Order prohibiting involvement of children in political activities set aside

Application for prohibited steps order to be re-heard.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorce man 'not on same planet'

A highly successful businessman from the United States "not willing to pay a penny" in a multimillion-pound divorce battle has been told by a judge: "I am not sure you and I are on the same planet."

Full story: Belfast Telegraph

President outlines MOJ research on LIPs cross examining witnesses in private family proceedings

I am pleased to report that the Ministry of Justice is intending to gather information, and subsequently undertake a research study, on private law cases where direct cross examination of a vulnerable witness by a litigant in person is, or threatens to be, an issue.

Full story: Family Law

‘Tough’ new inspection regime for children’s homes from April 2015

Inspections to focus on progress and experiences of children and young people.

Full story: Family Law Week

DfE publishes report on Children’s Social Work Workforce

The Department for Education has published a statistical report on the Children’s Social Work Workforce for year ending 30 September 2014.

Full story: Family Law

The Children and Families Act 2014 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2015

This is the sixth Commencement Order under the Children and Families Act.

Statutory Instrument

Munby turns his guns on excess bundles

An exasperated senior judge has said surplus court documents will be destroyed without notice if lawyers cannot keep to practice directions on bundle sizes.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Referrals to children’s services rise by more than 10%

Child protection plans have increased by almost a quarter since 2010.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Child Support (Miscellaneous and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2015

These Regulations make miscellaneous and consequential amendments to various Child Support Regulations.

Domestic violence could be stopped earlier, says study

Victims are abused for almost three years on average before they get the help they need and are often in contact with professionals in that time.

Full story: The Guardian

UK approves three-person babies

The UK has now become the first country to approve laws to allow the creation of babies from three people.

Full story: BBC News

Divorced wife told to get a job and stop living off her ex

In a decision which signals an end to leisurely living for ex partners of wealthy spouses, Lord Justice Pitchford says divorcees with children aged over seven should work.

Full story: The Telegraph

Specialist support set to benefit 3,000 adopter families

More than 3,000 families that have adopted a child are set to benefit from the government’s £19.3m Adoption Support Fund, latest figures suggest.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Seven grandparents a day seek court order to see grandchildren

Government should shoulder blame, says National Family Mediation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Resolution call for sweeping changes to laws on divorce and separation

Resolution, which represents family justice professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes, will today call for sweeping changes to the laws surrounding divorce and separation.

Full story: Family Law

Children’s Society urges child protection changes to Serious Crime Bill

Teenagers aged 16 and 17 are more likely to be abused or neglected than any other age group, but are given the least protection, according to new analysis by The Children's Society.

Full story: Family Law Week

Marriage tax allowance registration opens

A scheme to offer tax breaks to some married couples and civil partners has opened for registration.

Full story: BBC News

Children to be given a voice in family court care proceedings

Those aged 10 and over will be able to express views about what should happen to them in cases where they face being taken into care.

Full story: The Guardian

Legal aid cuts exposing domestic abuse victims to court ordeal, says report

Citizens Advice says victims may face being cross-examined by their abuser because they have to represent themselves in court.

Full story: The Guardian

Challenge to domestic violence legal aid ruling

The Law Society is supporting an appeal against the High Court’s backing for reforms which have the effect of restricting access to legal aid for victims of domestic violence.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Family Drug and Alcohol Courts to be extended in England

Courts which help parents deal with drug or alcohol addiction so they can keep their children are to be opened in more areas of England.

Full story: BBC News

Judge criticises council after toddler taken into care over father's links to English Defence League

Sir James Munby says approach taken by Darlington Borough Council 'almost a textbook example of how not to pursue a care case' over fears of links to EDL.

Full story: The Telegraph

DNA tests to cut courtroom battles

DNA tests in family courts will be provided across England from later this year, Justice Minister Simon Hughes has announced.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Family court judges given power to order DNA tests

Family court judges in England will be able to order DNA tests to determine a child's parentage from September, Justice Minister Simon Hughes has said.

Full story: BBC News

Process evaluation of the private law children cases expert evidence pilot

This report gives findings on the evaluation of the pilot to fund DNA, drug and alcohol tests in private law children cases.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Wife’s MPS application rejected because interim budget exceeded standard of living of marriage

Court intervention not required to ensure interim needs met.

Full story: Family Law Week

Online courts could increase access to justice and reduce court costs by 2017, according to report

A new Online Dispute Resolution system should be developed in England and Wales to increase access to justice and to streamline the court process, a report recommends today.

Full story: Family Law

Judge refuses mother's plea to treat terminally-ill son, saying he should be allowed to die

Court of Protection rules that specialists can lawfully stop providing chemotherapy to terminally-ill teenager.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No. 15) Order 2015

This Order brings into force section 40 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (disclosure of information to credit reference agencies).

Statutory Instrument

1.4 million women suffered domestic abuse last year, ONS figures show

Office for National Statistics survey shows that rates remain stubbornly high, while violent crime more generally continues to fall.

Full story: The Guardian

Children taken to UK should be returned to Australia, judge rules

Man’s former wife, now dead, had specified in will that she did not want her two children to return to live with their father.

Full story: The Guardian

Legal aid savings ‘no economy at all’ – CoA judge

An appeal court judge has described legal aid savings as a false economy after seeing a litigant in person struggle without help from a solicitor.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Civil Partnerships in decline

The number of civil partnerships formed in the UK in 2013 was 6,276, a decrease of 11% from the 7,037 recorded in 2012, according to new figures released today by the Office of National Statistics.

Full story: Family Law

Care applications in January 2015

In January 2015, Cafcass received a total of 887 care applications.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In January 2015, Cafcass received a total of 2,843 new private law cases. This is a 15% decrease on January 2014 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Dog attack fears see potential foster carers turned away

Local authorities are turning away potential foster carers and adopters because of increased concerns over whether it is safe to place children in homes with dogs.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Appointment of 3 members of the Family Justice Council

Appointment of Elizabeth Isaacs QC, Helen Morris and Sara McIlroy as new members of the Family Justice Council.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Resolution updates members on divorce centre changes

Resolution has reported that it has recently met with HM Courts and Tribunal Service about current and future moves to central divorce centres.

Full story: Family Law Week

‘Gratuitously rude’ judge reprimanded in CoA ruling

A family judge was reprimanded by Court of Appeal judges twice in two days and told he should be ‘embarrassed’ by the way he handled a case, it has emerged.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Council to pay £17k damages for “truly lamentable” failures in child care case

A High Court judge has ordered a county council to pay £17,000 in damages under the Human Rights Act following a “truly lamentable” catalogue of errors, omissions, delays and serial breaches of court orders in a child care case.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Care cases shorter if family court advisers are involved in pre-proceedings practice

Research from Northumbria University finds guardians offer a head start in planning, which leads to fewer requests for additional reports.

Full story: Community Care

Judge authorises sterilisation of mother-of-six with learning disabilities

Health authority and social services bosses argue procedure is in best interests of woman, whose life could be in danger if she becomes pregnant again.

Full story: The Guardian

Legal aid reforms not based on evidence, claims report

A report published today claims that even though the Ministry of Justice is on track to make a significant and rapid reduction to the amount that it spends on civil legal aid, it introduced major changes on the basis of no evidence in many areas, and without making good use of the evidence that it did have in other areas.

Full story: Family Law

MPs say yes to three-person babies

In an historic move, MPs have voted in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man.

Full story: BBC News

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards caseloads continue to mount on back of Supreme Court ruling

Eight times as many Dols applications from April to December 2014 than in whole of previous financial year, say official figures.

Full story: Community Care

High cost of Court of Protection cases “a matter of serious concern”: report

The high cost of welfare cases in the Court of Protection is “a matter of serious concern” and – alongside the lengthy duration of such proceedings – requires urgent investigation, researchers at Cardiff University have said.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Capita ordered to pay costs over failure to provide interpreters to family courts

Judgment comes amid mounting concern within the judiciary over delays and extra costs caused by private contractors on court service.

Full story: The Guardian

8 out of 10 councils using 'secret courts'

Study warns the number and cost of cases in the Court of Protection is a matter for “serious concern”.

Full story: The Telegraph

MoJ mediation report tells us ‘little that’s new’

National Family Mediation says the source of referrals to family mediation have 'flipped' since the legal aid cuts.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Court of Appeal slams judge for "unprincipled" approach to final care orders

The Court of Appeal has sharply criticised a county court judge for adopting a “ruthlessly truncated” and “fundamentally unprincipled” process when he made final care orders at what the parties expected to be a directions hearing.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer