Christmas spike in domestic violence keeps courts busy on New Year's Eve

Money tensions, unrealistic expectations and excessive alcohol consumption make Christmas a peak period for domestic abuse.

Full story: The Guardian

Warring parents ‘in denial’ about effects of divorce on children

Netmums survey of divorced parents and their children shows effects on children more severe than adults realise.

Full story: The Telegraph

Domestic violence set to be targeted by tough new law

Offenders could be jailed for up to 14 years if US-style legislation is voted through by MPs.

Full story: The Observer

Home visits stopped for patient with violent father

A High Court judge has ruled that a 20-year-old man with “profound disabilities” cannot be allowed home visits after carers raised concerns about his parents' behaviour.

Full story: The Independent

Adoption: £50 million funding boost and new interactive maps

Children’s Minister Edward Timpson announces new resources to help would-be adopters find a child to adopt - plus more cash for councils.

Full story: Department for Education

High Court judge says warring parents cause 'untold damage' to children

Mrs Justice Parker reverses living arrangements of three brothers after hearing of 'parental manipulation'.

Full story: The Telegraph

Transfer of Mr Justice Charles from the Family Division to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court and appointment as the Vice-President of the Court of Protection

The Lord Chief Justice, following consultation with the Lord Chancellor, will transfer Mr Justice Charles from the Family Division of the High Court to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court with effect from 13 January 2014, and appoint him as Vice-President of the Court of Protection, for a three-year term, from the same date.

Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales

Domestic abuse: half a million victims 'too terrified to come forward'

Study uncovers hidden casualties of violence, many of them too scared to report the crime.

Full story: The Observer

BAAF rated ‘outstanding’ in recent Ofsted inspection

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering has been rated as 'outstanding' once again by Ofsted in its recent inspection.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Family Procedure (Amendment No.3) Rules 2013

These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010. The majority of the amendments made to the FPR 2010 by these Rules are made to reflect the creation of the family court.

Statutory Instrument

Court statistics (quarterly) July to September 2013

This bulletin presents National Statistics on activity in the county, family, magistrates’ and Crown courts of England and Wales.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Child protection head leaves Devon County Council

The head of children and adult protection at Devon County Council has left his £95,000 job.

Full story: BBC News

Divorced wife 'cheated out of millions after husband failed to reveal assets’

A divorced wife claims her ex-husband misled her about the value of his computer software business to cheat her out of a multi-million-pound settlement.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child abuse investigations have risen by 42% over past three years

In 2012/13 there were 127,000 investigations launched across the country into children thought to be at risk of child abuse or neglect. This is a 42% increase in investigations since 2009/10, according to figures revealed by Sky News.

Full story: Family Law

C-section case shows need for radical changes on transparency: Munby

The high-profile case involving an enforced Caesarean section stands as a “final, stark and irrefutable demonstration” of the pressing need for radical changes in the way in which both the family courts and the Court of Protection approach transparency, the President of the Family Division has said.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Judge Sir Paul Coleridge disciplined for stating views on traditional marriage

Official body with responsibility for judicial conduct hands outspoken High Court judge a formal warning.

Full story: The Telegraph

Domestic violence victims' personal details should stay secret, says Labour

Adoption of 'Eve's law' would exempt victims of domestic abuse from disclosing their personal details in public.

Full story: The Guardian

MASH having a positive impact on child protection in London

The turnaround time for child protection cases judged as high or complex needs has almost halved in some areas since the London multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) programme began in 2011, according to a new academic report from the University of Greenwich.

Full story: London Councils

English courts still top the league for generous divorce payouts

English courts have more flexibility in granting settlements than courts in most other countries, leading to higher awards.

Full story: The Telegraph

Serious case reviews ‘politically abused’ since death of Baby P, claims expert

Safeguarding expert claims serious case review authors face ministerial disapproval if they don't criticise the local authority.

Full story: Community Care

No less than 'good' for children's homes demands Ofsted

Ofsted has published proposals for a new framework to improve standards in children's homes and drive up quality for the country's most vulnerable children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Women behaving badly: cuckolded and downtrodden husbands filling divorce courts

A new analysis of official divorce figures, dating back 40 years, shows a dramatic rise in the number of separations in which “unreasonable behaviour” by women has been recognised by the courts as the main cause.

Full story: The Telegraph

Divorcing couples regret the impact on children but don’t tend to seek help, survey finds

Divorced couples significantly regret the impact that their split had on their children but tend not to seek help with their relationship, according to a survey conducted by Seddons in conjunction with The Marriage Foundation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Birmingham reforms children's services after damning reports

Council damned over Keanu Williams case will invest extra £9m as part of 'radical' strategy, but admits service for vulnerable children still not consistent.

Full story: The Guardian

Ofsted publishes new framework for inspecting Cafcass

Unannounced inspections will treat Cafcass as one organisation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Attainment gap between looked after children and others narrows slightly but remains large

Statistics on outcomes for children looked after by local authorities in England, released by the Department for Education, show that the attainment gap between such children and their peer group is diminishing but is still great.

Full story: Family Law Week

New FCO figures show parental child abduction cases on the rise

The number of parental child abduction and custody cases has more than doubled over the last decade, with almost two children being abducted abroad each day, according to new figures released today by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and charity, Reunite.

Full story: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Pregnant woman with 'very severe' mental health problems could be forced to have Caesarean

A pregnant woman with “very severe” mental health problems could be forcibly sedated and have her baby delivered via Caesarean section against her will if the need arose, a High Court Judge has ruled.

Full story: The Independent

Marriages can be performed at Scientologists’ churches, decides Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has decided that Scientology is a religion and since the church of the Church of Scientology was a "place of meeting for religious worship", then it could be registered for the solemnisation of marriages under the Marriage Act 1949.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass private law demand

In November 2013, Cafcass received a total of 3,524 new private law cases. This is a 15% decrease on November 2012 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Care applications in November 2013

In November 2013, Cafcass received a total of 816 applications. This figure represents a 15% decrease compared to those received in November 2012.

Full story: Cafcass

Government u-turn on plans to remove councils from adoption recruitment process

'Common sense' amendment to the children and families bill has been hailed a triumph by local authorities.

Full story: Community Care

New cuts to experts’ fees compromises care cases

New cuts to the civil legal aid remuneration rates that came into force on 2 December 2013 are deterring a significant number of professionals from acting as expert witnesses in the family courts.

Full story: Family Law

Same-sex weddings to begin in March

The first same-sex weddings can take place from 29 March 2014, equalities minister Maria Miller says.

Full story: BBC News

Top reasons high cost family cases are rejected

The Ministry of Justice has analysed the top reasons why high cost family case plans are being rejected.

Full story: Family Law

Care proceedings run 14 weeks beyond target

The average length of care proceedings is still 14 weeks over a new target due to be introduced in April, latest figures show.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Adoption agency advertises children in local newspapers

Some have criticised the Adoptionplus campaign saying youngsters should not be advertised like an unwanted animal or second hand sofa.

Full story: The Telegraph

Father refused access to daughter despite 82 court orders

A father, described as "unimpeachable" by judges has told of his 12 year battle to see his teenage daughter, where he has been refused access despite 82 court orders allowing him to see her.

Full story: The Telegraph

MoJ to tackle fall in mediation referrals

The Ministry of Justice has sought to bolster its mediation strategy in the face of a dramatic fall in referrals in the past six months.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Couples should not have children until they are ready to marry, says High Court judge

A senior High Court judge has argued that couples should not have children until they are ready to wed.

Full story: The Independent

Ten new projects help thousands of separated couples co-operate on parenting

Projects to help separated couples resolve grievances and agree financial and parenting arrangements in their children's best interests.

Full story: Department for Work & Pensions

Children and young people’s mental health neglected by local authorities

‘Overlooked and Forgotten’ report reveals failure to address mental health needs of under-18s.

Full story: Family Law Week

Non-means tested legal aid restored for patients detained under Mental Capacity Act 2005

In the Court of Protection cases of UF v A Local Authority & Ors, the Ministry of Justice and Legal Aid Agency have effectively restored non-means tested legal aid in s21A MCA cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children face three-year wait for care case decisions

Dozens of care proceedings cases initiated more than three years ago remain unresolved leaving vulnerable children with uncertain futures.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Teach married couples about monogamy for sake of the children, says High Court judge

Married couples should be sent to classes promoting monogamy to help spare children lifelong scars from family breakdown, according to the High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge.

Full story: The Telegraph

Autumn Statement 2013: Marriage tax break 'will help poorest families’

More than four million married couples will be given tax breaks worth up to £200 a year.

Full story: The Telegraph

High Court judge orders life-saving bone marrow transplant to go ahead for three-year-old boy against father's will

A three-year-old boy whose father tried to prevent him receiving life-saving hospital treatment will have a bone marrow transplant on Thursday following an emergency ruling by a High Court judge.

Full story: The Independent

Judge rules that man in vegetative state should not be resuscitated if his condition deteriorates

The 78-year-old man's son said his family were 'trying to hang on to him' while giving evidence via video link.

Full story: The Independent

Civil courts to turn a profit under fee reforms

Wealthy litigants will have to stump up higher fees under government proposals to help put the civil courts on a ‘solid financial footing’.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Supreme Court orders return of son to Texas in KL (A Child)

Court exercises inherent jurisdiction to return child with UK habitual residence.

Full story: Family Law Week

First national picture of foster carer recruitment published

A new report by the Fostering Network has, for the first time, provided a picture of foster carer recruitment across English local authorities.

Full story: Family Law Week

Foster children may stay with carers until age 21

Children in care in England will be able to stay with their foster families until their 21st birthday, rather than having to leave at 18, ministers say.

Full story: BBC News

Support for vulnerable women and taxpayers in court fees changes

People taking high value cases through civil courts in England and Wales will be expected to pay much more towards their running costs, Courts Minister Shailesh Vara has announced - while the fees for domestic violence injunctions will be scrapped.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Essex County Council responds to C-section care case

Essex County Council has responded to the media reports concerning the delivery, without the mother's consent, of a baby by caesarean section and the child's removal into care of the local authority.

Full story: Family Law Week

Only half of public express confidence in the family courts on children matters

A survey examining public attitudes to the courts and, principally, court fees suggests that only half of those asked have confidence in certain aspects of the family courts.

Full story: Family Law Week

Doncaster fears delay in children's trust timeframe

Plans to create an independent trust to run child protection services in Doncaster are at risk of delay, the authority has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Domestic violence services 'at breaking point'

Services to help female victims of domestic violence are at "breaking point" because of "shocking gaps" in funding, Women's Aid has warned.

Full story: BBC News

Child protection system is 'beyond breaking point'

The child protection system is "beyond breaking point" and social workers are facing increasing pressure, a report by MPs said.

Full story: ITV News

Doncaster review team to assess future of Birmingham’s troubled children’s services

The government has ended speculation about the immediate future of Birmingham council’s children’s services, announcing a review of the troubled department.

Full story: Community Care

Safeguarding board defends Hamzah Khan review

Bradford Safeguarding Children Board has defended its serious case review into the death of four-year-old Hamzah Khan.

Full story: Community Care

Expert witness fee cut could 'hinder' family court judges

Children’s lawyers and social work bodies have raised concerns that it will be harder to find expert witnesses to give evidence in care cases due to a cut in fees paid to them through the legal aid system.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Autumn Statement 2013: Married couples 'no better off' after tax break

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales is raising doubts about the effectiveness of David Cameron's £700 million plan to cut taxes for married couples.

Full story: The Telegraph

Beneficiaries of offshore trusts ordered to disclose documents

In Tchenguiz-Imerman v Imerman [2013] EWHC 3627 (Fam) Mr Justice Moylan has given a judgment explaining his order in financial remedy proceedings for disclosure by beneficiaries of offshore discretionary trusts who had been joined as parties.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge Sir Paul Coleridge quit because of lack of ‘support’ over marriage stance

Sir Paul Coleridge, the High Court judge who set up the Marriage Foundation, discloses he decided to step down from the bench because of opposition to his stance on marriage.

Full story: The Telegraph

Holman J calls for maintenance enforcement rules to be simplified

In Constantinides v Constantinides [2013] EWHC 3688 (Fam), Mr Justice Holman has said that the law concerning enforcement of maintenance by imprisonment are 'in dire need of modernisation, simplification and reform'.

Full story: Family Law Week

Research shows how children’s guardians are fulfilling their role

New research by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, The Work of Cafcass Guardians in Care Cases, sheds light on how children's guardians fulfil their role of being the 'voice of the child' in care proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family 'foster carers' losing out, says watchdog

People who look after young relatives or friends' children are being treated unfairly by some councils, a local government watchdog says.

Full story: BBC News

Numbers on Welsh child protection registers increase slightly

There were 2,950 children (including unborn children) on local authority child protection registers in Wales at 31 March 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court to hand down judgment in Hague Convention appeal on 4th December

The Supreme Court will hand down judgment in Re KL (A Child) on Wednesday, 4th December.

Full story: Family Law Week

New figures show smaller rise in adoptions

The rise in the number of children adopted last year was not as high as previously thought, new data analysis suggests.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Police receive new orders to tackle domestic abuse

Tough powers to tackle domestic violence are to be introduced across England and Wales, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

ECtHR rules on duty to carry out ‘in-depth examination’ in Hague Convention child abduction cases

The European Court of Human Rights has delivered a Grand Chamber judgment in the case of X v Latvia in which reunite International Child Abduction Centre intervened.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mediation – the best option for children

Children can be spared the trauma of stressful court battles if their parents use mediation Family Justice Minister Lord McNally said today.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Family courts ‘are not a talking shop’, Ryder LJ says

He gives guidance on 'more inquisitorial process' for litigants in person.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

New Child Maintenance Service opens to all new applicants

The new Child Maintenance Service for separated parents to support their children has opened to all new applicants.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

2012 statutory child maintenance scheme: Aug 2013 to Sept 2013: experimental statistics

Experimental statistics on the 2012 child maintenance scheme administered by the Child Maintenance Service for Aug 2013 and Sept 2013.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

“Worrying lack of awareness” about divorce process risks increasing cost & stress of break-ups

Couples risk increasing the stress and cost of divorce settlements because of a “worrying lack of awareness” about a wide variety of non-court based solutions according to relationship experts, following the publication of new polling published today (25 Nov).

Full story: Resolution

'Clare's Law' to cover all of England and Wales after pilot scheme

"Clare's Law", which enables women to check the police record of a new boyfriend, will be expanded to cover all of England and Wales.

Full story: BBC News

Businessman Scot Young hid £40m from estranged wife, judge rules

Mr Justice Moor says £20m should go to Michelle Young in divorce after she claimed husband had fortune of 'a few billion'.

Full story: The Guardian

Divorcee begs judge to save her from financial ruin after ex husband stole £700,000 from friends and family

Husband used bank and Betfair accounts in his ex wife's name to run a "Ponzi" scheme.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No. 12 and Savings Provisions) and the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 15) Order 2013

This Order brings into force provisions of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 for the purpose of applying new rules for calculating child support maintenance to all cases other than existing cases.

Statutory Instrument

Russian court rules 'abducted' children to return to UK

A north London mother has won a landmark ruling to get her children back from Russia after they were abducted by their father.

Full story: BBC News

New draft standard Financial Remedy Orders out for consultation

Latest draft standard orders for family cases released for consultation, including a comprehensive financial remedies 'omnibus' consent order.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Hundreds of thousands of children could lose over £70 of child maintenance per year in collection charges, show latest statistics

As the government prepares to open the new Child Maintenance Service (CMS) for all new applicants, and starts the countdown to the introduction of fees to use the new CMS and the phased shut-down of all existing Child Support Agency cases, new government statistics published today show just how many children – who currently depend on the CSA to collect child maintenance – could lose out.

Full story: Gingerbread

Child Support Agency quarterly summary statistics: September 2013

A statistical report providing figures on caseloads, enforcement, appeals, collections and outstanding arrears.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Social workers under 'phenomenal pressure'

Child protection services in England are under more pressure than ever, the Association of Directors of Children's Services is warning.

Full story: BBC News

Britain's 130,000 estranged fathers

Study reveals one in eight divorced fathers has lost all contact with their children.

Full story: The Telegraph

Judge says bankrupt tycoon Scot Young has 'a serious problem'

The penniless tycoon embroiled in Britain’s most high-profile divorce has a “serious problem”, according to the judge who is set to determine whether is a billionaire or a bankrupt.

Full story: The Independent

Women’s Aid tells Michael Gove: domestic violence is not a ‘life choice’

Women's Aid is challenging statements made by Michael Gove in a speech on reforms to social care which, it says, imply that domestic violence is a 'life choice' that women should take responsibility for.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic violence survivors are being abandoned after spending cuts

Survivors and experts campaign for new approach to law as support services face huge budget cuts.

Full story: The Observer

Judge issues £10,000 warning to London man in divorce row

A judge has given a man a £10,000 incentive to help his ex-wife find four pieces of missing jewellery.

Full story: BBC News

Mrs Justice Pauffley appointed as the Senior Family Liaison Judge

Mrs Justice Pauffley DBE has been appointed as the Senior Family Liaison Judge, with immediate effect, for a 3 year term.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family Drug and Alcohol Court to expand into Buckinghamshire and northern England

London’s Family Drug and Alcohol Court is being operations in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes from next April.

Full story: Community Care

Wealthy family 'tearing itself apart' over divorce as £50m fortune hangs in balance

A divorce between millionaire engineering tycoon, Richard Shield and his wife of 43 years, Susan, has rung up a £700,000 legal bill before the case has even gone to court.

Full story: The Telegraph

Birmingham children's services under takeover threat

The children's services department at Birmingham City Council could be taken over by the Department for Education, the BBC has learned.

Full story: BBC News

Serious case review for Hamzah Khan: government response

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson writes to the Chair of Bradford Safeguarding Children Board.

Full story: Department for Education

Hamzah Khan: Starved boy's death 'could not be predicted'

The death of four year-old Hamzah Khan, who starved to death in Bradford, could not have been predicted, a report has said.

Full story: BBC News

'Feckless fathers should be put in chains and made to work,' says Conservative MP

David TC Davies, a Conservative MP, has said fathers who abandon their children should be made to work to pay back the costs of their care.

Full story: The Telegraph

Private Law Working Group report published

The Private Law Working Group, which was set up by the President of the Family Division in August 2013 under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Cobb, has now reported.

Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales

Care leavers get 'raw deal', says MPs' report

Young people leaving care are given a "raw deal", according to research for an all party group of MPs.

Full story: BBC News

Gove urges 'systematic' child protection reform

Michael Gove is calling for "systematic" and "radical" reform of England's child protection system so it can meet the challenge it faces.

Full story: BBC News

Judge vows to open up family courts to the public

One of the country’s most senior judges has vowed to “open to the world” the workings of the family courts and the shadowy Court of Protection.

Full story: The Independent

Government not doing enough to support family mediation

The government is failing to support divorcing couples, a leading mediator has said as he urged the Ministry of Justice to deliver on its flagship family mediation policy.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Bill amendment prompts social work competition fears

A late amendment to the Children and Families Bill could open up children’s social work to much greater competition, the National Children’s Bureau has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Relationship breakdown costs UK £50bn a year

A new group of politicians and charities call on the Government to create a national relationship strategy.

Full story: The Telegraph

Court refuses declaration of non-recognition of forced marriage of 14 year old girl

Mr Justice Holman has dismissed an application, brought by a local authority in the course of care proceedings, for a declaration of non-recognition of the marriage of a British girl, then 14, conducted in Pakistan under circumstances of extreme duress.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications in October 2013

In October 2013, Cafcass received a total of 972 applications. This is the second highest month this year and a 2% increase compared to those received in October 2012.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In October 2013, Cafcass received a total of 3,975 new private law cases. This is a 8% decrease on October 2012 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

New standards aim to promote quality expert evidence

Vulnerable children will be helped by new national standards which will raise the quality of expert evidence in family courts and end unnecessary delays, Justice Minister Lord McNally has announced.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Ofsted's single inspection of children’s services takes effect

Ofsted's single inspection framework is now in effect on a universal, three-year cycle. It brings together into one inspection: child protection; services for looked after children and care leavers; and local authority fostering and adoption services.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children set to lose out as government confirms child maintenance charges

The government has confirmed that it intends to deduct a proportion of child maintenance from families who need to use the new child maintenance collection service.

Full story: Gingerbread

Cafcass transfer to the Ministry of Justice

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) will transfer to the Ministry of Justice in April 2014.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Pioneering family court on the edge

A trailblazing family judge has described as ‘tyranny’ the government’s demand for rigid adherence to a 26-week time limit for care cases.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Triennial Review of the Civil Justice Council and Family Justice Council

The Judicial Office is carrying out a review of the Civil and Family Justice Councils as a part of a new Triennial Review for non-departmental public bodies.

Full story: Family Law

Scot Young and the $4.5 billion Post-It note: Court hears of bankrupt tycoon's Facebook 'profit' in high-profile divorce case

A hand-written note seized from the home of the bankrupt tycoon at the centre of Britain’s most high-profile divorce suggested he made “$4.5 billion profit” in Facebook, the High Court heard on Monday.

Full story: The Independent

Not reporting child abuse 'should be criminal offence'

Failing to report allegations of child abuse should be made a criminal offence, according to the former director of public prosecutions.

Full story: BBC News

Pre-care proceedings protocol deserves urgent consideration

Bridget Lindley, Deputy Chief Executive and Principal Legal Adviser of the Family Rights Group, has called for urgent consideration to be given to the publication of a pre-proceedings protocol in conjunction with the revised Public Law Outline.

Full story: Family Law Week

Separating couples are rejecting mediation

The number of separated couples undergoing publicly-funded mediation has dropped by almost a third, compared to the same period last year, since the removal of legal aid from divorce lawyers in April 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

Call for national approach to pre-proceedings work

A legal expert is calling for the introduction of a national approach for working with vulnerable families before care proceedings are launched.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Young domestic abusers need better support, say experts

A new approach is needed to stop teens committing domestic violence, according to a group of experts.

Full story: BBC Newsbeat

Missing girl's family jailed for not revealing her location

The grandparents and aunt of a five-year-old girl at the centre of a custody battle have been sentenced to 12 days jail for contempt of court.

Full story: BBC News

Businessman's estranged wife will 'settle for £300m' in epic divorce battle

Michelle Young claims her former partner owns assets worth a few billion, but Scot Young has told judges he is bankrupt.

Full story: The Guardian

Two more Hague Convention appeals to be heard by the Supreme Court

Appeals from LC (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1058 and DL v EL [2013] EWCA Civ 865 to be heard in November.

Full story: Family Law Week

Number of cohabiting families continues to rise

There are now 2.9 million families in the UK where opposite sex couples are unmarried.

Full story: Family Law Hub

New evidence requirements prevent half of domestic violence victims from accessing legal aid entitlement

The Association of Lawyers for Children has reported the results of research which confirms initial fears that many domestic violence victims would not meet the new evidence criteria introduced by LASPO and accompanying regulations.

Full story: Family Law

Italian couples accused of divorce ‘fraud’ in UK

Hundreds of Italian couples face having their divorces overturned after being accused of running a scam to obtain a quick marriage splits through the British courts.

Full story: The Telegraph

The courts are secular, says top family judge

The law has a neutral view of religious belief, the president of the Family Division said today, stressing the secular nature of the judges’ job.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

New cross-government support strategy for care leavers

The government launches its strategy to support young people leaving care.

Full story: Department for Education

MoJ consults on legal aid remuneration in advance of Single Family Court

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on legal aid remuneration as it prepares for the Single Family Court, which swings into operation in April next year.

Full story: Family Law Hub

'Disastrous' drop in out-of-court mediation for divorcing couples

The number of divorcing couples using special out-of-court sessions to settle disputes over property and children has collapsed in the wake of legal aid cuts.

Full story: The Telegraph

Tougher requirements for independent social work providers rejected

The government has dismissed calls to strengthen requirements for GP-style social work practices to employ registered social workers.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

The President sets out need for cultural change

The President has highlighted the need for cultural change in the family courts in his latest View on the progress of reform.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Welfare benefits cap may force domestic violence victims to stay with their abusers

Research led by the Chartered Institute of Housing into the initial impact of the welfare benefits cap in Haringey has suggested that there are unintended consequences for domestic violence victims.

Full story: Family Law Week

New bulletin for children and young people’s advocates published

The first edition of the Local Government Ombudsman's bulletin for children and young people's advocacy organisations is now available.

Full story: Family Law Week

Hague Child Support Convention Explanatory Report published

The Hague Conference on Private International Law has published the Explanatory Report on the Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.

Full story: Family Law

Jail social workers who take children without telling parents why, says Britain's top family judge

The country’s most senior family judge yesterday launched a furious attack on social workers who failed to tell parents why their children were being adopted – and suggested that in future the same offence could carry a jail term.

Full story: Daily Mail

Japan to accede to Hague Convention on Child Abduction on 1st April 2014

The Japan Times reports that the Japanese government proposes to accede to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction on 1st April 2014.

Full story: Family Law Week

Professionals risk failing to spot abuse if they rely on children talking about it

Practitioners' need to build trusting relationships with children emphasised by research project.

Full story: Family Law Week

NSPCC helpline receives 50 calls about neglect each day

Referrals about 18,345 neglected children were made to social services or police in 2012/13 following calls to the NSPCC free, 24-hour helpline.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family courts sign CPS joint protocol for information sharing

The CPS has published a joint protocol for information sharing in child abuse cases.

Full story: Family Law

Children’s Services Directors respond to Ofsted’s criticisms of children’s services

The Association of Directors of Children's Service has responded to Ofsted's National Social Care Report in which it described a lack of stable leadership in may authorities' children's services.

Full story: Family Law Week

Married tax break will leave over a million couples just £1.35 a week better off, new study shows

More than one million couples will be only £1.35 a week better off under David Cameron’s flagship proposal for a married couples tax allowance, according to new research.

Full story: The Independent

Millionaire divorce: 'Yes I own a $3m apartment - it doesn't mean I'm rich'

A husband battling to convince courts he is "bust" during a bitter divorce has told a top judge: "Yes I own a $3.3m apartment - it doesn't mean I'm rich."

Full story: The Telegraph

Court of Appeal upholds English courts’ discretion to stay divorce proceedings under forum conveniens

The Court of Appeal last week handed down an important judgment, confirming that the English courts have power to stay divorce proceedings in England and Wales where there are concurrent proceedings in another non-European country with which the parties have a closer connection.

Full story: Family Law Week

New adoption scheme launched to help ‘overlooked’ children

A new scheme, developed by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies, is intended to identify and train more adoptive parents for children who, for reasons of age and ethnicity, might currently be overlooked in the adoption system.

Full story: Family Law Week

President considers refusals of permission to oppose adoption prior to Re B-S

Final adoption orders should be deferred to allow time for parents’ appeal.

Full story: Family Law Week

Essex courtroom fight heightens security concerns

A violent courtroom incident in which a man attacked his wife and was restrained by the judge has heightened concerns about court security as more litigants appear without legal representation.

Full story: The Guardian

Protocol for sharing information about vulnerable children published

CPS, family courts, social services and schools will cooperate in new initiative.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of protection 'should be opened up to public and media scrutiny'

Sir James Munby, new president of the family division, says hearings of the court of protection should be open to the media.

Full story: The Guardian

Name-and-shame culture is driving child protection professionals out of the sector

Improvement must be driven from within children's services, not imposed by ministers and Ofsted, the leader of the Local Government Association has warned.

Full story: The Guardian

Reform of the Court of Protection - The President's address

Jordans was honoured to welcome Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division and the Court of Protection to speak at the annual Court of Protection Practice Conference on 14 October 2013.

Full story: Family Law

Independent provider plans could lead to 'privatisation' of social work, warn experts

Allowing all local authorities to hand responsibility for services to GP-style social work practices risks leading to the privatisation of child protection and looked-after children services, it has been claimed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Lord Neuberger: Legal aid cuts threaten to deny justice

Proposed cuts to legal aid could deny justice to those who need it most, the UK's top judge has warned.

Full story: BBC News

Proportion of babies born in wedlock falls to new low of just 53 per cent

The proportion of babies born to married couples has reached a new low, making up just over half the total number of births last year.

Full story: The Independent

Child protection 'inadequate', Ofsted chief warns

One in seven councils in England are "inadequate" at caring for some of the most vulnerable children in society, the watchdog Ofsted has warned.

Full story: BBC News

Campaign for reform of child neglect law gathers momentum

A campaign to reform the law on child neglect is strengthening in the run up to the second reading of the Child Maltreatment Private Members' Bill on 22 November 2013.

Full story: Family Law

Peer makes fresh attempt at cohabitation rights bill

Lib Dem peer Lord Marks has introduced a new cohabitation bill, just two years after the government decided not to act on the recommendations of the Law Commission.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Court approves Sch 1 compromise agreement despite mother’s breach of terms

Mr Justice Keehan has approved a compromise agreement in respect of a mother's application under Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 notwithstanding that she acted in breach of the agreement.

Full story: Family Law Week

Britain's married minority

Married couples have officially become a minority in the UK after the number of people choosing not to tie the knot surged by 3.6 million in just 10 years, final results from the census show.

Full story: The Telegraph

High Court orders two sisters must receive MMR vaccine

A judge has ruled that sisters aged 15 and 11 must have the MMR vaccine even though they and their mother do not want it, BBC Newsnight has learned.

Full story: BBC News

High Court Judge slams 'astonishing' cost of six year Court of Protection battle over

High court judge hits out at legal costs as family fights council decision for six years.

Full story: The Independent

Young carers to receive more support under changes to Children and Families Bill

The government has tabled an amendment to the Children and Families Bill to help improve services for young carers.

Full story: Family Law Week

Gingerbread calls on councils to drop child maintenance charges

Councils must protect vital money for children in the poorest families – by keeping child maintenance out of council tax support calculations, says Gingerbread today.

Full story: Gingerbread

Child protection advisor for Coventry after Pelka death

A retired High Court judge has been appointed as a special advisor on child protection for Coventry City Council.

Full story: BBC News

Baby P council apologises for failings in Child T abuse case

Haringey council says it should have intervened more swiftly in case of toddler who at one point had 50 bruises on his body.

Full story: The Guardian

Kill off outdated family law, says retiring Coleridge

The private sector should take the lead in developing more innovative and ‘daring’ alternatives to the ‘bloodshed, time and cost’ of court, according to a retiring family judge.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Child death reviews: improving the use of evidence

A study investigating how to make better national use of the information collected through the child death review processes.

Full story: Department for Education

Silver splitter surge leaves divorce lawyers with new headache – the meddling children

It is a job which has always required the skills of a diplomat, conflict negotiator, property expert and financial whizz all rolled into one.

Full story: The Telegraph

Ofsted launches new single inspection for children’s services

Ofsted's new single framework for the inspection of local authority services for vulnerable children will come into effect from November 2013.

Full story: Family Law

Cafcass chief wary over recent fall in care applications

The head of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has dampened hopes that a recent decrease in new care applications represents the start of a sustained fall in children needing protection.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Charity chiefs back 'once-in-a-generation' change to fostering law

An alliance of 40 charity chiefs and experts is today urging members of the Lords to seize a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to change the law to give young people in foster care the same start in adult life as their peers.

Full story: The Telegraph

Cafcass private law demand

In September 2013, Cafcass received a total of 3834 new private law cases. This is a 6% increase on September 2012 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Care applications in September 2013

In September 2013, Cafcass received a total of 830 applications. This is the second lowest month this year and a 6% decrease compared to those received in September 2012.

Full story: Cafcass

Civil Partnerships in the UK, 2012

This bulletin presents annual statistics on civil partnerships that were formed in the United Kingdom in 2012.

Full story: ONS

Charity wants more specialist support for exploited children

Barnardo’s is calling for more specialist support and care for exploited children in care.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Domestic abuse victims should have right to keep address secret, say campaigners

A woman is calling for new laws to allow victims of domestic violence to withhold their addresses in court to protect them and their children.

Full story: The Telegraph

Birmingham struggles to recruit social workers

More than a fifth of frontline social worker posts are unfilled in Birmingham, it has been revealed.

Full story: BBC News

Local authority tried to move vulnerable teen from residential school without her consent

The Local Government Ombudsman has determined that social workers at Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council caused undue distress to a vulnerable teenager when they tried to force her to move from the residential school she attended.

Full story: Family Law Week

'There's no more learning left to be done', says child protection expert, in wake of Hamzah Khan death

Studying past cases of child neglect is a 'big distraction' for child protection professionals, a leading professor of social work has said, a day after a jury convicted a mother of starving her young son to death.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child Contact Centres Campaign

Napo, the trades union and professional association for Family Court Advisors and Probation Officers, is supporting a campaign to promote the statutory provision of funding to Child Contact Centres and the adoption of minimum standards for the training, support and supervision of Child Contact Centre co-ordinators.

Full story: Family Law

Child protection experts react to Keanu Williams SCR findings

The National Children’s Bureau (NCB) has called for an urgent review of how best to support children within the child protection system in the wake of the serious case review (SCR) findings into the death of Keanu Williams.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Clash between wife and mother-in-law behind £10m divorce battle

A personality clash between a millionaire dentist and her "highly controlling" mother-in-law is at the centre of a £10 million divorce battle.

Full story: The Telegraph

Keanu Williams murder: Opportunities missed to save two-year-old

There were "a number of significant missed opportunities" to save a two-year-old boy from being beaten to death by his mother, a report has found.

Full story: BBC News

Cafcass FCA pilot improves care case outcomes

A CAFCASS pilot in Warwickshire and Coventry that introduced Family Court Advisors at pre-proceedings stage has made significant reductions in the number of cases reaching court and reduced the length of care proceedings.

Full story: Family Law

Wife of fallen tycoon to cross-examine Philip Green in £400m divorce battle

The Topshop boss will be questioned by Michelle Young about £80,000 cheques he said he paid to an estate agent.

Full story: The Independent

Tamer Salama jailed again over missing daughter Elsa

A father who has refused to arrange the return of his daughter to his ex-wife has been jailed again.

Full story: BBC News

£100 million to support the education of children in care

Funding to support the education of children in care is to more than double from April 2014, announces Children’s Minister Edward Timpson.

Full story: Department for Education

Majority of girls and young women unaware of domestic violence signs

Three quarters of girls and young women aged between 11- and 21-years-old are unaware of the signs of domestic violence, according to new research launched by Girlguiding.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

New Lord Chief Justice

Sir John Thomas will become the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from today, following the retirement of The Rt Hon The Lord Judge yesterday.

Full story: Family Law

Holman J judgment starkly illustrates troubling effect of legal aid cuts

Mr Justice Holman has described graphically the practical implications for the family courts of the continuing legal aid cuts.

Full story: Family Law Week

Referrals to family mediation plummet

Referrals to family mediation – the government’s flagship solution to the removal of legal aid and congested courts – have nosedived, according to figures seen by the Gazette.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Daniel Pelka: Child protection boss 'didn't know' of case

The man in charge of child protection in Coventry when Daniel Pelka died has admitted he knew nothing about the case until after the toddler was murdered.

Full story: BBC News

David Cameron unveils marriage tax breaks plan

Plans for some married couples to get tax breaks worth up to £200 a year have been announced by David Cameron.

Full story: BBC News

Gove accepts alternative proposal from Doncaster MBC for children's services

The Education Secretary has scrapped plans to strip children’s services from Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and accepted the council’s alternative proposal.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Children’s services expenditure by local authorities planned to fall by £234m

The Office for National Statistics has released details of planned expenditure by local authorities on a range of services relating to schools, education, children and young people's services for the financial year April 2013 – March 2014.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government approach to homes for care leavers is failing, says Fostering Network

New Government figures show that the voluntary approach to providing homes for young people in care beyond the age of 18 is not working, according to Fostering Network.

Full story: Family Law Week

Invest in more support care for families in crisis, local authorities urged

Local authorities in the UK should invest in support care schemes as a cost-effective way of supporting families and keeping children out of more expensive full-time care, the Fostering Network is urging.

Full story: Family Law Week

Health watchdog announces launch of targeted child protection inspections

The Care Quality Commission is to launch a dedicated child protection inspection regime of health services in England next week.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Court statistics (quarterly) - April to June 2013

This report presents the latest statistics on type and volume of cases that are received and processed through the court system of England and Wales in the second quarter of 2013 (April to June).

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Adoptions show 'record' increase

Nearly 4,000 children in England were adopted from care in the year to March.

Full story: BBC News

Statistical release: Children looked after in England, including adoption

This statistical first release provides information about looked-after children in England for the year ending 31 March 2013.

Full story: Department for Education

Ofsted unveils inspection framework for children's services

Ofsted is to push ahead with the introduction of a tougher inspection regime for children’s services, ignoring warnings from the sector that the system is too simplistic and will fail to deliver improvements.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Daniel Pelka: New report to look into why child protection workers failed to intervene in tragic case of boy beaten to death

A new report will be published into exactly why child protection workers failed to intervene in the case of a four-year-old beaten to death by his mother and stepfather.

Full story: The Independent

Appeals process changes for DWP benefits and child maintenance

Changing the appeals process so that more decisions that claimants disagree with are resolved without being sent to the Tribunals Service.

Full story: Department for Work & Pensions

Social workers may be targeted online following Munby video footage ruling

The recent landmark ruling by Lord Justice Munby that allowed a father to post a video of social workers removing his baby is worrying news for social workers.

Full story: The Guardian

MEPs call for equal property rights for registered partners and married couples

International couples in registered partnerships should have the same right as married ones to choose which member state's national law will govern their property rights if the relationship ends, the European Parliament has resolved. These rules will not apply to the UK, Denmark or Ireland.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Appeal gives important guidance on adoption applications

The Court of Appeal has given important guidance as to the proper approach to applications for adoption orders and for leave to oppose adoption orders.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic violence increases during England World Cup football matches

Researchers from Lancaster University have found that domestic abuse increases during England World Cup football matches – especially if the team lose.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adultery falls behind bad behaviour as leading grounds for divorce

Major new study looks at trends in divorce over the past 40 years.

Full story: The Guardian

Top judge calls for more Court of Protection cases to be made public

Mr Justice Charles wants to increase public understanding of care cases.

Full story: The Independent

Social work leaders call for better use of SCRs as learning tools

Reports into child deaths should be changed to allow all child protection professionals to learn lessons from tragedies like the Daniel Pelka case, it has been claimed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Many councils still 'inadequate' on child protection

One-third of councils previously judged by inspectors to have child protection weaknesses are still failing to meet minimum requirements, figures show.

Full story: BBC News

Daniel Pelka: Ministers shun obligatory scheme for professionals to report abuse concerns

No new legislation needed as it was 'already clear that suspicions should be reported'.

Full story: The Independent

Drive to speed up adoptions means children 'may be removed from parents too quickly'

Britain’s most senior family judge has issued a pointed warning that Michael Gove’s drive to speed up adoptions should not be allowed to break up families unnecessarily.

Full story: The Telegraph

Lib Dem Conference calls for enforceable rights for cohabitants

The Liberal Democrat Conference has passed a motion which calls for "the implementation without delay of proposals giving cohabiting couples fair and reasonable redress upon relationship breakdown and upon intestacy, based upon the proposals made in the Law Commission's 2007 and 2011 reports."

Full story: Family Law Week

Daniel Pelka: Serious case review finds 'missed opportunities'

Chances were missed to help a child who was murdered by his mother and her partner after suffering "terrifying and dreadful" abuse, a report has found.

Full story: BBC News

“Common Law Marriage” myth needs addressing, say MPs

A survey of MPs has revealed that 69% of Parliamentarians agree there is a mistaken belief in the existence of “common law marriage” among their constituents, and that 57% believe the law needs to be changed to provide greater protection for unmarried couples upon separation.

Full story: Resolution

Michael Gove lambasts protection provided by children’s homes

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has given a withering assessment of the protection afforded by children's homes in an article published by the Daily Telegraph.

Full story: Family Law Week

Daniel Pelka: Calls For Child Protection Law

Almost 50,000 people have signed a petition calling for new legislation to help protect children from abuse in the wake of Daniel Pelka's murder.

Full story: Yahoo News UK

Lib Dems: Unmarried couples who split should have right to sue

Partners who have lived together for two years to get extra legal rights under proposals backed by Clegg leadership.

Full story: The Independent

Vegetarian mother stopped father seeing son in case he fed him meat

A vegetarian mother who stopped her five year-old son from seeing his father because she feared he might feed him meat must let him see the child or lose custody, a judge ruled.

Full story: The Telegraph

Pilot project reduces duration of care proceedings to 27 weeks

A pilot project to reduce unnecessary delay for children undergoing care proceedings has been largely successful.

Full story: Family Law

Minister acclaims more separated parents than ever paying towards their children

The progress being made in separated parents accepting financial responsibility for their children.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

New £19.3 million support fund for adoptive parents

The government announces new funding to support adoptive families.

Full story: Department for Education

Government announces £19.5m funding for new Adoption Support Fund

Adoptive families in England are to benefit from a new post-adoption support fund, the Department for Education announced today.

Full story: Community Care

Judges back independent social workers' key role in care cases

Oxford University study finds most family court judges believe independent social work reports are of good or excellent quality and prevent delays in care cases.

Full story: Community Care

Marriage 'no longer the foundation stone of family life'

Marriage is no longer the foundation stone of family life in Britain, a major study of public opinion suggests

Full story: The Telegraph

Supreme Court decides that High Court has inherent jurisdiction concerning child who has never lived in England and Wales

Case remitted for urgent consideration as to whether the jurisdiction should be exercised.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social work leaders criticise landmark child protection ruling

The British Association of Social Workers has spoken out against a landmark legal ruling allowing a father to post a video of police and social workers removing his baby under an emergency protection order.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Care applications in August 2013

In August 2013, Cafcass received a total of 822 applications. This is a 17% decrease compared to those received in August 2012.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In August 2013, Cafcass received a total of 4,053 new private law cases. This is a 2% increase on August 2012 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Foster care myths threaten crisis, claims charity

Myths about foster care are threatening a crisis in the service in the UK, a charity claims.

Full story: BBC News

‘Unrepentant’ judge grants permission to appeal despite contrary view as to test

Mr Justice Mostyn has granted permission to appeal in a case involving s 13 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 despite misgivings as to the likelihood of the appeal succeeding.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge orders abusive mother and autistic son, 25, to live apart

Local council told to put son in a home after mother kept him in squalid conditions with little food.

Full story: The Guardian

Judge refuses to allow husband and wife to rekindle their marriage

A judge has refused to allow husband and wife to rekindle their marriage despite them both pleading for a restraining order to be lifted, saying they must first prove they can get on over the phone.

Full story: The Telegraph

Elderly opt to live together outside marriage

A major shift in attitudes toward the idea of “living in sin” among older people has led to a sharp rise in the number of pensioners cohabiting outside of marriage, an official study of census figures suggests.

Full story: The Telegraph

Supreme Court to decide on wardship of child who has never been in the jurisdiction

On Monday, 9th September the Supreme Court will give judgment in Re A (Children).

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic violence: May orders review of police response

A review is to be carried out into the way police in England and Wales deal with cases of domestic violence, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

Full story: BBC News

Grayling presses on with civil legal aid cuts

Justice secretary Chris Grayling is forging ahead with cuts to civil legal aid.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Judge calls for more transparency in family courts

The most senior family judge in England and Wales has demanded more transparency in the courts after rejecting social workers’ attempts to silence a father whose baby was taken into care against his will.

Full story: The Telegraph

Reviewing the Independent Reviewing Officers

The National Children's Bureau is carrying out research funded by the Nuffield Foundation into the role of Independent Reviewing Officers in care cases in England.

Full story: Family Law

Police referrals of domestic violence cases drop 13%

Fall in number of cases being sent to Crown Prosecution Service to be considered for charge coincides with police staff cuts.

Full story: The Guardian

Judges 'favour badly behaved wives', says spurned husband

A property developer whose wife left him for the footballer Cesc Fabregas has accused British judges of favouring “badly behaved” wives as he expressed exasperation over his divorce settlement.

Full story: The Telegraph

Online trolling of women is linked to domestic violence, say campaigners

Online trolling against women is linked to domestic violence and abuse, experts have warned, and should not be dismissed as "obnoxious but harmless" behaviour.

Full story: The Guardian

Tragedy of 4,000 babies placed on 'at risk' register... before they're born

Thousands of babies are being put on ‘at risk’ registers by social workers before they are even born, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Full story: The Mail on Sunday

Court orders return of 'shaken' baby to parents

Judge rules local authority has not proved case for care order on nine-month-old girl over bleeding on her brain.

Full story: The Guardian

Public appointments to the Family Justice Council

Christina Blacklaws, John Daly, District Judge Gordon-Saker, and Dominic Raeside have been appointed as members of the Family Justice Council.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Judge rules divorcing couples must be honest with each other

A business tycoon who lied about his wealth in a £1.8m divorce settlement has been told he may have to pay more after a judge ruled couples have a duty to tell each other the truth when striking deals.

Full story: The Telegraph

Theresa May to demand police improve domestic violence handling

The home secretary has said she will speak to Parliament about how police in England and Wales can improve the way they handle domestic violence.

Full story: BBC News

Hundreds of millions of pounds for children at risk under child maintenance reforms

More than £300 million in maintenance was collected for children from April to June this year, vital support which Gingerbread warns is at risk as the Child Support Agency prepares for closure.

Full story: Gingerbread

Child Support Agency quarterly summary statistics: June 2013

A statistical report providing figures on caseloads, enforcement, appeals, collections and outstanding arrears.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Childhood Lost campaign calls for ASBO-style restrictions to protect children

Childhood Lost, the campaign led by Nicola Blackwood, the Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon MP and supported by charities, parents of victims, police officers, is calling for new restrictions on sex offenders who have not been convicted.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family living arrangements could be stored on chip in children’s passports in EU tug-of-love crackdown

Every family could be required to have details of their domestic arrangements stored on a chip in their children’s passport, under plans being considered by the European Commission.

Full story: The Telegraph

Medway children's care service 'inadequate'

Medway's service for children in care has been rated as inadequate in a report by the education watchdog.

Full story: BBC News

Ruling in 'toxic' hedge fund divorce sees wife paid £1,000

They were the husband and wife team who made a £200million fortune from the investment business they built together.

Full story: This is Money

Family judge criticises reliance on free representation

The president of the Family Division has criticised a legal aid regime that left a mother who faced jail reliant on her lawyers’ willingness to act for free.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Another Russian divorce case cements London as divorce capital of the world

London’s status as the divorce capital of the world was enhanced by the news in July this year that Alexei Golubovich and Olga Mirimskaya have apparently issued proceedings in London’s High Court to deal with their English property, following their divorce in Russia last year.

Full story: Spear's

Michael Gove tells Doncaster Council to work with commissioner

A commissioner has been appointed to oversee the transfer of Doncaster's children's services to an independent trust.

Full story: BBC News

Adoptions in 2012 rise by nearly 10%

In 2012, the number of adoptions in England and Wales was 5,206, an increase of 9.8% since 2011 when there were 4,740 adoptions.

Full story: Family Law Week

Thousands of police officers to get special training in child protection following series of cases

More than 4,000 police officers are to be trained in specialist child protection following a series of abuse scandals.

Full story: Daily Mail

Families struggle as cost of child raising reaches £148,000

Families are struggling as the cost of bringing up a child has risen to £148,000, according to research for the Child Poverty Action Group.

Full story: BBC News

International workshop calls on governments to promote shared parenting

New organisation seeks to bring together the best evidence-based research on share parenting.

Full story: Family Law Week

Charging parents for care undermines social work and does not save money, councils find

At least three local authorities have stopped charging parents whose children go into care after finding the plans failed to deliver benefits.

Full story: Community Care

Full Judgment published in multi-million financial provision case

King J delivers withering criticism of Husband’s litigation misconduct and orders award worth £54 million to wife.

Full story: Family Law Week

Having siblings reduces chance of divorce, according to new research

Growing up with siblings may provide some protection against divorce as an adult, according to a new study.

Full story: Family Law

Court gives go-ahead for sterilisation of disabled man in legal first

A High Court judge has for the first time sanctioned the sterilisation of a man because it is “in his best interests”.

Full story: The Independent

Doncaster slams legal flaws in DfE plan to outsource children's services

The Government’s proposed model for children’s services in Doncaster has “considerable limitations and legal complications”, the local authority has warned.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

New mark to help separated parents choose the best support to work together in the interests of their children

Two charities, Relate and Family Live, are among the first organisations to be awarded a new mark for their work in helping support separated families.

Full story: GOV.UK

Government considers next authorities for Doncaster-style intervention

The government is considering taking failing children’s services out of local control at a handful of councils, local government children’s services chief David Simmonds has said.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

More councils look at care charges for parents

Further councils are considering introducing a controversial system of charging parents if their children are taken into care, CYP Now has learned.

Full story: Chuldren & Young People Now

Job insecurity leaves marriage the preserve of middle-class couples - study

Marriage is becoming the preserve of middle-class couples as growing job insecurity leaves blue-collar workers reluctant to commit to long-term relationships, new research suggests.

Full story: The Telegraph

High workloads jeopardise care for vulnerable children

Heavy caseloads mean many independent reviewing officers (IROs) are unable to fulfill their potential to help children in care, a study has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Forced marriages: School holidays prompt warning

Teachers, doctors and airport staff need to be alert to the problem of forced marriages over the school holidays, the government has warned.

Full story: BBC News

Latest Cafcass figures for private law and care applications published

Cafcass has issued figures for the number of private law applications and care applications received in July 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court awards £54m to wife in biggest ever divorce payout

A divorced wife was today awarded £54 million by a judge — the biggest payout in a contested marriage split.

Full story: London Evening Standard

Funding boost in search for adopters

Adoption charities in England are to be given an extra £16m to help tackle a backlog of children in care waiting for an adoptive family.

Full story: BBC News

Daughter taken from parents after social workers 'misunderstood' information

Social workers and police swooped on a family home and removed a gravely ill little girl from her loving parents' care, after what was termed by judge as a 'feeding frenzy' of misinformation.

Full story: The Telegraph

Marriage a secondary consideration for would-be parents, poll shows

Only a minority of young people who plan to start a family intend to get married first, a study shows.

Full story: The Telegraph

Research indicates women become much happier after divorce

Men feel ‘slightly happier’ after divorce, according to Kingston University project.

Full story: Family Law Week

Sikh woman asks court not to annul marriage to mentally disabled man

A woman who was subjected to an arranged marriage with a man who has severe mental disabilities begged a High Court judge not to annul the union because it would consign her to permanent spinsterhood and ostracism by the Sikh community.

Full story: The Telegraph

Worcestershire unveils policy to charge parents of looked-after children

Parents could be forced to pay as much as £900-a-month if their children are taken into care, under plans announced by Worcestershire County Council.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Woman with learning difficulties will be forcibly checked for possible cancer, judge rules

A woman with severe learning difficulties who has refused to undergo medical examinations for a possible cancer of the uterus will be sedated and forcibly treated, a High Court judge ruled today.

Full story: The Independent

‘Silver’ divorces show marked increase since the 1990s

Divorce statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics show that the number of people getting divorced each year has been falling steadily since the mid-1990s. However, the number of people aged 60 and over divorcing has been rising during this period.

Full story: Family Law Week

Somerset child protection services rated inadequate

Child protection services in Somerset have been given the lowest rating of inadequate by Ofsted.

Full story: BBC News

Doncaster takeover ‘could damage children’s services’

The government’s plans to take Doncaster's children’s social care out of council control could harm service improvement, experts have suggested.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Court endorses guidance for local authorities where one parent murders the other

Mrs Justice Theis has endorsed the guidance given by Mrs Justice Hogg, in Re A and B [2010] EWHC 3824 (Fam), in cases where one parent murders the other.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mother rescues abducted daughter in SAS-style mission

A mother whose daughter was abducted and taken to Egypt by her father has rescued the toddler after disguising herself with a burka and snatching her off the street.

Full story: The Telegraph

Health and social care staff must look out for signs of domestic violence

New draft guidance on identifying and preventing domestic violence and abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse) between family members or between people who are (or who have been) intimate partners has been published by the National institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s services head urged to quit over failure to stop abuse and murder of Daniel Pelka, as mother and partner await sentence

The head of the children’s services department accused of failing to prevent the death of the four-year-old schoolboy Daniel Pelka was still in his job last night despite growing calls for him to stand down.

Full story: The Independent

Quickie celebrity divorces are unrealistic for the rest of us, warns Law Society

Celebrity divorces are giving ordinary couples an unrealistic view on what to expect when separating, warns the Law Society.

Full story: The Law Society

Serious case review to examine failures in Daniel Pelka case

A serious case review into the death of Daniel Pelka is investigating whether authorities missed opportunities to protect the child, who died after a campaign of abuse by his mother and her partner.

Full story: Community Care

Privy Council hears appeal in financial relief case which has been running for sixteen years

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has given judgment in an appeal from the Court of Appeal in Trinidad and Tobago.

Full story: Family Law Week

Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill introduced into the House of Lords

The Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Bill was introduced into the House of Lords on 30 July 2013. It is due to receive its second reading on the 22nd October 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

Access to District Judge of the Day to be reformed

The Senior Designated Family Judge for London, His Honour Judge Altman, has announced that HM Courts & Tribunal Service will no longer be able to allocate a District Judge of the Day on a daily basis.

Full story: Family Law

Court asked to sterilise man with learning difficulties

In a ground-breaking case, the Court of Protection has been asked to decide whether it would be in the 36-year-old's best interests for him to have a vasectomy.

Full story: The Telegraph

Liverpool City Council 'owed carer £10,000 in allowances'

A review of foster carer payments in England has been urged after it emerged more than 300 Merseyside carers have been underpaid for years.

Full story: BBC News

Domestic abusers facing gun ban

People with a history of domestic violence should be prevented from having guns, says the Home Office.

Full story: BBC News

NHS Trust in court battle to sterilise disabled man

An NHS trust is fighting a court battle to sterilise a man with moderate learning difficulties.

Full story: The Telegraph

Financial 'agony aunt' left penniless after losing court battle over ex-husband’s fortune

A financial agony aunt left penniless and on the brink of homelessness has lost her battle to get more money from a man she divorced more than 20 years ago.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child Maintenance Service reaches next stage

The new Child Maintenance Service (CMS) will open today (29 July 2013) to new applicants with 2 or more children.

Full story: GOV.UK

Lord Justice Thorpe retires

Lord Justice Thorpe, Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales, retires from the judiciary on 30 July, his 75th birthday.

Full story: Family Law Week

Local authorities’ financial support of foster carers must not discriminate against family and friends

The Fostering Network has welcomed a Court of Appeal ruling that local authorities in England may not discriminate against family and friends foster carers in the financial support they provide in line with requirements previously published by the Government.

Full story: Family Law Week

Council takes two years to respond to complaint about children’s services

Derbyshire County Council has taken more than two years to respond to a woman's complaint, despite assuring the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) three times that it would investigate.

Full story: Family Law Week

Online sperm donor ordered to pay maintenance for child after judge rules he is the father

A sperm donor who fathered a child with a woman he met through an unofficial website has been ordered to pay for maintenance after a judge ruled he is the biological father.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No. 11 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2013

This Order brings into force provisions of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 for the purpose of applying new rules for calculating child support maintenance to certain applications made on or after 29th July 2013 and certain cases linked to those applications.

Statutory Instrument

Judge begs couple to end 'financial suicide' in £850,000 divorce battle

A High Court judge told a divorcing couple they had committed “financial suicide” after running up legal bills of more than £850,000.

Full story: The Telegraph

Young children who witness domestic violence show later aggression

Social workers need to consider the longer term effects of exposure to violence, research suggests.

Full story: Family Law Week

BAAF urges government for post-adoption support

The British Association for Adoption & Fostering is calling upon the government to make the provision of post-adoption support a statutory requirement of adoption agencies across the UK.

Full story: Family Law Week

Protocol of 19 July 2013: Communications between judges of the Family Court and Immigration and Asylum Chambers of the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal

On 19 July 2013, the Senior President of Tribunals and the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice issued a protocol on communications between judges of the Family Court and Immigration and Asylum Chambers of the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal.

Full story: Family Law

Decline of marriage has led to family breakdown, senior judge warns

Sir Paul Coleridge, a High Court judge who started the Marriage Foundation, argues that the decline of marriage has contributed to the doubling of family breakdown since the 1980s.

Full story: The Telegraph

David Cameron's tax breaks are "symbolic", IFS says

David Cameron's tax breaks for married couples are largely "symbolic" because marriage provides little benefit to the development of children, according to leading economists.

Full story: The Telegraph