New Practice Direction 25A

This Practice Direction and Practice Directions 25B to E relate to expert evidence and supplement FPR.

Practice Direction: Family Law

Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Overseas Relationships) Order 2012

This Order amends Schedule 20 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Statutory Instrument: Family Law

Reducing delays in family courts

New measures have been introduced to ensure child care cases are dealt with more quickly and effectively in family courts.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

FPR PD15B - adults who may be protected parties and children who may become protected parties in family proceedings

Coming into force on 31 January 2013 is FPR Practice Direction 15B - adults who may be protected parties and children who may become protected parties in family proceedings, which supplements FPR Part 15 (representation of protected parties).

Practice Direction: Family Law

Butler-Sloss condemns advice cuts

Removing funding for a service that helps litigants in person on the day wide-ranging legal aid cuts take effect will create ‘absolute disarray’ in the courts, a former head of the family division has warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

UK residents (under 65) living in married households have declined by 6% in last ten years

The latest statistical bulletin, published by the Office for National Statistics and derived from the 2011 census, focuses on the structure of households.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social workers to gain powers to enter homes in abuse cases

Social workers in Wales would gain powers to enter homes where abuse is suspected to assess adults at risk under legislation to overhaul social services in Wales, published yesterday.

Full story: Community Care

High Court grants anonymity in TOLATA dispute

Mr Justice Mostyn reviews law on anonymisation and freedom of expression.

Full story: Family Law Week

Research into long-term effects of children adopted from foreign orphanages published

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering has published new research into the long-term effects and outcomes for children adopted from orphanages and other institutions from abroad.

Full story: Family Law Week

Equal Marriage a step closer as legislation published

A Government commitment to open up marriage to same-sex couples took an important step forward today with the publication of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Full story: Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Same-sex marriages: Government publishes legislation

Legislation to enable same-sex marriages to take place in England and Wales has been published.

Full story: BBC News

Family Justice Board action plan published

This plan sets out the actions the Board and its partners will take to achieve the Government's vision of a family justice system that supports the delivery of the best possible outcomes for all children who come into contact with it.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Council adoption services at risk from 'heavy-handed' shake-up

Government plans to strip councils of responsibility for adoption if they are slow to find new families for children could be damaging to vulnerable youngsters, critics claim.

Full story: The Guardian

Adoption reforms ‘risk undermining support for vulnerable children’

Plans to redirect £150m of early intervention funding into adoption reform risk reducing frontline services for vulnerable children, the chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Eight councils fail new child-protection spot checks

Eight councils in England have failed new spot checks on child protection in the past six months.

Full story: BBC News

Adoption: Councils could lose powers, says government

Councils in England could lose their powers over adoption services if they take too long to find adoptive parents, ministers have announced.

Full story: BBC News

Property laws for cohabiting couples 'unfair', judge says

Property laws for cohabiting couples are “unfair” on women who are often left with nothing after separating from their partners, an appeal court judge said on Wednesday.

Full story: The Telegraph

President queries separate representation of parties who ‘stand together’ in care proceedings

Sir James Munby in his first published judgment as President of the Family Division has questioned the separate representation of parties who share a common interest.

Full story: Family Law Week

Many public law child cases will not conclude within 26 weeks, magistrates warn

Magistrates have warned that many public law children cases will not be concluded within the proposed 26-week timeframe for care proceedings, it has emerged.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Legal Services Board questions the benefits of the ‘cab rank rule’

The Legal Services Board has published a report analysing the impact on the market of paragraphs 601-610 of the of the Bar Standards Board's code, otherwise known as the 'cab rank rule'.

Full story: Family Law Week

Two-thirds of children who died of abuse in 2012 'could have been saved'

Nearly two-thirds of children who died as a result of abuse last year could have been saved, a damning report has claimed.

Full story: The Independent

Chief inspector in Wales raises concerns about social worker caseloads

The Welsh inspectorate’s latest annual report found ‘stark variability’ in the performance of social services departments across the country.

Full story: Community Care

LSC decides against funding community legal service grants

The LSC has decided to end the CLS grants programme when the current grants come to end on 31 March 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

LSC Guidance: High cost cases and family advocacy scheme guidance

On 17 January 2013, the Legal Services Commission issued clarification about fees in high-cost case plans.

Full story: Family Law

Japan will join Hague Convention on child abduction

The Japan Times reports that the Japanese Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida, has announced that the government will ratify 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Full story: Family Law Week

Foster carers call for reforms to tackle false allegations

The Department for Education has come under fire for failing to improve support for foster carers who have been subjected to false or malicious allegations.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Prior authorities for experts in family cases

New guidance has been published online to help providers identify when they need to apply for prior authorities for experts in family cases.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Average time for disposal of care and supervision applications is 47.7 weeks

The average time for the disposal of a care or supervision application in the third quarter of 2012 was 47.7 weeks, continuing the drop from 51.6 weeks in the previous quarter.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family lawyers praise High Court for jailing husband

The decision of the High Court to imprison Scot Young, a man whose wife Michelle believes is worth up to £400m, has been welcomed by family lawyers.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Almost a third of legal aid firms ‘consider pulling out’

More than 31 per cent of legal aid practices are considering pulling out of publicly funded work, a survey of 2,000 firms by the Law Society and LSB has revealed.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Kent’s improved, but cuts hurting children nationally

BASW has praised Kent Council for turning round its previously failing children’s services, but warned that government cuts continue to put children at risk nationally.

Full story: BASW News

Property dealer tycoon Scot Young jailed in divorce cash row

A property dealer involved in a cash fight with his estranged wife was given a six-month jail term today after a High Court judge ruled that he had failed to provide details of his finances and was in contempt of court.

Full story: The Independent

Ofsted proposes single, annual inspection of Cafcass

Ofsted is consulting on plans to replace individual inspections of Cafcass offices with one, annual inspection of the body as a national organisation.

Full story: Community Care

Early intervention funding cut by further £49m

Early intervention funding for councils is to be cut by an additional £49m over the next two years, striking a further blow to targeted support for disadvantaged children and young people.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Woman asks judge to jail 'property tycoon' husband Scot Young

A woman today asked a High Court judge to jail her estranged husband - claiming that he was in contempt of orders to reveal details of his finances.

Full story: The Independent

Councils blame government red tape for slow adoption progress

Councils are struggling to speed up the adoption process because of the government’s failure to carry out pledges to reduce time-consuming and “ridiculous” bureaucracy, the Local Government Association has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Solicitors warned on property joint ownership

Solicitors should encourage joint property purchasers to put in writing how ownership is apportioned between them to avoid disputes where relationships break down, the Law Society and Land Registry have warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Father jailed over Atiya Anjum-Wilkinson abduction fails in release bid

A father who abducted his daughter and took her to Pakistan has failed in his High Court bid to be released from prison.

Full story: BBC News

No 50-50 sharing of children in new divorce law, says top judge

Parents going through divorce are being “ridiculous” if they think new laws will give them equal access to their children, says Britain’s leading family court judge.

Full story: Daily Express

The Care Inquiry draws to close with final session

Final report and recommendation will be published in Spring 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

Husband tricked into believing wife's children were his awarded £25,000 damages

A husband has won £25,000 in damages for “bereavement” after his wife tricked him into believing children whom he raised until they were teenagers were his rather than the products of affairs.

Full story: The Telegraph

'Adoption hotspots' map a gimmick not a solution

The Government’s ‘adoption hotspots’ map launched today showing authorities with the highest number of children waiting for adoption was described as a “simplistic approach” to a complex subject by BASW’s Acting Chief Executive Bridget Robb.

Full story: BASW News

Adoption map launched to encourage would-be adopters

A new map showing the number of children waiting to be adopted in different parts of England is being published by the government.

Full story: BBC News

Pregnant woman with mental health impairments avoids order for abortion

A pregnant woman with significant mental health impairments will not have to undergo an abortion after a senior judge ruled that she had enough capacity to decide whether she wanted to become a mother.

Full story: The Independent

Law Society Practice Note of 9 January 2013: Attendance of Solicitors at Local Authority Children Act Meetings

On 9 January 2013, the Law Society issued a Practice Note on attendance of solicitors at local authority Children Act meetings.

Practice Note: Family Law

Civil partnership recognised as 'marriage' by court

Two architects who took part in a civil partnership ceremony in Britain have become the first such couple to be officially recognised as “married”.

Full story: The Telegraph

Girl, 4, placed in foster home with suspected paedophile

A young girl was left in a foster home for a fortnight with a man accused of downloading child pornography in a case which the authorities have tried to cover up.

Full story: The Telegraph

December care applications 4% up on previous year

In December 2012, Cafcass received a total of 847 applications. This is a 4.3% increase on December 2011 levels, though it is 11% down on November 2012 levels, probably due to the seasonal reduction in demand that occurs each December.

Full story: Family Law Week

Matrimonial property rules ‘not sustainable’, family solicitors say

Resolution backs Law Commission on need for reform to avoid postcode lottery.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Khyra Ishaq estate and family members to sue Birmingham

Birmingham City Council is facing legal action from the estate of Khyra Ishaq and members of her family, it has emerged.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Doctors seek court order to carry out abortion on mentally disabled woman

Doctors are applying for a court order to allow them to carry out an abortion on a mentally disabled woman without her consent.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family barristers question commission’s matrimonial property principles

The Law Commission’s proposals to introduce a ‘clear, principled basis’ for sorting out matrimonial property disputes risk making settlements harder to achieve, the Family Law Bar Association has warned.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Ford Tycoon makes legal history as he is jailed for two years for hiding money from former wife in divorce battle

A tycoon accused of hiding a multi-million-pound fortune from his former wife in an acrimonious divorce battle has been sentenced to two years in jail.

Full story: Daily Mail

Benefit cuts 'will see more children taken into care'

Record numbers of children are likely to be taken away from their families this year as parents struggle to cope with the effects of public-sector cuts and benefits changes, a senior child protection figure has warned.

Full story: The Independent

Children more at risk since Baby P, says sacked council chief

The former head of children’s services for the London Borough of Haringey said she believed children were now at greater risk in the wake of the Baby P scandal because social workers were now perceived as people to hide from.

Full story: The Independent

Best practice guidance published on FDR appointments

The Money and Property Committee of the Family Justice Council has produced best practice guidance for financial dispute resolution appointments.


Full story: Family Law Week

DIY divorces set to surge as legal aid vanishes

Lawyers warn that tens of thousands of people could find splitting up harder and more costly this year.

Full story: The Independent

GPs in crossfire as separated parents seek access to children's records

Increasing numbers of family doctors seeking advice on whether they should give information to separated parents.

Full story: The Guardian

Young people wish for quicker family justice system

The family justice system should work faster to stop children and young people from suffering “trauma and stress”, according to a group of young people with family court system experience.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Extra £10 million for mediation

New measures are being put in place to support separating couples at the time of year when the number of people considering separation and divorce is at its peak.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Divorcing couples 'should try mediation before using courts'

It is a new year and time to make a fresh start after the pressure cooker atmosphere of a family Christmas.

Full story: The Telegraph

'Secrecy' of social workers makes them look ‘idiotic’ Social workers must ‘explain more’ after Ukip case

Social workers must be more willing to explain their decisions to the public because a culture of secrecy is allowing sensible rulings to be seen as “random and idiotic”, according to the policy expert who carried out the Government’s independent review of the profession.

Full story: The Independent