reunite reports rise in calls to its advice line

Latest figures released by reunite International Child Abduction Centre show a 9 per cent increase in the number of calls to their advice line.

Full story: Family Law Week

Unhappy couples rushing to divorce lawyers ahead of legal aid cuts

Unhappy couples have been rushing to file for divorce before legal funding is cut next week, law firms claim.

Full story: The Telegraph

Coalition 'faffing around with gay marriage’

The Government is “faffing around with gay marriage” instead of addressing major injustices in marital law, one of Britain’s leading lawyers has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Number of online divorces to rise due to legal aid cuts, lawyers claim

Legal aid cuts being imposed from next week could spark a rise in “online divorces”, lawyers have claimed.

Full story: The Telegraph

PSE reports paints a picture of growing deprivation for UK children

In its first published report 'The Impoverishment of the UK' Poverty and Social Exclusion finds that a growing number of British children are not being properly fed and are living in damp housing which their parents cannot afford to heat.

Full story: Family Law Week

Two new family Justices of Appeal

Downing Street has announced the appointment of two new family judges to the Court of Appeal.

Full story: Family Law

Average time for disposal of a care or supervision application is now 45 weeks

Nearly 30,000 children were involved in public law proceedings in 2012.

Full story: Family Law Week

Labour council tells families to take in a foster child to avoid benefit cuts

A Labour council has been attacked after it advised families faced with a cut in their housing benefits to foster a child to get around the rules.

Full story: The Telegraph

Guidance for applicants requiring evidence of domestic violence now available

Guidance and template letters for applicants requiring evidence of domestic abuse to obtain legal aid post-1 April 2013 has now been published by the Ministry of Justice.

Full story: Resolution

Cuts to legal aid leave 200,000 people at risk of marital purgatory

Ahead of the legal aid cuts family law practitioners have reiterated concerns that vulnerable people will be left without legal advice and support during divorce.

Full story: Resolution

Appeal judge makes blistering attack on ‘emasculating’ legal aid cuts

A retired judge has used one of his final cases to launch an attack on the government’s ‘emasculation’ of legal aid.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Gravely ill woman who ran away from home should not be reunited with family, court rules

Court of Protection rules 64-year-old's decision must be respected, 'terribly sad though that be'.

Full story: The Independent

Top district judge warns on burdens caused by rise in litigants in person

A rise in the number of litigants in person means many more hearings are having to become inquisitorial in nature rather than adversarial, the new President of the Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges has warned.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Guidance on deciding applications for Legal Aid in private family law matters

Two guidance documents have been published on the MoJ website concerning the provision of legal aid in private family law matters.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Michael Gove threatens to strip Doncaster council of children's services

Education secretary says council has failed to overcome 'serious and long-standing failures' in child protection.

Full story: The Guardian

The Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 (Commencement No. 3) Order 2013

This Order is the third Commencement Order made by the Secretary of State for Education under the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 and brings into force section 8 of the Act on 15th April 2013.

Statutory Instrument

Hampshire to take control of Isle of Wight children’s services

Hampshire County Council is set to take over children’s services on the Isle of Wight after its lead member for children backed the proposals.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Children whose parents have mental health difficulties are poorly supported and protected

Inconsistent mental health provision is disadvantaging young people in care, claims Ofsted.

Full story: Family Law Week

Police announce new approach to assessing risk to missing children

The Association of Chief Police Officers has announced that police forces will move towards a new approach to risk assessing and responding to missing person cases that aims to better protect children and vulnerable adults.

Full story: Family Law Week

HFEA advises Government on necessary safeguards for IVF-based mitochondria replacement

The HFEA has agreed its advice to Government on the ethics and science of new IVF-based techniques designed to avoid serious mitochondrial diseases.

Full story: Family Law Week

Draft Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill published

Consultation on the draft financial provision legislation launched.

Full story: Family Law Week

Revised safeguarding guidance for professionals working with children

Revised guidance published today by the Government clarifies the responsibilities of professionals towards safeguarding children, and strengthens the focus away from processes and onto the needs of the child.

Full story: Department for Education

Call for research into effects on children of giving evidence in abuse cases

Lord chief justice says such research would help improve way in which young witnesses are treated by justice system.

Full story: The Guardian

Northamptonshire child protection 'inadequate', Ofsted finds

The system for stopping the neglect and abuse of children in Northamptonshire is inadequate, inspectors have found.

Full story: BBC News

Child protection services in Herefordshire 'must improve'

Herefordshire Council has been told to improve child protection services or face having the government step in to take them over.

Full story: BBC News

Family courts cuts will create ‘perfect storm’

Lawyers have voiced concern about plans to cut the number of judges and courts dealing with family cases in central London at a time when increasing numbers of litigants in person are expected to put greater strain on the service.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Cafcass ‘dispensing’ with most experienced guardians, warns Nagalro

Warning of sharp decline in Cafcass' use of self-employed guardians as survey reveals nearly a third are allocated no work.

Full story: Community Care

Siblings could be split up as spare bedroom tax hits foster carers

Campaigners warn the "ridiculous" plans could deter people from fostering groups of brothers and sisters.

Full story: Community Care

Majority of councils have a principal social worker in place

More than two thirds of local authority children’s services have appointed a principal social worker as recommended in the Munro review two years ago.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

'Unbundling’ the new craze as lawyer-backed family mediation service launches

A lawyer-backed service that supports divorcing couples during mediation, charging fixed fees to halve the cost, is being billed as a possible lifeline for family legal aid lawyers after 1 April.

Full story: Legal Futures

Barrister ends up £8 million worse off after challenging divorce settlement

A barrister who took her ex-husband to court complaining that her £26 million divorce settlement was not enough has ended up £8 million worse off.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Consequential, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2013

These Regulations make transitional and saving provisions, and consequential amendments to secondary legislation, in connection with the replacement of the legal aid scheme under Part 1 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 by the provisions of Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Statutory Instrument

Couple falsely accused of child abuse win damages from Haringey council

Pair plunged into 'nightmare' after anonymous tipoff about treatment of daughter are awarded £2,000 damages in high court.

Full story: The Guardian

Foster carers with more than one child will still face 'bedroom tax'

Carers' exemption from under-occupancy charge does not extend to more than one 'spare bedroom', ministers reveal.

Full story: The Guardian

Moving family mediation forward

Family Justice Minister Lord McNally has called on mediators to lead the way in promoting out of court solutions to help separating families.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013

These Regulations make provision about the payment by the Lord Chancellor to persons who provide civil legal services under arrangements made for the purposes of Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Statutory Instrument

False allegations of domestic violence are rare, according to the CPS

The first ever study by the Crown Prosecution Service into so-called false allegations of domestic violence and rape has been published by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Full story: Family Law Week

Impact of child neglect underestimated, warns NSPCC

Child neglect is not being taken seriously enough and should be treated with the same urgency as physical or sexual abuse, says NSPCC.

Full story: Family Law Week

‘Fraudulently induced’ pre-nuptial agreement is void, says US appeal court

Decision opens the way for others to challenge pre-nups, say commentators.

Full story: Family Law Week

Warning over 'needless criminalisation' of children in care

Children in care in England and Wales are being needlessly criminalised for "trivial incidents", MPs have warned.

Full story: BBC News

The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2013

These rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010 by—
  • changing references to certain rules in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998(4) to reflect re-numbering of some of those rules;
  • in Part 30 (appeals), giving High Court Judges and Designated Family Judges power when refusing permission to appeal without a hearing, where the application is considered to be totally without merit, to make an order that the person seeking permission may not request the decision to be reconsidered at a hearing. 

Statutory Instrument

Parents to foot bill for putting children in care

Worcestershire parents who put their children into care could be made to pay the cost under council plans.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

BASW's concern at Baby P social workers appeal court ruling

BASW has said that difficult questions remain about the approach taken to staff involved in the Baby Peter Connelly case, following today's decision by the Court of Appeal to reject a claim of unfair dismissal brought by two of the boy's social workers against Haringey Council.

Full story: BASW News

MPs to vote on whether to allow straight couples enter civil partnerships

Straight couples could be allowed to enter civil partnerships, rather than get married, under proposals to be voted on by MPs.

Full story: The Telegraph

‘Bedroom tax’ U-turn allays foster carers’ fears

Foster carers will not be penalised by the so-called bedroom tax, after a change in policy.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Baby P social workers lose appeal over sacking

Judges back employment tribunal decision that Haringey council acted reasonably in dismissing Maria Ward and Gillie Christou.

Full story: The Guardian

Child neglect danger 'underestimated'

Child neglect should be taken as seriously as physical or sexual abuse because some cases will lead to death or long-term damage, a charity is warning.

Full story: BBC News

Care applications continued their upward trend in February

In February 2013, Cafcass received a total of 991 applications. This is an 11.5% increase on February 2012.

Full story: Family Law Week

Foster care pay policy 'unlawful' at Tower Hamlets

A London council's policy on payments to foster carers is unlawful, a High Court judge has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Appeal judge redefines ‘futile treatment’

Doctors should be allowed to withhold life-sustaining treatment where it would be “futile” to continue it, according to a new test laid down by a senior appeal judge earlier this week.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Grayling rides to rescue of RCJ advice centre

The Ministry of Justice today announced that it will fund the family law service provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau at the Royal Courts of Justice - after its grant was removed by the Legal Services Commission as part of the ministry’s cuts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Domestic violence figures are disturbingly high, says charity

Citizens Advice says it received reports of attacks from 13,500 people – 80% of them women – in 2012.

Full story: The Guardian

Master of the Rolls' Practice Guidance of March 2013: Terminology for Litigants in Person

The Master of the Rolls has issued guidance as to the terminology that should be used to describe individuals who conduct legal proceedings on their own behalf.

Practice Guidance: Family Law

Social workers arrived to seize baby in labour ward

A mother has been reunited with the baby who was taken away from her by social workers who turned up unannounced at her bedside while she was in labour after an administrative oversight.

Full story: The Telegraph

Adoption push could break up families unnecessarily, peers warn

Michael Gove’s drive to increase adoption rates could end up unnecessarily breaking up families, peers have warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

Ministers urged to exempt foster carers from 'bedroom tax'

Leaders of 11 children's charities say new rules will make it more difficult for people in social housing to become foster carers.

Full story: The Guardian

Independent fostering providers plead for greater autonomy

Plans to allow councils to delegate provision of children's social services to staff-led mutuals should be extended to cover independent fostering providers, the government has been told.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Lord Neuberger, UK's most senior judge, voices legal aid fears

The president of the UK Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, has said he fears cuts to legal aid could undermine the rule of law.

Full story: BBC News

Forced Marriage Unit helped 250 children last year

At least 250 children in the UK were helped by a unit set up to tackle forced marriages last year, with the youngest case involving a two-year-old.

Full story: BBC News

Battle for tycoon's assets threatens UK's title as divorce capital of the world

Landmark case in supreme court will decide whether spouses can protect assets by citing company law.

Full story: The Guardian

Children in gay adoptions at no disadvantage

Fears that children adopted by gay and lesbian couples do less well in life are completely unfounded, according to the first study into how children and parents in non-traditional families fare compared with heterosexual households.

Full story: The Independent

Open up family court hearings, says senior judge

A senior judge has made an important ruling in favour of transparency in the family courts.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children’s Commissioner raises concerns about Children and Families Bill

The Office of the Children's Commissioner has published a child rights impact assessment of Parts 1 – 3 of the Children and Families Bill.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children and Families Bill passes its second reading

MPs debated the second reading of the Children and Families Bill in the House of Commons on Monday, 25th February 2013. The Bill was passed without a division and will now be considered by a Public Bill Committee.

Full story: Family Law Week