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