Judge criticises council over boy cared for by convicted paedophile

Social services staff have come under fire after a family court judge heard how a boy spent at least two years living with a relative who was a convicted paedophile.

Full story: The Guardian

Controlling or coercive domestic abuse to risk five-year prison term

CPS given new powers to bring charges if evidence is found of repeated offences within intimate or family relationships.

Full story: The Guardian

Divorce inquiries predicted to rise more than 300% in January

Research shows many couples make decision to split before Christmas, but stay together to avoid ruining festivities.

Full story: The Guardian

Government to review sharia courts

The government has ordered an independent review of sharia courts, amid concerns that they could be discriminating against women.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

UK civil partnerships on the decline 10 years after first ceremony

Number of people entering into the unions has dropped sharply since same-sex marriage was introduced in 2014.

Full story: The Guardian

Success for Resolution as CCMS mandatory reporting is delayed

A statement published by the Legal Aid Agency on Friday (18 December 2015) reveals a delay in mandatory reporting of Special Children Act cases using the Client and Cost Management System (CCMS) until early 2016.

Full story: Family Law

Funding for post adoption support to increase

Local authorities are set to be given additional funding to provide support for adopted children, it has been announced.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Relate to launch UK’s first divorce ODR system

The first online dispute resolution (ODR) system for divorcing and separating couples in the UK is to be launched by Relate next spring.

Full story: Legal Futures

Court of Appeal clarifies law on internal relocation

The only principle is that the child’s welfare is paramount.

Full story: Family Law Week

Examination of experts in family law published by MoJ

A new report from the Ministry of Justice shines a light on how experts are utilised in the family court, and the contributions they make to cases upon appointment and consultation.

Full story: Family Law

Revealed: divorce software error hits thousands of settlements

Exclusive: Ministry of Justice urgently examining extent of Form E fault which miscalculated spouses’ financial worth.

Full story: The Guardian

Law on special guardianship assessments to be reformed immediately

Government takes action to make assessments "more robust and consistent" after review says too many are "rushed and poor quality".

Full story: Community Care

Changes to FPR lead to decline in instruction of experts

LA social work assessments replace evidence of psychiatrists, psychologists and ISWs.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mediation starts in the last quarter up by 19%

The Ministry of Justice has published the latest legal aid statistics for July to September 2015.

Full story: Family Law

Support for families going through divorce and separation must improve

Relate report calls for national helpline and single point of access.

Full story: Family Law

Family court transparency charity publishes guidance on parents recording meetings with social workers

FOI responses reveal that local authorities’ attitudes vary considerably.

Full story: Family Law Week

Financial remedy applications up 4%

Slight rise noted in this quarter's family court statistics.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Foster providers lose High Court battle over “most appropriate placements”

Independent foster providers have lost a High Court legal challenge over the nature of the duty imposed on local authorities under the Children Act 1989, when choosing a foster placement, to place the child in the “most appropriate placement available”.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Absent parents owe almost £4bn in overdue child support arrears

The National Audit Office say the use of out of date systems mean the figure could be much higher.

Full story: Daily Mirror

Outdated marriage law in need of reform, says Law Commission

‘Law of marriage is out of date, inconsistent and overly restrictive’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Proposed deprivation of liberty reforms ‘too complex and costly’, says government

Department of Health issues critical response to Law Commission’s draft proposals for a deprivation of liberty safeguards replacement.

Full story: Community Care

Local authorities do not need to consider all available placements for children, judge rules

A judicial review found that local authorities do not have a duty to consider independent fostering agencies when placing a child.

Full story: Community Care

Domestic abuse: Police 'nearly overwhelmed' by increase

Police in England and Wales are on the verge of being "overwhelmed" by "staggering" increases in reports of domestic abuse, inspectors say.

Full story: BBC News

Failing children’s services will be taken over

High-performing authorities, experts and charities to be brought in.

Full story: Family Law Week

'Huge rise' in newborn babies subject to care proceedings

There has been a "huge" rise in the number of newborns who are subject to care proceedings in England, according to figures compiled for the first time.

Full story: BBC News

The Blood Tests (Evidence of Paternity) (Amendment) (Review) Regulations 2015

These Regulations amend the Blood Tests (Evidence of Paternity) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 to insert a review provision.

Private law funding for DNA paternity testing

From 23 November 2015, funding has been re-introduced to cover the cost of paternity testing in private law cases in the family courts that involve children.

Full story: Family Law

Ofsted publishes state of the nation picture on foster care

Ofsted has published a state of the nation picture of foster care provision in England.

Full story: Family Law

Court fee rise would amount to ‘divorce tax’, MPs told

A steep rise in court fees would constitute a ‘tax on divorce’ and is unjustified in relation to the cost of proceedings, the chair of family law organisation Resolution has told MPs.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Care applications in November 2015

In November 2015, Cafcass received a total of 1,020 care applications.  This figure represents a 15% increase compared to those received in November 2014.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In November 2015, Cafcass received a total of 3,462 new private law cases.  This is a 12% increase on November 2014 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

House of Lords to debate future of legal aid

House of Lords Library publishes briefing note in advance of debate.

Full story: Family Law Week

Media groups challenge ban on naming woman in right-to-die case

Mail, Times, Telegraph and Independent argue that ban on identifying woman who ‘lost her sparkle’ interferes with right to freedom of expression.

Full story: The Guardian

Deprivation of liberty assessments taking ‘50% longer’ than predicted

Survey of practitioners also reveals concerns over growing pressure to take ‘short cuts’ to speed up process in wake of Supreme Court ruling.

Full story: Community Care

Police forces urged to improve understanding of forced marriage and FGM

HMIC report reveals weaknesses in police response.

Full story: Family Law Week

MoJ considers specialist courts for issues such as domestic abuse

Michael Gove has signalled enthusiasm for US-style ‘problem-solving courts’ where same judge sits in both criminal and civil aspects of a case.

Full story: The Guardian

No Fault Divorce Bill to receive second reading in January 2016

The No Fault Divorce Bill is to receive a second reading on 22nd January 2016. MPs did not have the opportunity to debate the Bill's second reading on 4th December 2015.

Full story: Family Law Week

Guidance published on offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship

Framework assists investigations under Serious Crime Act 2015, section 76.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family Justice Council debates adoption without parental consent

The Family Justice Council held its 9th Annual Debate and panel discussion on Tuesday 24 November 2015.

Full story: Family Law Week

New research published on Children Act section 17 accommodation

Hackney Community Law Centre and Hackney Migrant Centre have published research that they had commissioned on the quality of accommodation arranged for families with children under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (used where accommodation cannot be secured for the family using Parts 6 or 7 of the Housing Act 1996).

Full story: Family Law Week

Couple urged to abandon £2m divorce case which "crippled" their tiger conservation project

Li Quan and Stuart Bray launched a charity devoted to protecting Chinese tigers before their divorce.

Full story: The Telegraph

Sharia courts in Britain lock women into 'marital captivity', study says

Sharia courts in Britain are locking women into “marital captivity” and doing nothing to officially report domestic violence, according to an academic who gained unprecedented access to Islamic divorce hearings.

Full story: The Independent

Gay couple's international child custody battle to be ruled on by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will consider the complex issues of habitual residence, the definition of parenthood and the power of the English Court to make orders about British nationals resident overseas at an important hearing next week.

Full story: Family Law

Judge to rule on naming woman who died after refusing treatment

Lawyers representing 50-year-old woman’s family argue she also wanted to be anonymous in death, after turning down lifesaving kidney treatment.

Full story: The Guardian

OPG publishes policy on safeguarding vulnerable adults

The Office of the Public Guardian has made public its policy on the manner in which it safeguards adults who are vulnerable or at risk of neglect or abuse.

Full story: Family Law

Concern for special guardianship support as figures show 1 in 4 new orders has supervision order attached

A rise in the number and proportion of special guardianship orders being made with supervision orders attached reflects family courts’ lack of trust that local authorities will provide adequate support to families, according to experts.

Full story: Community Care

Woman, 50, wins right to refuse life-saving treatment because her 'sparkle' has gone

Mr Justice MacDonald said although many would be horrified by the woman's decision, she had the mental capacity to refuse treatment.

Full story: The Telegraph

Foster care 'boosts vulnerable children's grades'

Children in foster care make better educational progress than vulnerable children who remain with troubled families, research suggests.

Full story: BBC News

'Rude’ and 'unfair' Liverpool family judge Robert Dodds reprimanded over 'serious misconduct'

Disciplinary investigation completed into 'unprincipled' Merseyside family court judge.

Full story: Liverpool Echo

Government ‘still failing to protect women against violent men’

End Violence Against Women coalition says male abuse of women and girls is still going unchecked as services struggle.

Full story: The Guardian 

Court of Appeal overturns High Court ruling on civil legal aid residence test

Public Law Project seeks leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Full story: Family Law Week

House of Commons Library publishes research briefing on legal aid for domestic violence victims

The House of Commons Library has published a very useful research briefing on legal aid for victims of domestic abuse.

Full story: Family Law Week

CoramBAAF consults on future of fostering in England

Charity believes that ‘an effective care system needs to prioritise fostering’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Guidance published by NICE focuses on child attachment

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidelines regarding attachment difficulties experienced by children who are currently part of the care system in England.

Full story: Family Law

Three children die in Lancashire's care system, says Ofsted

Three children died during an inspection into a council's "inadequate" children's services, an Ofsted report has revealed.

Full story: BBC News

Judge criticises 'minimal investigation' into death of 13-month-old girl

Mr Justice Jackson found Poppi Worthington’s death was not properly investigated for nine months.

Full story: The Guardian

Father’s appeal allowed by Supreme Court in 1996 Hague Convention case

The Supreme Court has allowed the appeal by a Moroccan father whose son was brought to the UK by his mother against the father's wishes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Resolution launches new advice for dealing with divorce and domestic abuse to mark White Ribbon Day

Today on White Ribbon Day, 25 November, Resolution releases its new guide for divorcing and separating parents in relationships where domestic abuse is, or has been, a feature.

Full story: Resolution

NACCC in urgent government funding plea

Government aid desperately sought to continue ensuring that children have safe contact.

Full story: Family Law

Views of children in care highlighted by Ofsted

For the first time ever, Ofsted has used the findings of its annual survey to highlight the views of children and young people in care homes and foster care placements.

Full story: Family Law

Judge names social workers and recommends disciplinary investigation

A social worker and her manager were found to have lied under oath and changed the report of another social worker.

Full story: Community Care

President's practice guidance on Arbitration in the Family Court

Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, has today (23 November 2015) issued practice guidance on Arbitration in the Family Court.

Full story: Family Law

CoA considers English court's jurisdiction under EU Maintenance Reg following previous proceedings in another EU member state

Thought to be first time court has considered spousal maintenance in such circumstances.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorce rate falls in latest ONS figures

The number of people divorcing in England and Wales decreased by 2.9 per cent in 2013, according to the latest statistical bulletin published today (23 November 2015) from Office for National Statistics.

Full story: Family Law

Children of divorce: 82% rather parents separate than 'stay for the kids'

Poll by Resolution also finds nearly a third would have liked if divorcing parents did not criticise each other in front of them.

Full story: The Guardian

Girl better off living in Peshawar where Taliban killed 130 children than Southampton, judge rules

Judge rules in favour of woman who wants to take daughter from home in Hampshire city and move to Pakistan despite ex-husband warning of terror attacks.

Full story: The Telegraph

Landmark report shines light on the practice of surrogacy in the UK and calls for legal reform

The first ever report of its kind gives unprecedented insight into how surrogacy is practised in the UK and busts a number of pervasive myths that have informed debate in recent years.

Full story: Family Law

Family court sends ‘strong message’ over non-disclosure with sentence for contempt

The rule of law depends on compliance with court orders, says Mr Justice Mostyn.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Allow 'minimally conscious' MS sufferer to die, says judge

A 68-year-old woman "locked into the end stage" of multiple sclerosis should be allowed to die, a judge has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Birth within marriage or civil partnership remains most common family setting

Steady fall in the percentage of births registered to married couples since the 1960s.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s services could be hit by deprivation of liberty burden after High Court ruling

A judge confirmed a local authority cannot consent to the deprivation of liberty of a child in its care.

Full story: Community Care

Court of Protection to test increased access for public and media

Public and media will gain greater access to Court of Protection hearings after a pilot scheme starting next year.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Afghan war hero wins divorce battle with wife who 'wasted' part of his £1m injuries payout

A soldier brain damaged in a Taliban attack has welcomed a judge's divorce ruling that prevented his wife receiving most of what's left of his compensation payments.

Full story: The Telegraph

Appeal decision protects solicitor offering ‘unbundled’ advice

Solicitors instructed on a limited retainer do not have a broader duty of care to their clients, the Court of Appeal has ruled, asserting the importance of ensuring that lawyers can offer unbundled services.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Court confirms Calderbank offers are admissible on appeal

FPR 28.3(8) applies only to first instance proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social worker criticised for flawed Re-BS assessment in care proceedings

A judge said the social worker put too much emphasis on the report of a psychologist who did not know all of the evidence, rather than making her own assessment.

Full story: Community Care

Review of residential care ‘unnecessary and costly repetition’

Review is an ‘attempt to extend the Government’s privatisation agenda’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge vows to end secrecy in baby death case

Judge says new hearing will allow public to know about 'troubling circumstances' of Poppi Worthington's death.

Full story: The Telegraph

Husband wins right to argue that his 30-year marriage should be nullified

A husband has been given the go-ahead to argue that his marriage should be nullified on the grounds that his wife is a bigamist.

Full story: Daily Mail

Multi-millionaire businessman sued by his former wife for 'spousal maintenance'

Hetem Ramadani has labelled his ex-wife a "divorce tourist" for taking advantage of the English courts.

Full story: The Telegraph

Court of Appeal rules on liability of councils for foster care abuse

The Court of Appeal has handed down a key ruling on the liability of councils for foster care abuse, concluding that local authorities do not owe a child in such care a non-delegable duty.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Domestic violence victims 'put at risk' by erratic handling of cases

HMIC says dangers to vulnerable witnesses not properly dealt with in a third of cases, including instances of racial abuse.

Full story: The Guardian

Care applications in October 2015

In October 2015, Cafcass received a total of 1,079 care applications.  This figure represents a 7% increase compared to those received in October 2014.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In October 2015, Cafcass received a total of 3,311 new private law cases.  This is a 2% decrease on October 2014 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

London woman wins divorce court battle against husband over £25m tiger charity

The ex-wife of a tiger-loving tycoon who claims he 'spirited away tens of millions of pounds and left her bereft' was today victorious in an Appeal Court rumble over their divorce.

Full story: Daily Mail

Serious case review panel criticises lack of clarity in reports

The Department for Education's panel on serious case reviews said that there is too much of an emphasis on methodology.

Full story: Community Care

The Family Procedure (Amendment No. 3) Rules 2015

These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010.

Statutory Instrument

Court of Appeal considers change of intention to hold property in equal shares

The Court of Appeal has revisited the calculation of shares in the beneficial interest of a property where there is no express declaration of trust.

Full story: Family Law Week

Spurned wife lodges £300m divorce bid after husband leaves her for interior designer

Wife whose husband left her to live with their interior designer bids for half of their £300million fortune.

Full story: The Telegraph

New arrears figures for the Child Maintenance Service are “disappointing” says Gingerbread

New figures released for the first time reveal that, less than two years after the Child Maintenance Service opened its doors to all new applicants, £35m of arrears owed to children has accumulated.

Full story: Gingerbread

Cohabitation continues to be fastest growing relationship in UK

Figures released today (5 November 2015) show that the cohabiting couple family continues to be the fastest growing family type in the UK in 2015.

Full story: Family Law

Court orders daughter to stop spending elderly mother's money on cakes and sausage rolls

A judge has taken away a daughter's control of her elderly mother's finances because she was wasting £250 a month on cakes and sausage rolls.

Full story: The Telegraph

Court grants ‘unique’ restraint order against ‘First Wives Club’ member

Order shows Family Courts are equipped to deal with ill-founded applications, says practitioner.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Lecturer Rupert Ashmore loses divorce battle with former pupil he dated for 25 years

Art teacher who had relationship with teen student tells divorce court he was not sure he loved her any more than his dog.

Full story: The Telegraph

ALC and NYAS publish report on children's privacy

Dr Julia Brophy (with Kate Perry and Eleanor Harrison) has published the next stage in her research on children involved in the family courts, and their confidentiality.

Full story: Family Law

Woman wants judge to allow severely ill mother to die

Court of Protection case hears how former hairdresser is "locked into the end stage" of multiple sclerosis.

Full story: The Telegraph

David Cameron bids to speed up adoption process

Prime Minister David Cameron wants to increase dramatically the number of children currently in care who move in with their adoptive families before the required legal work is completed.

Full story: BBC News

Fifth of looked after children placed in children’s homes judged adequate or worse

Ofsted publishes information about the characteristics of all looked after children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mostyn J lambasts ‘abysmal’ litigant in person

Costs order in the sum of nearly £150K made against husband.

Full story: Family Law Week

New matching service launched for local authorities to list children seeking long-term fostering

Social enterprise Link Maker has launched Placement Link, a new matching service for local authorities to list children seeking long-term fostering.

Full story: Family Law Week

All options should be considered when protecting potentially vulnerable children

Ombudsman’s reminder prompted by urgent removal of fostered children.

Full story: Family Law Week

‘Systemic failing in the provision of support to vulnerable care leavers’: Public Accounts Committee

Central and local government must do more to aid care leavers’ transition to adulthood.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Blood Tests (Evidence of Paternity) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

These Regulations amend the Blood Tests (Evidence of Paternity) Regulations 1971.

Statutory Instrument

Brain-damaged baby should no longer be on life support, judge rules

Parents of child, who was born in car during hailstorm, wanted treatment to continue but judge in Manchester says she has no quality of life.

Full story: The Guardian

Mitochondrial donation regulations come into force

The UK has become the first country to license mitochondrial donation techniques which will allow women who carry the risk of serious mitochondrial disease to avoid passing it onto their children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Report reveals mental health cost of legal aid cuts

Middlesex University and Toynbee Hall call for reintroduction of legal aid after report shows link between government cuts and increased anxiety.

Full story: Family Law

Council ordered to pay £40,000 to mother and child over human rights breaches

A Family Court judge has ordered a local authority to pay £20,000 in damages each to a mother and her seven-year-old daughter for breaches under the Human Rights Act.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Attitudes and behaviours of self-employed child maintenance clients and barriers to paying child maintenance

This research explores attitudes and behaviours of self-employed child maintenance paying parents towards the payment of child maintenance.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Children’s residential care review to transform lives

Prime Minister and Education Secretary announce root-and-branch review of children’s residential care.

Full story: Department for Education

'Well-known' footballer wins High Court battle to reduce child maintenance payments

A "well-known" footballer has won a High Court appeal to reduce the amount of child maintenance he pays.

Full story: ITV News

Domestic violence victims' family call for public inquiry into police response

Family ask for national review into domestic violence, after IPCC criticised for ‘underresourced’ investigation into deaths of Rachael Slack and her son Auden.

Full story: The Guardian

Social workers criticised for ‘shocking misunderstanding’ of the law

A mother and daughter were awarded record damages after a judge ruled Medway council unlawfully removed the daughter from the mother's care.

Full story: Community Care

Family courts must open up to avoid 'outrageous injustices', warns Ukip

MP Douglas Carswell launches Ukip policy calling for greater sensitivity in legal process to avoid breakup of families and forced adoptions.

Full story: The Guardian

Number of children who are the subject of a child protection plan continues to rise

Figures relating to the number of children in need in England in the period 2014–15 were published yesterday (22 October 2015) by the Department of Education.

Full story: Family Law

Assumptions about cost and misuse of judicial review are, at best, misleading

Research underscores the importance of access to the High Court’s inherent supervisory jurisdiction.

Full story: Family Law Week

Private fostering statistics released by Welsh government

The third annual Private Fostering in Wales statistics release was published by the Welsh government yesterday (21 October 2015), presenting information regarding private fostering figures in Wales for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015.

Full story: Family Law

Guidance published on age assessment

‘Age assessment of unaccompanied children seeking asylum is a challenging process,’ says ADCS.

Full story: Family Law Week

More than 15,000 same-sex couples have married, says ONS

Of the 15,098 same-sex marriages to have taken place in England and Wales since it became legal to do so, 7,732 were conversions from civil partnerships.

Full story: The Guardian

Court of Appeal allows appeal in deprivation of liberty case, criticises judge

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal in a case over whether a woman was being deprived of her liberty in her own home, and in the process criticised a High Court judge who maintains that the majority decision in the Supreme Court’s Cheshire West ruling is wrong.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Wealthy couple rack up £5m lawyers' bills in divorce battle

A Laura Ashley boss and his estranged wife have racked up around £5 million in lawyers' bills during a divorce money battle, judges have been told.

Full story: Express & Star

Muslim couple who headed for Syria 'do not pose risk to their children', says court

Asif Malik and Sara Kiran will not have their four young children taken into care and can have their British passports returned, High Court rules.

Full story: The Telegraph

70% fewer civil partnerships in 2014

The number of civil partnerships created dropped from 5,646 in 2013 to 1,683 in 2014, according to the latest bulletin from the Office of National Statistics.

Full story: Family Law Hub

FGM reporting duty in force from next week

Social workers should never physically examine girls for signs of FGM, official guidance states.

Full story: Community Care

Ministry of Justice publishes new guidance for divorcing couples

New guidance published by the Ministry of Justice last week aims to help couples in the midst of stressful divorce litigation arrange their finances easily, and provides helpful information for those supporting divorcing couples.

Full story: Family Law

Record number of families helped by adoption support fund

More than 2,000 families being helped through life-changing government fund worth over £7 million in the past 6 months.

Full story: Department for Education

The Children Act 2004 (Joint Area Reviews) Regulations 2015

These Regulations revoke and replace, with modifications, the Children Act 2004 (Joint Area Reviews) Regulations 2005.

Assessment of Special Guardians

The Association of Directors of Children's Services and Cafcass have issued a joint note on the Assessment of Special Guardians as the preferred permanence option for children in care proceedings applications.

Full story: Family Law

Skeleton arguments, appeals and litigants in person: guidance to counsel

Court of Appeal sets out approach to be adopted by counsel who take on appeal.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parliament to debate straight civil partnerships next week

Parliament will discuss civil partnerships for straight couples next week – in a bill filed by a Tory MP who opposed marriage for gay couples.

Full story: PinkNews

Court orders girl with two mothers to stay in touch with two fathers

Judge says 14-year-old who was born from donor fertilisation is likely to benefit from ‘modest’ link with biological father and his partner.

Full story: The Guardian

Effective family-based child maintenance arrangements: data to March 2015

Children benefiting from effective family-based child maintenance arrangements after contacting the Child Maintenance Options service.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Independent reviewing officers use collaborative methods to fulfil their role

A research report on care planning and the role of the independent reviewing officer has been published by the University of East Anglia Centre for Research on Children and Families.

Full story: Family Law Week

Rise of LiPs not causing delays, says courts chief

The increase in the number of litigants in person has not caused more delays in civil courts, the head of the courts service has said.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Sharland and Gohil – Supreme Court decision – Wives win

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court allowed the wives' appeals.

Full story: Family Law

MP says couples should be allowed to apply for 'no fault divorce'

Richard Bacon MP has proposed an amendment to family law which would enable couples to say there was no fault for the break-up.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family mediators move towards self-regulation

An organisation representing family mediators is set to introduce a public register and independent board as part of a strategy to self-regulate the sector.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Divorcing couples 'lie to courts because laws pit them against each other'

Family law body warns against laws requiring accusation of adultery or unreasonable behaviour for a speedy resolution.

Full story: The Independent

Couple lose three of four children after judge orders removal of twins' life-support

A judge has ruled that a pair of twins with an unknown genetic disorder should have their life support switched off against their parents' wishes.

Full story: The Telegraph

Cafcass private law demand

In September 2015, Cafcass received a total of 3,094 new private law cases. This is a 9% increase on September 2014 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Care applications in September 2015

In September 2015, Cafcass received a total of 979 care applications. This figure represents a 7% increase compared to those received in September 2014.

Full story: Cafcass

Fifth of children are denied mental health treatment

Cases rejected because children did not meet CAMHS’s high clinical threshold.

Full story: Family Law Week

His Honour Judge John Altman stands down as Senior Designated Family Judge for London

His Honour Judge John Altman stands down as the Senior Designated Family Judge for London and retires as a Senior Circuit Judge with effect from 9 October 2015.

Full story: Family Law

Judge rules it not unlawful to withdraw medical support from 11 year old

An NHS Trust has obtained a declaration from the High Court that it would not be unlawful to withdraw medical support devices that are effectively keeping an 11-year-old boy alive.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Missing boy needs 'urgent surgery' for cancer in his jaw

High Court judge reveals the youngster, identified only as J, is on the run with his parents who want him to be treated with Chinese medicine.

Full story: The Telegraph

Cardiff Court Family Free Advice Clinic launches

A new legal advice clinic has been launched to advise people involved in family proceedings who do not have the means to pay for legal representation.

Full story: Family Law

Parental leave and pay to be extended to working grandparents

George Osborne has announced that working grandparents will be able to share parental leave in future.

Full story: Family Law

Coram Children’s Legal Centre boosts online advice service

Coram Children’s Legal Centre has launched a new website for its Child Law Advice Service to increase and improve access to free advice for people seeking information around child and family law.

Full story: Family Law

Divorce centres: Further progress report

We are approaching the anniversary of the very first divorce centres - how is the new regime working?

Full story: Family Law

Yearly adoption statistics released by Welsh government

The Welsh government has published statistics regarding adoptions, outcomes and placements for children in the care of local authorities for the year ending March 2015.

Full story: Family Law

Cameron's flagship children's policy 'faces crisis' as adoption figures fall

Prime minister’s promise to speed up process falters as figures show drop in children being matched with families.

Full story: The Guardian

Use of special guardianship orders continues to rise

The number of children being made subject to special guardianship orders is continuing to rise, government figures have shown.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Children looked after in England including adoption: 2014 to 2015

Statistics on looked-after children at both national and local authority levels for the financial year 2014 to 2015.

Full story: Department for Education

Judge rejects call to give life-saving treatment against opposition of patient

A Court of Protection judge has ruled that it would be unlawful for an NHS trust to carry out life-saving treatment against the patient’s opposition.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

40 per cent of 2014-15 Dols applications not signed off within the year

Health and Social Care Information Centre report provides latest evidence of Supreme Court ruling's impact on caseloads.

Full story: Community Care

Liam Gallagher and Nicole Appleton divorce details to remain secret

High Court judge rules on divorce money fight involving rock star and his pop star ex-wife.

Full story: The Telegraph

Exceptional legal costs imposed on council in unlawful deprivation of liberty case

Judge makes rare order for council to pay costs of family in case where it multiply breached human rights of woman following 'bungled' safeguarding investigation.

Full story: Community Care

Family court statistics published for second quarter of 2015

The Ministry of Justice has published its most recent statistical bulletin presenting statistics relating to family courts.

Full story: Family Law

Gallagher-Appleton divorce triggers dispute over family court reporting

An application to lift reporting restrictions on the proceedings between Liam Gallagher and Nicole Appleton is being strongly resisted.

Full story: The Guardian

Lord Bach to lead review into Legal Aid

Lord Falconer, Labour’s Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Justice Secretary, today announced that Labour has appointed Lord (Willy) Bach to carry out an immediate review into legal aid.

Full story: Family Law

Public law outline needs more flexibility to allow for special guardianship orders, charity says

In The Fostering Network's response to the government's special guardianship order consultation, it also called for comprehensive support for special guardians.

Full story: Community Care

Police given advice on spotting domestic abuse patterns

Police officers will receive specialist advice on how to spot patterns of domestic abuse under new guidance.

Full story: BBC News

'Foster children harmed by frequent moves'

Vulnerable children are too often shuttled between foster homes, harming them further, says a charity.

Full story: BBC News

Brain damaged war veteran risks losing £1.1 compensation in divorce battle

Corporal Simon Vaughan, who was left severely brain damaged and unable to walk after a bomb blast in Afghanistan, is involved in a long-running divorce battle over his compensation.

Full story: The Telegraph

‘Unbundling’ family legal services 'can make them more accessible'

Research presents practitioners’, consumers’ and judges’ experiences of unbundling.

Full story: Family Law Week

Nagalro responds to government’s consultation on special guardianship

Association calls for best practice to be more consistently applied.

Full story: Family Law Week

Being in care is not detrimental to children’s educational outcomes

Low educational outcomes are partly explained by pre-care experiences.

Full story: Family Law Week

Timpson: special guardianship orders will be improved

Improvements will be made to special guardianship orders (SGOs) in the wake of concerns about their use, children’s minister Edward Timpson has said.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Children’s voices should be heard, Local Government Ombudsman urges

Complaint upheld after LA fails to pursue foster children’s allegations.

Full story: Family Law Week

Couple win damages from Hackney after children wrongly kept in care

Civil court awards parents £10,000 each following eight-year dispute with council over separation from their eight children.

Full story: The Guardian

Duncan Smith launches relationship support pilot

A pilot project designed to help parents stay together has been launched by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Social encounters with barristers “no reason” for a judge’s recusal

There is no basis for seeking the recusal of a specialist judge because they may socialise with barristers that appear before them, the High Court has said.

Full story: Litigation Futures

Court fee hikes will make legal rights 'meaningless'

Law Society president says it is wrong for the courts to make a profit for government.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Judge condemns Gloucestershire children’s services in foster case

Family court judge criticises social workers’ decision to recommend adoption for six-year-old boy without having first explored other options.

Full story: The Guardian

Care not damaging to children’s education, research finds

A review carried out at Oxford University suggests that being in care does not directly affect children's educational attainment.

Full story: Community Care

The Adoption Information and Intermediary Services (Pre-Commencement Adoptions) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1685)

These Regulations amend the Adoption Information and Intermediary Services (Pre-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005 which make provision for the purposes of assisting persons adopted before the 30 December 2005 to obtain information about their adoption.

Full story: Family Law

Parental status 'lost to incompetence in IVF sector'

Dozens of people who had fertility treatment might not be the legal parents of their children as a result of "widespread incompetence" in the sector, a judge has said.

Full story: BBC News

FGM order made to protect Kent girl taken to Sudan

A judge has ordered the return of a 13-year-old girl who has been taken to Sudan and is feared to be at risk of female genital mutilation.

Full story: BBC News

Court fees 'punish domestic violence victims', magistrates group says

Magistrates Association warns that criminal courts charges introduced in April ‘take money out of poorer families by punishing victim and perpetrator’.

Full story: The Guardian

Cafcass private law demand

In August 2015, Cafcass received a total of 2,954 new private law cases.  This is an 18% increase on August 2014 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Care applications in August 2015

In August 2015, Cafcass received a total of 943 care applications.  This figure represents a 4% increase compared to those received in August 2014.

Full story: Cafcass

The Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements 2005) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1644)

The Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements 2005) Regulations 2015 was published on 7 September 2015.

Full story: Family Law

National Adoption Service to run Wales adoption register after BAAF closure

Relevant staff from BAAF Cymru will transfer to the National Adoption Service, Welsh government says.

Full story: Community Care

Law Commissioner appointed for property, family and trust law

The Lord Chancellor today announced the appointment of Professor Nicholas Hopkins as Law Commissioner for property, family and trust law.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

High Court rules it cannot grant birth certificates to single dads through surrogacy

In a High Court decision today, the President of the Family Division has ruled that UK law cannot be stretched to recognise children born to single parents through surrogacy.

Full story: Family Law

Woman sentenced for posting person's intimate images on Facebook

First female prosecuted under new law.

Full story: Family Law Week

Grandparents jailed for assisting abduction to Costa Rica

Two grandparents from West Midlands have been jailed in connection with the abduction of their two grandchildren by their mother, who had taken them to Costa Rica.

Full story: Family Law Week

Controlling parents can damage children’s mental wellbeing

Parenting can have long-term positive impacts on wellbeing through to older age.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge removes child from disabled mother over costs of care

Boy removed from disabled mother’s care over costs as judge dismisses an allegation of ‘social engineering’.

Full story: The Telegraph

Concerns over two missing boys in family court case

East Sussex officials believe boys aged five and two, who were subject of child protection plans, have been taken to north Cyprus by their mother.

Full story: The Guardian

Divorce party hit for £334k costs after ‘blatant dishonesty’

A High Court judge has made clear that his costs judgment against a dishonest party should act as a deterrent to others considering deceiving the court.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

High Court judge praises social worker’s ‘outstanding contribution’ to radicalisation case

A high court judge has praised a social worker’s handling of  a case in which a 16-year-old girl attempted to fly to Syria to join ISIS after being “fully radicalised”.

Full story: Community Care

Businessman wins divorce spat over vintage cars worth £20 million

The man's estranged wife laid claim to some of the 35 cars which included a 1928 Bentley racer and a Ferrari worth more than £5 million.

Full story: The Telegraph

Resolution invites members to participate in research into no fault divorce

Study should inform debate as to how the law might be reformed.

Full story: Family Law Week

40% decrease in number of children waiting to be placed with adopters

Average period between entering care and placement falls from 656 to 594 days.

Full story: Family Law Week

Woman made foster daughter kneel in scalding water

Judge at private hearing in Blackpool family court says foster parents, who made racist comments when giving evidence, had treated girl with ‘cold contempt’.

Full story: The Guardian

Family justice review: special guardianship orders

Research on the effect of the family justice review on the use of special guardianship orders (SGOs).

Full story: Department for Education

Family justice review: the effect on local authorities

Research on the effect of the revised public law outline (PLO) on the practice and processes of 6 local authorities.

Full story: Department for Education

Long-term separated parents: developing support to encourage child maintenance arrangements

This report explores barriers to child maintenance arrangements for long-term separated parents and related support interventions.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Rise in divorce cases signals mediation failure

A continuing rise in the number of new private law cases could signal that not enough divorcing couples are being channelled towards mediation, family law organisation Resolution has said.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Oil trader given jail term over divorce dispute

An oil trader has been given a 21-month jail term by a High Court judge who concluded that he had broken promises after agreeing to pay millions of pounds to his former wife following the breakdown of their marriage.

Full story: Yahoo News

New £3.2 million domestic abuse fund now open

Local authorities can now bid for a share of a new fund to support the victims of domestic abuse.

Full story: Family Law

Child whose parents played too many video games 'removed from family home'

Social Services said to have believed their obsession with gaming amounted to neglect.

Full story: The Telegraph

Jail for ‘professional’ McKenzie Friend who defrauded clients of thousands of pounds

A ‘professional’ McKenzie Friend who targeted people unable to claim legal aid and then defrauded them of thousands of pounds has been jailed for three years.

Full story: Legal Futures

Court of Appeal re-states approach to implacable hostility cases

Father’s appeal is dismissed in 'tragic outcome'.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court to consider 1996 Hague Convention appeal

J (A Child) (1996 Hague Convention) (Morocco) to be heard in November.

Full story: Family Law Week

Wealthy four times more likely to marry than the poor

Marriage is increasingly the preserve of the rich, with fewer couples from poorer backgrounds tying the knot, new figures show.

Full story: The Telegraph

Big rise in over 18s staying at home with foster families

A record number of vulnerable young people are choosing to stay with their foster parents past their 18th birthdays, official figures suggest.

Full story: BBC News

Judge dismisses LIP's bid to get solicitor jailed

A litigant in person has failed with an attempt to have a solicitor acting for his ex-partner sent to prison.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Bethnal Green pupil's passport to be held over 'risk of travelling to join Isis'

Court official to take document of unnamed girl, 16, believed to be close friend of four pupils from academy that have already left UK to join Islamic State in Syria.

Full story: The Guardian

Circuit judge criticises LAA for lack of help

The Legal Aid Agency has been criticised for its unhelpful cooperation in determining who should bear the cost of translating documents during court proceedings.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Grandparents take to the courts in droves to assume parental control

Last four years has seen an almost 50 per cent increase in the use of Special Guardianship Orders.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Similar midlife health outcomes for those in married and non-marital cohabiting relationships

Women who marry in late 20s or early 30s have best health in midlife.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ofsted publishes ‘state of the nation’ statistical picture of children’s social care provision

Ofsted has published data for children's social care in England 2015.

Full story: Family Law Week

B&Bs never suitable accommodation for homeless children and young people, Ombudsman warns

Bed and breakfast accommodation is not suitable to house young homeless people – even in an emergency – the Local Government Ombudsman is reiterating.

Full story: Family Law Week

Diplomat shunned daughter and 'threatened to kill' grandchild

Case brought by local authority after young mother taken into care after being harassed by her father – an envoy from an unnamed Commonwealth country.

Full story: The Guardian

Latvian child must be adopted in the UK, judge rules

A Latvian girl should be adopted in the UK, despite objections from her mother and the Latvian authorities, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Enforce family court orders but don’t jail debtors – Society

The Law Society has called for simpler procedures to enforce family financial orders and said creditors should be armed with more information.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Care applications in July 2015

In July 2015, Cafcass received a total of 1,111 care applications.  This figure represents a 9% increase compared to those received in July 2014.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In July 2015, Cafcass received a total of 3,554 new private law cases.  This is a 23% increase on July 2014 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Adopted girl wins right to return to biological family after abuse

‘Highly exceptional’ ruling allows 14-year-old who was abused by adoptive couple’s relatives to revert to legal status of birth family.

Full story: The Guardian