President gives guidance on urgent appeals in adoption cases

In C (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 431, the President of the Family Division has given guidance to the profession concerning urgent appeals in adoption cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

Council pays five-figure sum to settle 'failure to remove' case

A local authority has settled a case where the claimant alleged that it had repeatedly failed to take her into care when she was young.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Girl, 14, forced to become pregnant with donor sperm bought by mother

A mother forced her 14-year-old adopted daughter to inseminate herself with donor sperm to provide a baby for her after she was prevented from adopting any more children, it can be revealed.

Full story: The Guardian

Second marriages are less likely to end in divorce than first

The Marriage Foundation think-tank has produced a report revealing that second marriages are more stable than first marriages, challenging the widely held belief that couples who remarry are doomed to repeat the mistakes from their first marriage.

Full story: The Marriage Foundation

Tax breaks for married couples 'in force by 2015 election' promises Cameron

Tax breaks for married couples will be introduced within the next two years, David Cameron pledged today following Conservatives accusations that he is failing to support family life.

Full story: The Independent

Short term planning is damaging child protection services, says Action for Children

The early intervention by local authorities to ameliorate acute family problems, such as neglect or family breakdown, with effective support is being compromised by short term planning, according to a new report published by the charity, Action for Children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Major bank dragged into Scot Young divorce battle

A major British bank that received billions of pounds from the taxpayer has been dragged into Britain’s most high-profile and bitter divorce.

Full story: London Evening Standard

Law Society launches surveys on the impact of LASPO

Surveys for ‘complex’ family law cases and domestic violence matters.

Full story: Family Law Week

'Cruelly deceived' father who only learned he had a son when he was four is banned by courts from seeing him after he was adopted

A 'cruelly deceived' father who has never seen his five-year-old son today had his hopes dashed of building a relationship with the boy.

Full story: Daily Mail

President's Guidance of April 2013: Communicating with the Home Office in Family Proceedings

The 'Communicating with the Home Office in Family Proceedings' protocol enables the family courts to communicate with the Home Office (UK Borders Agency and Identity and Passport Service) to obtain immigration, visa and passport information for family court proceedings.

Full story: Family Law

Government plans to overhaul 'lower standards' of care in children's homes

Children’s minister unveils new duties for children’s homes and local authorities, and plans to overhaul training for residential child care workers.

Full story: Community Care

Councils praised for 45% rise in children placed for adoption

The number of children placed for adoption in England has nearly doubled over the last year, according to research by the Association of Directors of Children's Services.

Full story: Community Care

Thousands of children in care go missing every year

Nearly 3,000 children placed in care were repeatedly running away last year, with one able to go missing a total of 67 times in twelve months, figures released today reveal.

Full story: The Independent

‘Child Poverty Act framework needs to be supplemented, not replaced’

Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission publishes response to government’s consultation .

Full story: Family Law Week

Co-op goes face-to-face with nationwide family legal aid service

Co-operative Legal Services has today made its major move into family law services by unveiling a telephone advice service for those people still able to claim legal aid help and a network of 78 face-to-face locations across England and Wales.

Full story: Legal Futures

ADCS calls for greater use of kinship care

The Association of Directors of Children's Services has launched new research into the care system.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parents attack Haringey over investigation into false abuse claims

Couple say there is 'culture of bad practice' at north London council children's services.

Full story: The Guardian

Cafcass commits to “doing more with less”

Cafcass has launched its Strategic Plan for 2013-15.

Full story: Family Law Week

High Court upholds separation agreement 22 years later

Mrs Justice Parker has granted a husband's application that a separation agreement signed by the parties in 1991 should be made an order of court.

Full story: Family Law Week

Wife’s fury as husband in £400m divorce battle is freed from prison

The wife in Britain’s most high-profile, bitter divorce reacted with fury today after her husband was freed from jail and pictured partying with his model girlfriend in Soho.

Full story: Evening Standard

Official Solicitor's Practice Note of March 2013

In March 2013, the Official Solicitor published a Practice Note entitled: The Official Solicitor to the Senior Courts: Appointment in Family Proceedings and Proceedings under the Inherent Jurisdiction in Relation to Adults.

Full story: Family Law

Judge criticises social workers for not challenging police

Social workers have been forced to re-assess a case after the appeal court found they were at fault for not challenging police officers enough.

Full story: Community Care

MoJ seeks to streamline fee remission

New consultation published with a view to a single system for all courts as part of the Government’s strategy 'to protect access to justice'.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Council faces £210k costs bill after "blatantly unlawful" conduct over freeing orders

A High Court judge has ordered a county council to pay up to £210,000 in costs after a freeing orders case where the authority’s conduct was “blatantly unlawful and unreasonable” to the boys affected over many years.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Thousands of children abused in their own homes are not being protected by local authorities, damning NSPCC report warns

Hundreds of thousands of children abused in their own homes are slipping through the net as local authorities are unable to protect them, a children's charity has warned today.

Full story: Daily Mail

Taxpayer saved at least £23,000 per year for each child in informal kinship care

New study examines experiences of children in informal kinship care.

Full story: Family Law Week

Pension advice essential during divorce, research finds

A fifth of women abandon paying into a pension after divorce and a quarter reduce their general savings, according to research from Phoenix Group.

Full story: IFAonline

Reforms must work, family division head warns

‘Revolutionary’ reforms to the family justice system to speed up cases and cut costs must be made to work, the head of the Family Division has warned practitioners.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

High Court emphasises the local authority’s duty to consult appropriately before removing children subject to ICO

Court finds for mother in judicial review proceedings against council.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Amendment of Schedule 1) Order 2013

This Order amends Schedule 1 to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which sets out the scope of civil legal aid.

Statutory Instrument

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2013

This Order commences sections 49 to 54 of the Act on 1st April 2013. Sections 49 to 51 of the Act make provision for a general power, not limited to maintenance pending suit, for a court in divorce, nullity of marriage or judicial separation proceedings to order payment by one party to the other for the purpose of securing legal services; and sections 52 to 54 of the Act make corresponding provision in relation to proceedings for a dissolution, nullity or separation order in respect of a civil partnership.

Statutory Instrument

Court terminates father’s parental responsibility

First reported case on issue since 1995 determines child’s needs justify termination of PR.

Full story: Family Law Week

Lord Justice Ryder talks of “revolutionary culture of change” in family justice

Speaking at Resolution's national conference in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the outgoing Judge in Charge of the Modernisation of Family Justice talked of a "revolutionary culture of change" within the family justice system.

Full story: Family Law

Torbay child protection service 'improves'

Child protection in Torbay has improved according to inspectors who condemned the service in 2010.

Full story: BBC News

Ofsted derails joint child protection inspection plans

Plans for joint child protection inspections involving regulators across social care, health and youth justice are in disarray.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Pilot scheme to help separating parents reach own agreements launched

Chair of Resolution, Liz Edwards, today announced the launch of a new scheme, ‘Family Matters’, at the largest annual conference of family law practitioners.

Full story: Resolution

Expert witness ruling a blow to children, Society warns

Children involved in family law cases will face extra uncertainty following a High Court ruling on the funding of expert witnesses, the Law Society has warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Lead children's councillor resigns over poor Ofsted rating

Sandwell’s cabinet member for children’s services, Bob Badham, has resigned after Ofsted rated the council’s services for safeguarding children as inadequate.

Full story: Community Care

Government funds new innovative support for separated parents

Over a quarter of a million separated parents in Britain are set to benefit from £6.5m of pioneering and innovative support to help them to work together for the sake of their children, the Government said today (10 April).

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

High Court rules on funding of experts in legal aid cases involving children

Children at the centre of family law cases will face uncertainty about their future as a result of a stalemate over the funding of expert witnesses in family cases, following a High Court ruling today.

Full story: Family Law

'Transforming Legal Aid': Consultation published

The Ministry of Justice has published a consultation on proposed further cut backs to legal aid aimed at saving £220m by 2018/19.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Research into impact of legal aid cuts published

‘Advice deserts’ predicted as result of legal aid changes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass reports private law applications reaching record highs ahead of legal aid changes

Cafcass has continued to see high levels of private law cases in March, with 4,001 new applications passed to Cafcass.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications reach new record high

The number of care applications has risen by eight per cent in the past year, according to latest statistics from Cafcass.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Project set to look at the bright side of care

Children’s advocacy charity Voice and the University of Bristol have begun a study to identify the ingredients of a "good care journey" for children.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Government risks the well-being of vulnerable children

Today welfare reform measures take effect that cap benefits at 1 per cent increase per year until 2015 for families who are in and out of work, breaking the historic link between benefits and inflation.

Full story: Barnardo's

Proposed amendments to same-sex legislation would separate state and religious marriage

Greg Mulholland MP has tabled amendments to the Marriage (Same-sex Couples) Bill which would effect a separation of state and religious marriages.

Full story: Family Law Week

Sharia courts putting women at risk, CPS warns

Sharia courts are putting women at risk of violence from abusive husbands, the Crown Prosecution Service has warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

High Court agrees to transfer of care proceedings from Ireland to England

A recent case in the High Court - Re LM (A Child) [2013] EWHC 646 (Fam) - has demonstrated the effective use of Brussels IIR to effect a transfer of jurisdiction, with the approval of parties, from the Republic of Ireland to England.

Full story: Family Law Week

Councils set out their own plans to speed up adoption

Local authorities propose to work together to match adopters with children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Online adoption gateway opens

The government today launched an online portal that will act as a national “gateway” for prospective adopters.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Wife condemns husband's 'dishonesty' over alleged offshore banking

The wife of a property tycoon jailed for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of his fortune in a high profile divorce battle has accused him of “staggering” dishonesty after leaked documents purported to show his secret network of offshore companies.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013

These Regulations amend the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 which make provision about care planning for looked after children.

Statutory Instrument

NICE publishes quality standard to improve the wellbeing of looked after children

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published a quality standard for social care which contains eight statements intended to improve the health and social, educational and emotional wellbeing of looked-after children and young people in care.

Full story: Family Law Week

Jailed property man hid his assets in offshore network during divorce

Jailed British property developer Scot Young, an associate of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, constructed a secret network of offshore companies to hold his assets during a multimillion-pound divorce battle, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists research.

Full story: The Guardian

Council leaders challenge government on adoption

Councils should be allowed to work together to improve the adoption system rather than being removed from it, local authority leaders have claimed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Ofsted finds safeguarding improvements in West Sussex

Child protection in West Sussex has been rated as adequate by inspectors, four years after it was first identified as performing poorly.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Rising number of divorces blamed on women’s drinking

The number of divorces blamed on the women’s drinking habits has risen by 70 per cent in five years, a family lawyer has claimed.

Full story: The Telegraph

Co-op calls on solicitors to ‘stop the clock’ on divorce work

More than four out of five divorcees want family law services provided by fixed fees, according to research carried out by Co-operative Legal Services to launch a campaign against hourly rates in light of this week’s legal aid cuts.

Full story: Legal Futures

Extended definition of domestic violence takes effect

From the 31st March a wider definition of domestic violence, including 16 and 17 year olds and controlling behaviour took effect.

Full story: Home Office

Legal aid changes spark solicitor warnings

Solicitors have warned that people may start "taking the law into their own hands" as a result of changes made to legal aid in England and Wales.

Full story: BBC News