hospital doctors want Baby Peter inquiry

Doctors have demanded a government investigation into why London's Great Ormond Street Hospital kept information from the original Baby Peter inquiry.

Full story: BBC News

Warning over child protection cuts

A care provider criticised for its involvement in the death of a three-year-old boy in the West Midlands has warned that council budget cuts could lead to other vulnerable young people being given inadequate support.

Full story: BBC News