Government ‘washing its hands’ of legal aid problem for vulnerable parents

Senior judge calls on justice secretary Chris Grayling to attend hearing to answer how justice can be delivered.

Full story: The Guardian

First ever ‘families test’ for government published

All new laws or government policies will face a new ‘families test’ to make sure they support strong and stable families.

Full story: Family Law

Children's social work to have new set of standards

The government has announced changes to children's social work in England, to restore confidence in the service.

Full story: BBC News

Judge defends media blackout over death of Poppi Worthington

Secrecy over 13-month-old’s death in 2012 to protect siblings and avoid prejudicing possible future trial, says high court judge.

Full story: The Guardian

Referrals to children’s social care up by 10%

The Department for Education has published information as to the characteristics of children referred to and assessed by children's social services as children in need between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care leaver strategy: 1 year on

A new report documents the progress that has been made 1 year since the Care Leaver Strategy was launched and sets out how the Government intends to further improve support for care leavers.

Full story: Family Law

Troubled Families programme turning 117,000 lives around

Eric Pickles has welcomed the latest success of the Troubled Families programme, a crucial part of the government’s long-term economic plan to the turn the country around and help bring security and opportunity to families and communities.

Full story: Family Law

Tiger charity director 'fabricated' divorce claims against husband, judge rules

A conservationist who falsely claimed her millionaire husband used donations to a tiger charity to fund their lavish lifestyle was “blinded by her desire for revenge”, a divorce judge has ruled.

Full story: The Telegraph

Groundswell of support building for cohabitation law reform, says Resolution

In recent weeks there has been a groundswell of support for much needed reform of the law on how unmarried couples are treated when they separate.

Full story: Resolution

English court refuses to enforce foreign custody order

Holman J refuses to enforce Turkish custody order because, in the circumstances, to do so would be incompatible with English family law principles.

Full story: Family Law Week

Voice of the child not heard in transparency debate, claims Resolution

Resolution have published their response to Transparency - the next steps, claiming that the view of the individual child who is the subject of family proceedings is becoming lost in the debate.

Full story: Family Law

Charity aiding male victims of DV supports proposed law change

The ManKind Initiative, a charity supporting male victims of domestic violence, is supporting the recommendation that there should be a specific offence of domestic abuse that sets out that coercive and controlling behaviour in an intimate relationship as a criminal offence.

Full story: Family Law Week

The President discharges location order due to failure to comply with the direction as to the service of the order

Order should have been served by Tipstaff.

Full story: Family Law Week

Grayling shelves plan to double the fee for getting a divorce

The Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, has quietly shelved plans to nearly double the fee for filing a divorce petition.

Full story: The Independent

New Government court support a ‘sticking plaster' for a wounded family justice system, says Resolution

Family law organisation Resolution believes that today’s announcement by Government for court support for litigants in person will help some people who have already reached the stage of litigation, but will not address the wider issues stemming from the loss of legal aid.

Full story: Resolution

Initiative promises legal advice for those without lawyers in courts

Ministry of Justice scheme will cover family law and civil cases, and aims to fill the gap left following cuts in legal aid.

Full story: The Guardian

Judge rules pregnant paranoid schizophrenic woman must undergo Caesarean section

A judge has ruled a pregnant woman who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia will undergo a Caesarean section.

Full story: The Independent

Government publishes response to consultation on looked-after children

The government has published its response to the Consultation on Looked-after Children: Improving Permanence, which took place from 30 September 2013 to 29 November 2013.

Full story: Family Law

Breaking the cycle of repeat care proceedings

£3m has been set aside by the Government to fund projects aimed at breaking the cycle of births and repeat care proceedings.

Full story: Family Law

Parental involvement must be about what is best for the child, not what parents see as their ‘rights', says Resolution

Resolution today welcomed the launch of the new parental involvement clause of the Children and Families Act 2014, but said professionals and the public needed to be clear about what this means in practice.

Full story: Resolution

A wider definition of domestic abuse will help social workers safeguard more adult victims

Social work organisations respond to a Home Office consultation on strengthening the law around domestic abuse.

Full story: Community Care

Female genital mutilation: proposal to introduce a civil protection order

Following the consultation ‘Female genital mutilation: proposal to introduce a civil protection order’ launched by the Prime Minister at the Girl Summit on 22 July 2014, the government is taking forward provisions in the Serious Crime Bill to implement this proposal.

Full story: Family Law

Marriage is no better than cohabiting and legal rights should be abolished, says judge

Sir Nicholas Mostyn said that there was no difference between the relationships of married and unmarried couples, and condemned the divorce system that gives special protection to wives.

Full story: Daily Mail

Government rejects calls by MPs for a ban on B&Bs for care leavers

The Department for Education tells the Education Committee that a total ban on bed and breakfasts risks leaving young people with nowhere to go in emergencies.

Full story: Community Care

Child witnesses of domestic violence need better support, claim

Not enough support is being offered to the one in four children experts say will witness domestic violence by the age of 18, it is claimed.

Full story: BBC News

Multi-million pound divorce 'can be heard in England'

A multi-million pound divorce between a wealthy Malaysian couple can be heard in an English court, a judge has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Fewer than one in four couples seeking counselling to save marriage

Survey reveals women more open to seeking specialist help to avoid divorce.

Full story: Family Law Week

Munby urges radical reform of family courts

The president of the Family Division has publicly questioned whether divorce should remain subject to judicial supervision.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

No need for human rights proportionality evaluation in private law children proceedings

Legislative mechanism for such decisions is ‘human rights compliant’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Order for security of costs granted against Michael Prest

Order made in respect of husband’s appeal against committal.

Full story: Family Law Week

Revised regulations set out the process for the conversion of civil partnerships into marriages, giving couples more choice

Couples in a civil partnership will have the option to convert it into a marriage before Christmas once regulations laid before Parliament yesterday are approved.

Full story: Family Law

The Children and Families Act 2014 (Commencement No. 5 and Transitional Provision) Order 2014

This Order brings into force section 11 (welfare of the child: parental involvement) of the Children and Families Act 2014 on 22nd October 2014 subject to the transitional provision set out in Article 4.

Statutory Instrument

High-flying housewife seeks larger slice of ex's £11m fortune in divorce courts

Julia Hammans says she "sacrficed" her career during marriage to husband Nicholas, who went on to become a partner in Price Waterhouse Coopers while she is being forced to sell the family home.

Full story: The Telegraph

Care leavers' 'emotional needs unmet'

The emotional needs of children who have been in care are not being well looked after, a charity suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Presumption of parental involvement to come into force on 22 October 2014

The President of the Family Division has today announced that the presumption of parental involvement at section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (which inserts new sections 1(2)A, 1(2)B, 1(6) and 1(7) into the Children Act 1989) will come into force on 22 October 2014.

Full story: Family Law

Practice Guidance: Family Court – Duration of ex-parte (without notice) orders

Practice guidance issued by the President of the Family Division on 13 October 2014.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Over 60% of parents unrepresented in private children proceedings

Over sixty percent of parents are now without a lawyer when going to court to contest arrangements for their children, new government figures reveal.

Full story: Family Law Week

Gingerbread welcomes Public Accounts Committee’s child maintenance warnings

Charity pleased to see single parents’ concerns about the impact of new charges to use the Child Maintenance Service taken up by the Public Accounts Committee.

Full story: Gingerbread

Care applications in September 2014

In September 2014, Cafcass received a total of 902 applications. This figure represents an 7% increase compared to those received in September 2013.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In September 2014, Cafcass received a total of 2,858 new private law cases. This is a 25% decrease on September 2013 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

The Adoption Information and Intermediary Services (Pre-Commencement Adoptions) (Amendment) Regulations 2014

These Regulations amend the Adoption Information and Intermediary Services (Pre-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005, which make provision under section 98 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 for the purposes of assisting persons adopted before the 30th December 2005 to obtain information about their adoption and to facilitate contact between those persons and their birth relatives.

Statutory Instrument

Legal aid cuts are biggest problem for solicitors in Wales

The latest Law Society annual firm survey shows that almost half of law firms in Wales are experiencing problems as a result of changes to the legal aid system.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children must be protected from parents' problem drinking – Children’s Commissioner

New study identifies steps to be taken by health and social services.

Full story: Family Law Week

Civil news: updated family mediation guidance available

Draft amendments to guidance to prepare for changes to family mediation funding.

Full story: Legal Aid Agency

Denial of legal aid in Court of Protection cases "a false economy", says judge

Denying individuals legal aid for complex Court of Protection cases is a false economy, a High Court judge has warned.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Hughes promises action on litigants in person

Justice minister Simon Hughes has said the government will make an announcement within weeks on tackling the issues raised by the growing number of litigants in person.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Couples converting from civil partnerships will get backdated marriage certificates

The government has confirmed that backdated marriage certificates will be issued to couples converting their civil partnerships to marriages.

Full story: Pink News

TACT concerned at sharp rise in special guardianship orders

Charity believes that Government reforms are helping only younger children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Victims of domestic violence forced to face abusers in court ordeal

Growing numbers of domestic violence victims are being quizzed by their former partners in court due to cuts in legal aid which have led to a rise in litigation-in-person cases, family law specialists are warning.

Full story: The Independent

Government adoption reforms only impacting younger children, says charity

TACT’s chief executive Andy Elvin also voiced concerns about the number of special guardianship orders being issued by local authorities.

Full story: Community Care

75% of foster carers expected to make use of “staying put” arrangements

Nearly three quarter of foster carers looking after young people aged over 16 expect them to stay for more than a year, with four out of ten expecting them to stay for more than three years according to The Fostering Network.

Full story: Community Care

Court loosens ‘nonsensical’ six month deadline for surrogacy parents

Surrogacy parents who miss deadline may still secure parental status.

Full story: Family Law Week

Dramatic drop in parents applying for child maintenance help as charges begin

New government figures indicate thousands of parents are choosing not to seek help from the new government Child Maintenance Service because of new charges brought in this summer, warns Gingerbread.

Full story: Gingerbread

Multi-millionaire mathematician faces an 'astronomical' £19m legal bill

Dr Martin Coward is set to incur what could be the most expensive divorce bill in Britain after losing his appeal over control of the hedge fund founded with his ex-wife.

Full story: The Telegraph

Thousands of families shut out from justice since Government cuts

The Bar Council has warned that families across England and Wales have felt the full brunt of the Government’s civil legal aid cuts.

Full story: Family Law

Family mediation tender 2015 opens

The Legal Aid Agency has today opened the tender process for new organisations wanting to deliver family mediation from February 2015 and for current providers seeking to undertake work at extra outreach locations.

Full story: Family Law

Councils could save £150m on foster care services, says report

Local authorities would be able to save a total of £150m a year by improving the way they work with prospective foster parents, a report has claimed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

New national standards for family court experts

New national standards designed to raise the quality of expert witness evidence in family court cases and speed up proceedings become law.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Centralised divorce processing due within a year says President

Comments made in judgment on the Italian divorce fraud cases.

Full story: Family Law Hub