Plans to speed-up family courts published by judge

Proposals to change the culture of family courts and speed up cases in England and Wales have been published.

Full story: BBC News

Fines for delays and cull of expert witnesses to speed up family courts

Social services departments are to face financial penalties if they needlessly hold up child custody cases under plans to speed up the family courts.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family courts need radical change of culture, says lord chief justice

Adversarial system must give way to a more inquisitorial approach, and culture of delay must be reduced.

Full story: The Guardian

Inquisitorial judges at heart of family reform proposals

Greater case management by judges is at the heart of the judiciary’s proposals for the modernisation of family justice, published today.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

The Family Justice Modernisation Programme

Final report from Mr Justice Ryder.

Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales

New civil partnerships rise by 6.4 per cent in 2011

Total number of civil partnerships much higher than original Government estimate.

Full story: Family Law Week

Vulnerable children 'at risk' in new protection system

Some of England's most vulnerable children may lose out under planned changes to the child protection system, a new campaign group has argued.

Full story: BBC News

Thresholds for accepting child protection referrals 'too high'

An analysis of serious case reviews in 2009-11 suggests overall child protection practices have improved, but highlights concerns about a minority of cases that were not investigated by social workers.

Full story: Community Care

Nagalro criticises Government's over-emphasis on adoption when seeking permanence for looked after children

Nagalro has published its evidence to the Select Committee of the House of Lords examining adoption legislation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass publishes its annual report

Care application have risen by 11% on the previous year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Scrapping child protection timescales 'may cause case delays'

Giving councils more control over how child protection assessments are conducted may encourage delays in the processing of cases, a study for the Department of Education has found.

Full story: Community Care

Private members’ Family Justice Bill published for consultation

A draft of John Hemming MP's Family Justice Private Members' Bill has now been published for public consultation on his website.

Full story: Family Law Week

Funding to support new social workers

Every newly qualified social worker could benefit from £2,000 to boost their learning and development, under plans announced by Ministers today.

Full story: Department for Education

Local authority’s special guardianship allowance policy ruled illegal

Carer under special guardianship order must be paid at foster carer’s rate.

Full story: Family Law Week

Islamic tradition 'is no defence against divorce ruling'

A Muslim doctor who ignored a judge's order to pay his former wife £60,000 maintenance has been told by the Court of Appeal that he cannot rely on Muslim tradition to absolve him of his financial responsibilities.

Full story: The Telegraph

Solicitors warned of divorce claims

Divorce solicitors could face thousands of compensation claims in cases where pensions were undervalued in a divorce settlement, a pensions consultant has claimed.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Mr Justice Ryder’s report on Modernisation of Family Justice to be published next week

Mr Justice Ryder's report will be published on Tuesday 31 July at 11.30 am.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court applies the general practice of not awarding costs against authority in care proceedings to fact-finding hearings

The Supreme Court has unanimously allowed the appeal of Hull City Council In T (Children) [2012] UKSC 36 against an award of costs, made by the Court of Appeal, in respect of a fact-finding hearing in care proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

We will legalise gay marriage by 2015, says David Cameron

David Cameron has given a personal guarantee to legalise gay marriage by 2015 – despite unease under his own MPs and his core Conservative supporters.

Full story: The Telegraph

Father’s rights breached by mother 'too upset’ to let him see children

A father who was denied access to his children for three years because it upset their mother suffered a breach of his parental rights, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.

Full story: The Telegraph

Parents must not 'shirk' responsibilities on contact, appeal judges say

Children Act places 'primary responsibility for delivering a good outcome' on parents not courts.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

London 2012: Domestic violence hub opens near Olympic Park

A centre has opened near the Olympic Park in east London to tackle an anticipated rise in domestic and sexual abuse linked to the Games.

Full story: BBC News

Peers to examine latest proposals for adoption reform

At 10.15, the Committee will take evidence from Martin Narey, who advises the Government on adoption policy. Immediately following, at 11.15, the Chief Executive of Adoption Matters Northeast, Norman Goodwin, will answer the Committee’s questions.

Full details: UK Parliament

Domestic violence figures are only the “tip of the ice-berg”

DPP announces improved conviction rates but confirms that more needs to be done to protect victims and prosecute offenders.

Full story: Family Law Week

Appointment of the Family Justice Board Chair

The Government has appointed David Norgrove as the Chair of the new Family Justice Board. Mr Norgrove will oversee the Board which is a key part of the reforms announced in the Family Justice Review.

Full story: Department for Education

Plan to limit contact with birth parents risks isolating children from wider family, charity warns

Proposals to change the law governing contact between children in care and their birth parents must not prevent children from maintaining relationships with other biological relatives, the Who Cares? Trust has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Domestic violence conviction rates at all-time high

Director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, to reveal that strategy of prioritising violence against women has been success.

Full story: The Guardian

Warnings over abduction treaty

An international treaty designed to ensure the swift return of children abducted abroad by a parent needs to be implemented faster, researchers say.

Full story: BBC News

Controlling partners should face court, says think tank

Bullies who subject their partners to “controlling” mind games should face a new criminal offence, according a report from a leading think tank.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child support changes will impact on '100,000 families'

One in 11 families who currently get child support payments in England will lose out in a major shake-up of the system, government analysis suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Consultation on the review of contact arrangements for children in care and adopted children and on the placement of sibling groups for adoption

The Government has published two discussion papers seeking views on sensitive and important aspects of the care and adoption systems.

Full story: Department for Education

Call for views published on birth parent contact and placing siblings in care

The Government will today propose a change in the law as part of the continuing commitment to put children at the heart of the care and adoption system - based on proposals from the Government’s Advisor on Adoption Martin Narey.

Full story: Department for Education

End presumption that siblings in care should be kept together, Narey says

Brothers and sisters in care should not be kept together if doing so could damage their prospects of building a new life, the government’s adoption adviser has claimed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Falling murder rate linked to decline in domestic violence

A 40% drop in domestic violence is the most likely reason for fewer murders, which typically involve a family member.

Full story: The Guardian

Justice Select Committee Chair writes to the Prime Minister with objections to shared parenting changes

The Chair of the Justice Select Committee, the Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, has written to the Prime Minister in relation to the Government's proposals to change the Children Act 1989 in an attempt to promote shared parenting.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s Commissioner publishes review of age assessment cases since R (A) v Croydon LBC Supreme Court judgment

Report questions whether the new regime has improved outcomes for children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ofsted consults on inspection arrangements for residential family centres

Ofsted is consulting on proposals to change the way it inspects residential family centres from April 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

Louise Casey calls for new approach on 'troubled families'

A government adviser says the chaotic histories of thousands of "troubled families" need to be addressed to help them turn their lives around.

Full story: BBC News

Inquiry launched into government family justice reforms

A parliamentary inquiry has been launched into the government’s family justice reforms, proposed in the Children and Families Bill.

Full story: Community Care

Man appeals against ban on replying to children

A father-of-four has criticised an "absurd" court order that bans him from returning his children's text messages or phone calls.

Full story: The Independent

‘Clare’s Law’ trial starts today

Scheme will run in Greater Manchester, Gwent, Nottinghamshire and Wiltshire.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government sets out ‘radical vision’ for child maintenance system

The Government has unveiled detailed plans for the reshaped child maintenance system in Great Britain.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s Society launches charter to protect runaways and missing children

The Children's Society has launched the Runaways Charter, a clear code for agencies with a duty to protect children who run away or go missing from home and care.

Full story: Family Law Week

New President of the Supreme Court

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, currently Master of the Rolls, has today been named as the next President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Full story: The Supreme Court

Joined-up child protection inspections must hold all agencies to account, warns LGA

The Local Government Association has called for clarity over how agencies, including the police, will be held to account as part of Ofsted's proposed multi-agency child protection inspections.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Care assessments to be outsourced under White Paper plans

Government White Paper proposes appointment of principal social workers in every council and consultation on giving practitioners power to enter homes where abuse is suspected, but offers little money to address funding crisis.

Full story: Community Care

Proposals for the joint inspection of multi-agency arrangements for the protection of children

Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons are committed to the introduction of a new joint inspection of multi-agency arrangements for the protection of children in England.

Full story: HM Inspectorate of Prisons

Supreme Court dismisses mother’s appeal in Scottish adoption case

The Supreme Court in ANS and another v ML [2012] UKSC 30 has decided that s 31 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 (which is based on s 52 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002) is not incompatible with Article 8 of the ECHR.

Full story: Family Law Week

Reform of the Office of Children’s Commissioner

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather has published draft clauses for forthcoming legislation to strengthen the role of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

Full story: Department for Education

Ofsted sets out 'radical' new inspection programme

Ofsted has launched “radical” new proposals for multi-agency child protection inspections and separate inspection for looked-after children and care leavers.

Full story: Community Care

The International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007) (Rules of Court) Regulations 2012

These Regulations facilitate conclusion of the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance done at The Hague on 23 November 2007 (“the Convention”) by the European Union, pursuant to Council Decision 2011/432/EU on the approval, on behalf of the European Union, of that Convention. The Convention contains rules on recognition and enforcement of maintenance decisions between Contracting Parties, and administrative co-operation to facilitate the recovery of such maintenance.

Statutory Instrument

Doctors 'should not fear raising child abuse alarm'

Doctors should not fear reporting suspicions about child abuse, the regulator of the profession says.

Full story: BBC News

Senior judge likens wealthy divorcing couple to squabbling children

A senior judge has likened a “very rich” couple to a pair of squabbling children as they fight over the fairness of their £26million divorce settlement.

Full story: The Telegraph

Care applications (year-on-year) slightly down in June

Fall explained by reduction of working days because of special bank holidays.

Full story: Family Law Week

Revised safeguarding guidance may have ‘gone too far’, ADCS president fears

Government attempts to slim-down guidance for professionals on protecting children may have gone “too far”, according to the president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

The Family Justice Modernisation Programme

Sixth Update from Mr Justice Ryder.

Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales

Coram to become a National Centre of Excellence in Early Permanence

To support the spread of concurrent planning and fostering by potential adopters nationwide, the Government will fund Coram to become a National Centre of Excellence in Early Permanence.

Full story: Family Law Week

More babies in care to receive a stable home more swiftly

The Prime Minister today announced plans to reduce radically the time it takes for a baby to move in with their permanent family.

Full story: Department for Education

'Terrifying' welfare reforms will drive up care referrals, warns Munro

The architect of the government’s child protection reforms has warned that changes to welfare policy could inadvertently increase the number of children being referred to social care services.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

PM unveils 'foster to adopt' plan

New-born babies being taken into care should be fostered by people who want to adopt them, the prime minister has said.

Full story: BBC News

Caseloads likely to rise as number of vulnerable families increase

Charities are warning children's social workers will see their caseloads rise over the next three years unless the government takes immediate action.

Full story: Community Care

Judge bans reporting of divorce finances to save 'embarrassment'

A judge has banned publication of details of a divorce case on human rights grounds after the father of the husband claimed it risked causing him embarrassment and ruining his career.

Full story: The Telegraph

Scottish cohabitation ruling has “lessons” for England and Wales, Lady Hale says

Cohabitants and their children south of the border 'deserve no less'.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Urgent reforms to protect children in residential care from sexual exploitation

Urgent reforms to protect children in residential care homes from sexual exploitation and to overhaul the wider system have been announced today by Children’s Minister Tim Loughton.

Full story: Department for Education

Police extend Domestic Violence Protection Orders

New police powers to bar domestic abusers from their partners' homes have been extended across Greater Manchester following successful trials.

Full story: BBC News

Care home reforms aim to halt child sex abuse

The government has published plans to combat the sexual exploitation of children in care homes by gangs.

Full story: BBC News

Child maintenance payments made by benefit claimants to double

Parents on income-related benefits who live apart from their children are to have the amount of child maintenance they must pay increased from £5 to £10 per week.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Two thirds of adopters never told about adoption support, says report

Adoption UK survey reveals adoptive families are still struggling to access vital post-adoption support.

Full story: Family Law Week

Absentee fathers will have benefits docked

Absent fathers will see their benefits docked by more than £500 per year under plans forcing them to pay up for the care of their children.

Full story: The Telegraph

Court of Appeal decides that CAFCASS is not under a statutory duty to appoint a guardian immediately

In R (R and Others (Minors)) v CAFCASS [2012] EWCA Civ 853, the Court of Appeal has determined that CAFCASS does not have a statutory duty to each individual child to make an officer available immediately or within a short time.

Full story: Family Law Week