LAA releases guidance on legal aid for victims of domestic violence and abuse

The Legal Aid Agency has released guidance to help victims of domestic violence or child abuse find out whether they are eligible for legal aid.

Full story: Family Law

Father who insisted he had a right to smack his children has son and daughter taken into care

The father, from Rotherham, was completely open with social workers about his conviction that children benefit from corporal punishment.

Full story: The Telegraph

Local Government Association advocates ‘disruption orders’ to stop CSE

The Local Government Association is calling for the introduction of 'disruption orders', which is supported by children's charity Barnardo's.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cases on threshold must be supported by stated facts: Court of Appeal

Court summarises principles set out by the President in Re A (A Child).

Full story: Family Law Week

Wife loses £2million divorce battle with business tycoon ex-husband worth £38m because she signed a 'post-nup agreement'

A wife has lost her £2million divorce battle with her property tycoon ex-husband - who is worth £38million – because she had signed a 'post-nuptial agreement'.

Full story: Daily Mail

President’s Guidance: The Role of the Attorney General in Appointing Advocates to the Court or Special Advocates in Family Cases

On 26 March 2015, Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, has issued guidance on the Role of the Attorney General in Appointing Advocates to the Court or Special Advocates in Family Cases.

Full story: Family Law

Government admits 26-week care proceedings target 'unlikely' to be met

The government has admitted the 26-week target to decide whether a child is taken into care is "highly unlikely" to ever be met for all cases.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Practice Direction: Committal for Contempt of Court – Open Court

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales has today issued a Practice Direction governing the process of hearings for committal to prison, including suspended committal, for contempt of court.

Full story: Family Law

Resolution welcomes recommendations for mediation to include children

Family justice organisation Resolution welcomed the recommendation that children be included in family mediation sessions in the Voice of the Child Advisory Group report published today.

Full story: Resolution

The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2015

These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010.

Statutory Instrument

Ex-wife of construction millionaire awarded 80 per cent of husband's property in divorce ruling

A millionaire businessman has claimed a divorce ruling that gave his ex-wife 80 per cent of their property has left him too poor to get on London’s housing ladder.

Full story: Evening Standard

Family court statistics quarterly: October to December 2014

This is the second edition of a new statistical bulletin presenting statistics relating to the family courts in the fourth quarter of 2014 (October to December).

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Voice of the Child: government response to Dispute Resolution Advisory Group report

The government’s response to the report and recommendations of the external Voice of the Child: Dispute Resolution Advisory Group.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Supreme Court allows appeal in S (A Child) [2015] UKSC 20

The Supreme Court has today unanimously allowed the appeal In the matter of S (A Child) [2015] UKSC 20, ruling in favour of the local authority and setting aside the costs order made in the Court of Appeal.

Full story: Family Law

Half of homeless teenagers turned away by local authorities

Charity calls for all homeless teenagers to be assessed for housing needs.

Full story: Family Law Week

UK’s commitment to children’s rights doesn’t go far enough

In a report published Tuesday, 24 March 2015, the Joint Committee on Human Rights welcomes the progress made by the Government in recognising children’s rights in law and policy but says that more still needs to be done.

Full story: Family Law

Children's services in Leicester judged 'inadequate'

Children's services in Leicester are "inadequate" and in urgent need of improvement, according to a damning inspection report by Ofsted.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Arrange family court open days’ – judiciary

Family courts should have annual open days for children, a report from the judiciary recommends.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Home Secretary announces review of application of Shari’a law

Wives divorced under Shari’a law ‘left in penury’.

Full story: Family Law Week

£40,000 damages awarded to husband misled over IVF birth

A lecturer has been awarded £39,000 damages and costs against his former wife who had misled him into believing that he was the father of a boy born as a result of IVF treatment.

Full story: Family Law Week

Syria fears prompt travel ban on five teenage girls

Five teenage girls who had shown an interest in going to Syria have been barred from travelling abroad by a judge at London's High Court.

Full story: BBC News

‘No evidence’ of risk from online divorce services

Research into online divorce has found no evidence of regulatory risks arising from the service.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Supreme Court to rule next week on appeal by council over costs in care case

A local authority will find out next week (26 March) whether it has won its appeal to the Supreme Court over a ruling that it should pay a father’s appeal costs in care proceedings.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Satanic cult claims dismissed by High Court judge

Mrs Justice Pauffley says claims circulating on internet are 'baseless' as she describes people who seek to perpetuate them as 'evil' or 'foolish' after fact-finding exercise.

Full story: The Telegraph

Judge hits out at Court of Appeal over consent order in deprivation of liberty case

A High Court judge has accused the Court of Appeal of apparently taking a “procedurally impermissible route” and making a consent order that was ultra vires, in legal proceedings over whether a woman looked after at home had been deprived of her liberty.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

LAA publishes preview copies of new civil claim forms

The Legal Aid Agency has published preview copies of updated civil claim forms which come into force 1 April 2015.

Full story: Family Law

Vulnerable Witnesses and Children Working Group final report – evidence in Family Courts

The final report and recommendations of the Vulnerable Witnesses and Children Working Group has been published.

Full story: Family Law

Vince divorce case shows need for reform

Last week the Supreme Court published its decision on the Wyatt v Vince appeal, the case of Kathleen Wyatt, a woman seeking to make a financial claim 23 years after her divorce.

Full story: Resolution

The Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2015

This Order amends the Family Proceedings Fees Order 2008, which governs the fees payable in family proceedings in England and Wales in the, High Court and the Family Court.

Statutory Instrument

‘Justice sacrificed on the altar of public debt’: Mostyn J

Judge grants costs allowance under Schedule 1 to Children Act.

Full story: Family Law Week

Stigmatisation, not structure, causes problems for children in ‘non-traditional’ families

‘Quality of relationships matters most to the well-being of families’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Report 'reveals the hidden depths of women’s financial abuse'

Report by TUC and Women’s Aid sets out implications of Universal Credit.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adoptions at highest since 1992

Adoptions of looked after children rose by 26% in year to March 2014.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s social care in over half of local authorities not good enough, reports Ofsted

Report ‘tells a partial and excessively negative story’, say Directors of Children’s Services.

Full story: Family Law Week

Justice Committee report finds legal aid reforms harm access to justice

The Commons Justice Select Committee has criticised the changes to civil legal aid in a report published today, 12 March 2015.

Full story: Family Law

Social workers feel powerless to intervene in cases of child neglect, finds survey

Action for Children found social workers feel less empowered to help children suffering neglect than police, doctors and head teachers.

Full story: Community Care

Supreme Court allows wife’s claim 18 years after divorce to proceed

The Supreme Court has allowed the former wife's appeal in Wyatt v Vince.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass private law demand

In February 2015, Cafcass received a total of 2,992 new private law cases. This is a 13% decrease on February 2014 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Care applications in February 2015

In February 2015, Cafcass received a total of 954 care applications.  This figure represents a 7% increase compared to those received in February 2014.

Full story: Cafcass

Law Commission opens consultation on how best to enforce financial orders

In a consultation opening today, the Law Commission is seeking views on options for reform that would simplify and clarify the law and make it easier for the courts, practitioners and the public to use.

Full story: Family Law

Children in care failed by government, say MPs

Children in care "get a raw deal" and the government is not doing enough to help them, MPs have said in a report.

Full story: BBC News

Resolution granted funding extension to support families impacted by loss of legal aid

Resolution’s pioneering Family Matters pilot service, which helps low income separating families who were previously eligible for legal aid has been granted an extension in funding to continue the service until September.

Full story: Family Law

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations 2015

These Regulations make provision to enable mitochondrial donation.

The Court of Protection (Amendment) Rules 2015

These Rules amend the Court of Protection Rules 2007.

Statutory Instrument

Latvia complains to UK parliament over forced adoptions

Letter to speaker centres on case of six-year-old in London removed from her Latvian mother after claims of neglect and says that social services breached international law.

Full story: The Guardian

The Civil Proceedings and Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2015

This Order amends the Civil Proceedings Fees Order 2008 and the Family Proceedings Fees Order 2008.

Statutory Instrument

Supreme Court decides on strike-out of wife’s claim 18 years after decree absolute

On Wednesday, 11th March, the Supreme Court will hand down judgment in Wyatt v Vince.

Full story: Family Law Week

Report outlines progress in campaign to end violence against women and girls

The Government has marked International Women's Day, as it has every year since 2011, by publishing a progress report in respect of its campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s homes quality standards – DfE responds to consultation

The Department for Education has published its response following the consultation into quality standards for children's homes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Gloucestershire adoption case gave judge 'immense anxiety'

Social services in Gloucestershire has been accused of "institutional failure" by a senior judge for its handling of the adoption of a four-year-old girl.

Full story: BBC News

Crime Prevention Minister meets London domestic abuse experts

Lynne Featherstone has visited Standing Together in Hammersmith to hear about its work to coordinate integrated multi-agency support for victims of domestic abuse.

Full story: Family Law

70% of children living with both birth parents – government promotes relationship support

The number of children living with both birth parents has risen to 70%.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Laura Ashley boss says he struggles to pay his estranged wife's £110k-a-month maintenance

Multi-millionaire businessman Khoo Kay Peng is locked in a £400 million divorce battle with his former-Miss Malaysia wife of 43 years, Pauline Siew Phin Chai.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family court hammers firm in compliance crackdown

The family court has renewed a stern message to litigants that it will not tolerate non-compliance with court orders.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Woman acted as surrogate mother for son's IVF baby, court hears

Man in his 20s told he may adopt his biological son after court is told how he embarked on ‘process of becoming a father’ with assistance from his own mother.

Full story: The Guardian

Record number of children adopted by LGBT families

Minister thanks lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender community for ‘selfless dedication’ to vulnerable children.

Full story: Department for Education