Divorce-related legal complaints most common

Family law accounted for the highest number of complaints dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman last year, a report published today reveals.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Justice ministry under pressure to curb attacks on family court judges

Judges dealing with sensitive issues – including child custody – in the family courts have had hate mail sent to their homes, been physically attacked and been victims of attempted assaults in court buildings, according to information obtained by the Guardian.

Full story: The Guardian

Five specialist family lawyers appointed Queen’s Counsel

84 new appointments as Queen's Counsel, from 183 applicants, were announced on Wednesday 27 February 2013.

Full story: Family Law Week

US court rules against Scottish mother in bitter transatlantic custody row

A six-year-old British girl is a step closer to being sent to live in Alabama after the US Supreme Court ruled against her Scottish mother in a bitter transatlantic custody battle that could set a landmark precedent for future cases.

Full story: The Telegraph

Council launches drive to recruit 'resilience foster carers' for troubled teenagers

Former police and prison officers are being urged to become “resilience foster carers” offering homes to the most challenging looked-after teenagers, as part of a Staffordshire County Council campaign.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Council's child safeguarding service rated inadequate by Ofsted

Norfolk's director of children’s services said Ofsted's inspection criteria has got tougher, but council is determined to improve fast.

Full story: Community Care

Businessman fails in bid to prevent wife divorcing him following a holiday row over map-reading

A businessman whose wife divorced him after an argument over her map-reading during a holiday in France has failed in a legal bid to overturn the decision after a family judge said he has similar rows with his own wife.

Full story: The Telegraph

Mediation fails to reduce litigation over children

Greater use of mediation in family proceedings has had a limited impact on the number of children involved in private family law cases, recent figures show.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Del Monte chief Vivian Imerman agrees £15m divorce settlement

The high-profile divorce battle between the multimillionaire drinks magnate Vivian Imerman, nicknamed "The Man from Del Monte", and his estranged wife, Lisa Tchenguiz, has ended in a £15m settlement.

Full story: The Guardian

Divorcing couples often hide assets, survey suggests

Many people going through divorce could be hiding their wealth from their partners, a survey suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Uncertain future for serious case reviews following government delay

Ex-children's minister says the government should have the power to force local authorities to carry out serious case reviews, while the preferred model for SCRs remains unclear.

Full story: Community Care

Four in five parents now paying for their children

Figures released today show the vast majority of parents who use the Child Support Agency (CSA) are now paying for their children.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Figures show divorce hot spots

Separating couples are being urged to use mediation instead of ending up in courtroom battles after a list of England and Wales divorce hot spots was revealed.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Briefing on Children and Families Bill

Resolution has drafted a briefing on the Children and Families Bill.

Full story: Resolution

Supreme Court dismisses local authority’s appeal in J (Children)

The real possibility that the parent caring for the child has harmed a child in the past is not by itself sufficient,’ says Lady Hale.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court unanimously allows father’s appeal in L and B (Children)

Court considers circumstances in which a judge is entitled to change her mind after oral judgment.

Full story: Family Law Week

Munro two years on: Social workers find little has changed

Professor Eileen Munro’s much-anticipated review of child protection was initially heralded a great success by social workers, but now, nearly two years since the review was published, it appears there is less optimism about its potential to reform.

Full story: Community Care

Baby P social workers begin their case at Court of Appeal

Two social workers sacked by Haringey council in the wake of the Baby Peter tragedy will appear at the Court of Appeal today to argue they were unfairly dismissed.

Full story: Community Care

Supreme Court will decide this week whether finding of fact can be relied upon in respect of later children

The Supreme Court is due to hand down its judgment on Wednesday, 20th February in Re J (Children).

Full story: Family Law Week

David Jones: Welsh secretary clarifies gay marriage view

The Welsh secretary has sought to clarify his views on gay marriage after claiming same-sex couples could not provide a "warm and safe environment" in which to raise children.

Full story: BBC News

Judge blocks sterilisation of Down's Syndrome woman

The parents of a “tactile” and “affectionate” woman with Down’s syndrome have been forbidden from having her sterilised to allay their fears that she might become pregnant.

Full story: The Telegraph

Heterosexual couples challenge 'discriminatory' civil partnerships bar

Laws restricting civil partnerships to gay couples discriminate against heterosexuals, four straight couples are to argue in a landmark challenge at the European Court of Human Rights.

Full story: The Telegraph

Conspiracy of silence on value of marriage: Politicians frightened to admit fathers are vital, says top family lawyer

Marriage is as important to the future of the nation as climate change and poverty, a senior family lawyer said yesterday.

Full story: Daily Mail

Cabinet minister: Gay couples cannot provide safe environment for children

The Welsh secretary has said gay couples "clearly" cannot provide a "warm and safe environment" in which to raise children.

Full story: BBC News

Court of Appeal: Retirement of Lord Justice Ward

Lord Justice Ward retired from the Court of Appeal on 15 February 2013.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Judge blocks 'worrying' attempt to take girl away from blind adoptive mother

A council has been blocked from removing a girl from her would-be adoptive mother who had gone blind, after a judge ruled social workers were wrong to assume that her visual impairment meant she was not a suitable parent.

Full story: The Telegraph

Gay marriage: no opt-out for Christian registrars

Christian registrars will not be able to opt out of performing gay marriages if they object on grounds of belief, the Government’s human rights watchdog has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Medway Council child protection services 'inadequate'

Medway Council today vows to speed up improvements already being made to its child protection services, after being rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted inspectors.

Full story: ITV News

Judge: House prices are undermining marriage

A High Court judge today warned of the “real danger” that high property prices were deterring couples from marrying and fuelling relationship breakdowns.

Full story: London Evening Standard

Charity warns of foster carer shortfall

At least 9,000 new foster families will be needed across the UK this year to look after the record numbers of children in care who need to be fostered, research by the Fostering Network has revealed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Support for new child care target

Family lawyers’ group Resolution has expressed support for the introduction of a 26-week target for care cases, but warned the needs of children must remain paramount.

Full story: New Law Journal

The Immigration (Procedure for Formation of Civil Partnerships) (Amendment) Regulations 2013

These Regulations amend the list of registration authorities in the Schedule to the Immigration (Procedure for formation of Civil Partnerships) Regulations 2011 by replacing reference to Cardiganshire North with Ceredigion.

Statutory Instrument: Family Law

Minister clashes with MP over 'gold standard' marriage claim

Culture Secretary Maria Miller has clashed with a Labour MP after describing marriage as a "gold standard" that people aspire to.

Full story: BBC News

Divorcees to plunder their partners' pensions

Hundreds of thousands of divorcees may have to hand over more of their pension to their former spouse.

Full story: The Telegraph

Number of 'no-nups' soar as cohabiting couples seek to protect assets

The number of couples signing legal contracts before moving in with one another has risen sharply in recent years as concerned parents seek to protect family wealth from messy break ups, a London law firm has reported.

Full story: The Telegraph

1.5 million children across UK face neglect on a daily basis, claims report

Action for Children calls for more public advice to aid the reporting of neglect.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judges 'should talk to children before making care decisions'

MPs warn that judges often have little experience in family law instead relying on evidence produced by social workers.

Full story: The Observer

Practice guide to the Hague Convention 1996 published

The Ministry of Justice has published the 1996 Hague Convention Practice Guide.

Full story: Family Law Week

New Ofsted report highlights failings in data for missing children

The Chief Inspector of Ofsted has published a new report that highlights the need for urgent action to establish a single register to track accurately the number of children who go missing.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Family Justice Modernisation Programme: Implementation Update Number Two

The second Implementation Update has been published for the Family Justice Modernisation Programme.

Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales

Care application levels continue increasing

In January 2013, Cafcass received a total of 960 applications. This is a 4% increase on January 2012 levels and is the fourth highest level of applications recorded in a single month this financial year.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass publishes its draft strategic plan

Cafcass has published its draft strategic plan for 2013-15, which is now open for consultation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Survive the first ten years and marriage stays strong

Young couples who get through the first 10 years of marriage have the same chance of staying together as their grandparents’ generation, a study of divorce patterns over the last 50 years suggests.

Full story: The Telegraph

Reoffending by child sex offenders can be prevented, say independent inspectors

Re-offending by children and young people who commit sexual offences can be prevented, but opportunities to intervene early were often missed by professionals who failed to recognise the significance of their sexual behaviour, according to independent inspectors.

Full story: Family Law Week

Two million have experienced domestic abuse in last twelve months

There were 2.0 million victims of domestic abuse in 2011/12, according to the Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences 2011/12, published by the Office for National Statistics.

Full story: Family Law Week

Victorian child neglect laws in 'urgent' need of overhaul, warns Baroness Butler-Sloss

The current laws on child neglect are not fit for the 21st Century and in “urgent” need of reform, Britain's most senior authority on family law warns today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Mrs Justice Baron ‘deprecates’ district judge’s home visits to check residence claims

Mrs Justice Baron, hearing an appeal in AMV v RM [2012] EWHC 3629 (Fam) which concerned the future care of two young children, has deprecated the decision by a district judge to visit the homes of the mother and grandparents in order to check the veracity of the mother's claims as to residence of the children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Study: kids of divorce more likely to do badly at school

Children whose parents divorce after they turn seven are more likely to misbehave and perform badly at school, according to a new Government-funded study.

Full story: The Christian Institute

Gay marriage: PM rejects call to allow civil partnerships for straight couples

David Cameron tells traditionalist Tory MP he wants to 'promote marriage' and not weaken it.

Full story: The Guardian

Gay marriage: Russia warns Britain vote could hinder adoption

A senior Russian official has said the approval of gay marriage by parliaments in Britain and France will limit the chances of citizens of those countries who want to adopt Russian children.

Full story: The Telegraph

Government plans for radical overhaul of family law would do little to help improve lives of vulnerable children, warn charities

Charities warned that Government plans for a radical overhaul of family law including the introduction of shared parental leave would do little to help improve the lives of the most vulnerable children.

Full story: The Independent

Gay marriage: Legislation passes Commons despite Tory opposition

MPs have approved legislation for same-sex marriage in England and Wales, despite the opposition of dozens of Conservative MPs.

Full story: BBC News

BASW: Empowered social workers must be at heart of children & families reforms

As children’s minister Edward Timpson today introduces the Children and Families Bill to parliament, BASW issues a reminder to government that social workers need more help to keep families together, and that an obsessive focus on adoption is not the cure to all of society’s ills.

Full story: BASW News

Major reforms to support children and families

The Children and Families Bill, published today, includes reforms to adoption, family justice, an overhaul of Special Educational Needs, reinforcing the role of the Children’s Commissioner and plans to introduce childminders agencies.

Full story: Department for Education

New Practice Direction 25F

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 25 and relates to assessors in family proceedings.

Practice Direction: Family Law

New Practice Direction 25E

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 25 and relates to discussions between experts in family proceedings.

Practice Direction: Family Law

New Practice Direction 25D

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 25 and relates to Financial Remedy Proceedings and Other Family Proceedings (Except Children Proceedings) - The Use of Single Joint Experts and the Process Leading to Expert Evidence Being Put Before the Court.

Practice Direction: Family Law

New Practice Direction 25C

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 25 and relates to Children Proceedings - The Use of Single Joint Experts and the Process Leading to an Expert Being Instructed or Expert Evidence Being Put Before the Court.

Practice Direction: Family Law

New Practice Direction 25B

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 25 and relates to the duties of an expert, the expert's report and arrangements for an expert to attend court.

Practice Direction: Family Law

Brain-damaged groom was 'mentally incapable' of understanding commitment

A man who married his childhood sweetheart in his fifties after the pair rekindled their young love has had his marriage declared invalid by a judge as he was not capable of understanding the meaning of a lifelong commitment.

Full story: Daily Mail

Second reading of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill this week

Conservative activists urge Prime Minister to delay the Bill.

Full story: Family Law Week

Budget 2013: No tax break for married couples

The government will not introduce a tax break for married couples in next month's Budget, it has emerged.

Full story: BBC News

Children’s Commissioner calls for comprehensive impact assessments of Government’s judicial review proposals

The Office of the Children's Commissioner for England has published its response to the proposals of the Ministry of Justice for reform of judicial review.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mental health services must involve patients in their care decisions, says CQC annual report

The Care Quality Commission's Mental Health Act Annual Report reveals that 15 per cent of people receiving care under the Act are not being involved in the decisions made about their care.

Full story: Family Law Week

Sharia divorces could be allowed after legal ruling

Divorces settled by religious courts including Sharia are a step closer to being allowed under British law after a landmark legal decision.

Full story: The Telegraph

New approach to expert evidence in family proceedings

New rules have come into force which will mean judges can streamline proceedings in family courts by reducing the number of expert witnesses who have to give evidence.

Full story: Judicial Office

Sperm donors given leave to apply for contact with children

In the High Court Mr Justice Baker has ordered that known sperm donors can apply for Children Act 1989 section 8 orders in respect of children, despite having no legal relationship with them under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.

Full story: Family Law Week