Thai crack down on surrogacy could leave British parents in turmoil

Surrogacies prohibited for prospective parents who are unmarried or a same-gender couple.

Full story: Family Law Week

President of Family Division hits out at non-compliance with court timetables

The President of the Family Division has fired another warning to parties in cases in the Family Court that they are not permitted to amend a timetable fixed by the court without the prior approval of the court.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Judge rules seriously ill boy, 13, can be treated against mothers beliefs

Teenager can be treated with blood products against the belief of his Jehovah's Witness mother.

Full story: The Telegraph

Young people warn against opening up family courts

Young people who have experience of care proceedings have spoken out against proposals to open up the family courts to the media and public.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

DfID publishes latest research into preventing violence against women and girls

The Department for International Development (DfID) has published the latest research and evidence of what works in the prevention of violence against women and girls.

Full story: Family Law

Mr Prest given a 4-week suspended sentence for not paying any lump sum or maintenance

Mr Prest has been handed a suspended jail sentence for not complying with his court order after Mr Justice Moylan concluded that he had failed to make a lump sum payment of £17.5 million and periodical payments totalling nearly £300,000 a year to his wife and their four children.

Full story: Family Law

Legal aid cuts have left family courts 'at breaking point'

People facing child custody and divorce cases without proper advice as private arbitrations rise, says lawyer's body Resolution.

Full story: The Guardian

Children’s directors hit back at damning report on state of residential child care

Former ADCS president Andrew Webb accused children's homes of 'taking pot shots' at central and local government.

Full story: Community Care

Children to appear in adoption videos

Videos and photos of children waiting to be adopted are to be made available to people approved for adoption from this autumn as part of a pilot scheme.

Full story: BBC News

Council’s policy on families with no recourse to public funds is unlawful

The High Court has held in R (ota PO and Others) v London Borough of Newham [2014] EWHC 2561 (Admin) that the London Borough of Newham's policy on supporting families with no recourse to public funds is unlawful.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s rights, views and interests not on the agenda of Parliament or the President, claims report

A study exploring the degree to which children and young people have a right to have their private lives kept private has been published today.

Full story: Family Law

26 week rule is not a ‘straitjacket’, confirms President

In M-F (Children) [2104] EWCA Civ 991, the President, considering an appeal 67 weeks after care proceedings began (ie before the pilot revised PLO), stated that "the 26 weeks rule 'is not, and must never be allowed to become, a straightjacket."

Full story: Family Law Week

Case management guidance given in Court of Protection

In Re PB [2014] EWCOP 14 Mrs Justice Parker has given consideration to the specific case management needs of the Court of Protection.

Full story: Family Law Week

£20 million funding to help children adopted from care

An extra 10,000 schoolchildren adopted from care to benefit from additional pupil premium money.

Full story: Department for Education

Thousands of domestic abusers let off criminal charges for saying sorry

Number of incidents of domestic violence dealt with informally through "community resolutions" instead of prosecutions more than doubles in four years new figures show.

Full story: The Telegraph

‘Government does not understand the extent of sham marriage problem’

The Home Affairs Select Committee has said that it is not convinced that the Home Office has a true understanding of the scale of the problem in relation to sham marriages.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic violence could become a specific offence, David Cameron says

The Prime Minister says he will consider a new offence for those who attack their partners that will take into account a pattern of abuse.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children will be seen and heard in Family Courts

Children will be given a greater voice in the family justice system so they can tell judges how they feel and what they think about the family disputes they are involved in.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

DfE publishes guidance for local authorities on National Minimum Standards for adoption services

The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance for local authorities, setting out the the National Minimum Standards applicable to the provision of adoption services.

Full story: Family Law

The Adoption and Children Act Register (Search and Inspection) (Pilot) Regulations 2014

These Regulations make provision to pilot the search and inspection of the Adoption and Children Act Register by prospective adopters that an adoption agency listed in the Schedule is satisfied are suitable to adopt a child.

Statutory Instrument

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 (Commencement No. 12) Order 2014

This Order brings into force sections 125 to 128, 129 and 131 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. These sections provide for the establishment and maintenance of the Adoption and Children Act Register.

Statutory Instrument

ECtHR confirms that requirement of divorce does not breach transsexual’s human rights

Need to transform marriage to civil partnership not a breach of Art 8.

Full story: Family Law Week

DfE funds new website to support professionals working with young people

The Department for Education has funded a new, free-to-access website to support professionals working with young people and families to understand and implement changes in practice required to meet the statutory requirements under the Court Orders and Pre-Proceedings Guidance 2014.

Full story: Family Law

Children to be given greater voice in care proceedings

More will be done to ensure children over the age of 10 who are involved in care proceedings or custody cases have their views heard in court, the government has announced.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Government will introduce regulations on mitochondrial donation

Plans to legalise use of new techniques to prevent mothers passing on serious mitochondrial diseases to their children are to progress.

Full story: Family Law Week

Haringey’s children’s services ‘require improvement’, finds Ofsted

Inspectors give second lowest rating on all areas inspected, but praise children's 'meaningful' relationships with social workers.

Full story: Community Care

DfE issues guidance to support looked-after children in further and higher education

The Department for Education has issued statutory guidance for local authorities to support looked-after children's aspirations to achieve in further and higher education.

Full story: Family Law

Building Better Courts: Lessons from London's Family Drug and Alcohol Court

Building Better Courts: Lessons from London's Family Drug and Alcohol Court, published by the Centre for Justice Innovation, explores the implementation history of FDAC in order to identify strategies which laid the foundation for the success of the project.

Full story: Family Law

Action and funding pledged on FGM and forced marriage

A new package of action and funding to protect millions of girls at home and abroad from female genital mutilation and forced marriage has been announced by the Prime Minister, International Development Secretary Justine Greening and Home Secretary Theresa May at the Girl Summit 2014.

Full story: Family Law Week

Law Commission commences mental capacity and detention project

The Law Commission is undertaking a project on mental capacity and detention with a view to publishing a report with recommendations for reform and a draft Bill in summer 2017.

Full story: Family Law

Child protection outsourcing plans 'dead in the water', claims Loughton

Controversial plans to allow councils to outsource child protection services are “dead in the water” following the departure of Michael Gove from the Department for Education, former children’s minister Tim Loughton has claimed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Research indicates that legal aid contributes to significant public savings

The Low Commission which earlier this year published its report on a future strategy for social welfare advice, in light of legal aid cuts, has now published a major follow up work on the economic value of social welfare advice.

Full story: Family Law

'Abducted' children returned to the UK

Two boys, who were kept in Russia by their father in breach of a family court order, have been returned to their mother in London.

Full story: BBC News

Faster court process cuts residential parenting assessments

Social workers are scaling back their use of residential parenting assessments due to Children and Families Act changes to the length of care proceedings, latest government research has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Serious case reviews need reform, say academics

Inquiries into child deaths must be reformed so frontline practice can be improved to prevent further tragedies, a major study has concluded.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Months on, almost 20% children’s social workers still not aware of Children and Families Act changes, report finds

A report conducted by the Victoria ClimbiƩ Foundation finds almost a fifth of children's social workers do not know about sweeping reforms to the adoption system.

Full story: Community Care

Ban B&Bs for young care leavers, say MPs

Young adults leaving the care system in England should be provided with regulated accommodation and not be placed in bed and breakfasts, say MPs.

Full story: BBC News

Guide to ‘Staying Put’ arrangements for fostered young people published

A new guide has been launched, explaining the implementation of the recently introduced 'Staying Put' arrangements which allow fostered young people in England to remain in their placements until age 21.

Full story: Family Law Week

Regulations to introduce legal aid residence test are unlawful and discriminatory

Lord Chancellor does not have legal power to introduce such a test.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cuts to legal aid force parents to defend themselves in family court cases

The number of parents forced to represent themselves before the family courts jumped by 20,000 last year following the withdrawal of legal aid for almost all family cases, official figures obtained by The Independent show.

Full story: The Independent

Turn children's centres into 'family hubs', says think-tank

Children’s centres should be scrapped and replaced with ‘family hubs’ that also offer advice on relationships support, according to the think-tank The Centre for Social Justice.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Cafcass publishes annual report and accounts 2013-14

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) have published their annual report and accounts for 2013-14.

Full story: Family Law

Senior judge criticises ‘highly defensive’ social work culture ahead of ITV documentary

In an interview with ITV Exposure, Justice Sir Mark Hedley claims social workers face an 'increased pressure' to intervene post Baby P.

Full story: Community Care

Bodey J considers test for ‘without prejudice’ meetings

Couple’s dinner to discuss marriage difficulties was a not a ‘without prejudice’ meeting.

Full story: Family Law Week

New legal test needed in ‘pet custody cases’

‘Best interests of the animal’ approach advocated.

Full story: Family Law Week

Bar Council reveals preliminary findings of its impact of LASPO survey

The Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has today presented its preliminary findings from a major survey conducted to assess the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012.

Full story: Family Law

National Family Mediation responds in full to Government Task Force recommendations

End ‘archaic’ court language and be wary of new website spend, urges NFM.

Full story: Family Law

England faces great adult social care squeeze

Public Accounts Committee publishes report into Adult social care in England.

Full story: Family Law

Care applications in June 2014

In June 2014, Cafcass received a total of 866 applications. This figure represents a 2% increase compared to those received in June 2013.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In June 2014, Cafcass received a total of 2,651 new private law cases. This is a 37% decrease on June 2013 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Aid cuts leave thousands in hands of amateur lawyers, MPs told

MPs voiced concern over the ‘cult of the amateur’ lawyer as they heard that thousands of vulnerable people are falling through the net of legal aid funding following cuts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

‘Nowhere to turn’- Citizens Advice speaks out on impact of legal aid cuts

Nine out of ten Citizens Advice Bureaux (92%) are finding it difficult to refer people to the specialist legal advice they need since cuts to legal aid came into effect last year, the charity has found.

Full story: Family Law

Judge allows police to break down woman’s door for enforced caesarean

A judge has allowed police break down the door of a pregnant woman and take her for an enforced caesarian under sedation because she could die in childbirth but refuses to go to hospital.

Full story: The Telegraph

Cohabiting couples should be wary of government advice about asset separation, says LSE professor

Academic criticises not-for-profit website for exaggerating adverse legal position of non-married couples and damaging relationships.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

‘Administrative nightmare’ between MoJ and Family Mediation Council

Closure of National Mediation Helpline to cause 'havoc' with mediation services in England and Wales.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

UK's wealthiest divorce case can be reported, judge rules

High court rejects move by hedge fund tycoon Christopher Hohn to prevent media from publishing details from hearings.

Full story: The Guardian

Bar Human Rights Committee welcomes report on FGM

The Bar Human Rights Committee has welcomed the Home Affairs Committee's report on female genital mutilation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s residence tests breach their rights, says Human Rights Committee

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has concluded that the impact of the legal aid residence test on children will lead to breaches by the United Kingdom of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child because it will in practice prevent children from being effectively represented in legal proceedings which affect them.

Full story: Family Law Week

Quicker care proceedings do not distort court outcomes, pilot suggests

An updated evaluation of the Tri-borough care proceedings pilot has found that there were no significant differences between the pattern of final orders made on the cases in the pilot year, compared to the year before.

Full story: Family Law Week

Marriage certificate could include mothers' name

Mothers' names could be included on marriage certificates, under plans being considered by the Home Office.

Full story: BBC News

Family-abuse children 'unprotected', commissioner warns

"Alarming gaps" in knowledge about abuse within families mean "substantial numbers" of children are not adequately protected, England's deputy children's commissioner Sue Berelowitz has said.

Full story: BBC News

Report of the Family Mediation Task Force

The Family Mediation Task Force, chaired by David Norgrove, has published its first set of recommendations on what more can be done to increase the uptake of family mediation.

Full story: Family Law

Domestic violence convictions at record high

Cases make up more than 10% of all CPS workload as charities welcome justice for victims of abuse.

Full story: The Guardian

Peers back bill to make pre-nups binding

Peers have given their backing to a law making it easier for divorcing couples to resolve financial issues and make pre-nuptial agreements binding.


Full story: Law Society Gazette