Disappointing government mediation data highlights role of judges in boosting take-up

The family court system has an ace to play to help salvage government plans to increase the take-up of family mediation, says a leading family charity after new official data showed mediation has yet to return to pre-legal aid cut levels.

Full story: Family Law

Fall in children being approved for adoption continues

The number of adoption placement orders being granted continued to fall in the run-up to Christmas despite government efforts to buck the trend, it has emerged.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Independent review launched into links between care and custody

Prison Reform Trust asks Lord Laming to chair investigation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Number of children with placement order waiting to be placed falls by a third

Waiting period for placement falls from 656 to 533 days.

Full story: Family Law Week

Compulsory use of new legal aid administration system postponed

Resolution renews call for members' feedback.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Protection: Press will still need judge's permission to attend hearings

Cases heard at Britain’s most secretive court will remain largely closed to public scrutiny after the Government decided not to change the law which obliges the media to apply in advance if they would like to attend.

Full story: The Independent

Parental consent can be dispensed with in Hague Convention adoption in absence of public law proceedings

President gives judgment in‘unusual and difficult’ international adoption case.

Full story: Family Law Week

LA's 'disproportionate and arbitrary actions' lead to removal of baby from mother

North East Lincolnshire Council has been heavily criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman after social workers arbitrarily removed a young baby from her mother's care and handed the child over to her father.

Full story: Family Law Week

Doctors forced to continue treating Sunni Muslim who is in a "minimally conscious" state

Hospital bosses had asked to allow doctors to stop treating the man - who has suffered brain damage.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child rapist banned from contact with children is given permission to live with toddler daughter

The 24-year-old man was convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl when he was 17, but is said to be 'contrite and remorseful' about the 'awful crime'.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment No. 2) 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

The Family Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2015

These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010.

Statutory Instrument

The Family Court (Composition and Distribution of Business) (Amendment) Rules 2015

These Rules amend the Family Court (Composition and Distribution of Business) Rules 2014 to make provision in relation to the allocation in the family court of applications for Female Genital Mutilation Protection orders under Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

Statutory Instrument

Practice Guidance: Committal for Contempt of Court – Open Court

Lord Thomas LCJ has issued new practice guidance to answer various questions that have arisen on the application and interpretation of the Practice Direction: Committal for Contempt - Open Court, dated 26 March 2015.

Practice Guidance: Family Law

The place of residential care in the English child welfare system

The Department for Education has released a research report into the place of residential care in the English child welfare system.

Full story: Family Law

Family court statistics quarterly: January to March 2015

This report presents the latest statistics on type and volume of cases that are received and processed through the family court system of England and Wales in the first quarter of 2015 (January to March).

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Record number of prosecutions for violence against women

A record number of people have been prosecuted for offences involving violence against women and girls, figures for England and Wales show.

Full story: BBC News

Rising concerns around child neglect, but public unclear where to report them

More than a third of adults surveyed by charity Action for Children said they were concerned about the welfare of a child in their neighbourhood.

Full story: Community Care

PM announces new taskforce to transform child protection

Child Protection Taskforce announced to help protect the most vulnerable children in our society and give them the opportunity to succeed.

Full story: Department for Education

How to refer cases to the Financial Remedies Unit

The Central Family Court has released the Certificate of Financial Complexity that must be completed for a complex financial family case to be referred to the Financial Remedies Unit.

Practice Guidance: Family Law

Rebecca Minnock told she no longer faces prison

Runaway mother’s fears over impact of jail sentence on her three-year-old son Ethan prompts ex-partner to drop contempt of court application.

Full story: The Guardian

Number of vulnerable children in UK rises for fifth successive year

Experts see increase in children taken into care or placed on child protection plans as inevitable consequence of long term austerity and welfare cuts.

Full story: The Guardian

Justice system badly failing most users, says Michael Gove

Justice secretary says the rich get gold-standard service while the rest have to put up with creaking, outdated system.

Full story: The Guardian

Rebecca Minnock faces jail as ex-partner presses charges for running away with son

Somerset mother could be locked up for contempt of court as she faces legal proceedings after she defies two court orders over three-year-old son.

Full story: The Telegraph

Polish woman appeals for help to find son missing with estranged husband

Judge gives Leyla Dad permission to write open letter to six-year-old Mani, who vanished from home in Kielce, Poland, and is thought to be with his British father.

Full story: The Guardian

Children are the 'forgotten victims' of violence, says leading charity Refuge

It is a “disgrace” that children are the “forgotten victims of domestic violence”, says leading charity Refuge, as new figures reveal that one-third of mothers are injured by the time they seek help, with much of the violence witnessed by their children.

Full story: The Independent

£4.5 million to end delays for children awaiting adoption

New funding for regional adoption agencies to help place children in stable, loving homes faster than ever before.

Full story: Department for Education

Changes to Divorce Process: An Update

Court Users’ meeting on Wednesday 24 June at Central Family Court.

Full story: Family Law Week

CoA overturns family ruling after ‘wholly unacceptable’ delay

Tight deadlines for dealing with family cases are beneficial, the Court of Appeal has said, after it upheld a challenge concerning a ‘substantially delayed’ judgment.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Families Need Fathers updates charter

FNF sends out reminder of key principles underpinning charity.

Full story: Family Law Week

One in 20 children referred to social workers in a single year

Dramatic growth in child protection system as abuse and neglect scandals create ‘watershed moment’.

Full story: The Telegraph

No increase in child abuse detection since Children Act despite 300% referral rise

Research finds assessments are now longer and more expensive than they were when the Children Act 1989 came into force.

Full story: Community Care

Government brings forward deadline for deprivation of liberty reform plans

Accelerated timetable will see Law Commission publish draft legislation and detailed proposals by end of 2016.

Full story: Community Care

Court of Appeal says that people without mental capacity must be involved in legal proceedings about their liberty

People who are unable to make decisions for themselves because they lack mental capacity should always be directly involved in court hearings about their personal liberty, the Court of Appeal said today.

Full story: The Law Society

UK lawyers to help give children a voice during family separation

Family lawyers and mediators across the country are joining forces with UK charity Kids in the Middle to offer valuable support to children experiencing a family break-up.

Full story: Family Law

Mother's bid to use dead daughter's eggs fails

A mother cannot use her dead daughter's frozen eggs to give birth to her own grandchild, the High Court in London has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

‘Money for lawyers’ triggers jump in reopened divorce cases

The number of people returning to the courts to boost their divorce settlements doubled last year – partly because there is more money around to spend on lawyers, according to new data.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

ONS launches online life expectancy calculator

Facility developed to assist pension planning.

Full story: Family Law Week

Runaway mother Rebecca Minnock 'manipulated press'

A mother who disappeared with her three-year-old son when a custody ruling went against her was "utterly irresponsible", a judge has said.

Full story: BBC News

Boy to live with killer dad's family, court rules

A boy whose father is in jail for his mother's murder should live with the killer's sister and family in England, not his maternal grandparents in China - a family court judge has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Will Re H encourage more appeals out of time?

CoA considers extending time for appeal and merits for first time in family case.

Full story: Family Law Week

UK under fire over 'incoherent' approach to domestic violence

The British government has been criticised by the UN for lacking “a consistent and coherent” approach to tackling violence against women, warning that its austerity agenda will further undermine the safety of vulnerable individuals.

Full story: The Guardian

Applications for expert instructions must follow the Part 25 procedure

Court of Appeal criticises ‘unlawful’ order for psychological assessment.

Full story: Family Law Week

Fathers see sons more than daughters after break-up

Research also finds women’s confidence in parenting falls after separation.

Full story: The Observer

Missing mother Rebecca Minnock and son Ethan found safe

A mother and her three-year-old son have been found safe and well two weeks after going missing, police have said.

Full story: BBC News

Judge makes second call for Supreme Court to reconsider Cheshire West due to “serious confusion” in law

In series of judgements, Mr Justice Mostyn has questioned the Cheshire West judgement and said law on deprivation of liberty in state of confusion.

Full story: Community Care

Rebecca Minnock case: judge responds after runaway mother breaks silence

Judge emphasises importance of both parents having relationship with a child, as search for Rebecca Minnock and son Ethan continues.

Full story: The Guardian

Lord Dyson highlights concerns over McKenzie Friends and Litigants in Person in CILEx speech

The Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, used a keynote speech on Monday, 8 June to highlight the ‘hot potato’ issues of McKenzie Friends and Litigants in Person.

Full story: Family Law

Wife forced to swap £3.2m home for council flat after 'cheap divorce goes wrong'

A doctor's wife had to swap her £3.2 million home for a rented council flat and a life on benefits after their on-the-cheap divorce went “completely wrong”, the High Court heard.

Full story: Evening Standard

Report focuses on local authority responses to migrant families with ‘no recourse to public funds’

Study finds tension between immigration law requirements and Children Act duties.

Full story: Family Law Week

NSPCC queries High Court judge's smacking remarks

Children need to be protected from being physically abused by their parents irrespective of "cultural sensitivities", a UK charity has said.

Full story: BBC News

Cafcass private law demand

In May 2015, Cafcass received a total of 2,880 new private law cases.  This is a 34% increase on May 2014 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Care applications in May 2015

In May 2015, Cafcass received a total of 913 care applications.  This figure represents a 5% increase compared to those received in May 2014.

Full story: Cafcass

Wealthy ex-wife settles for £1.6m after judge warns on legal costs

A wealthy property developer's wife is to receive over £1.6m in a settlement worked out after a judge urged the couple to spend no more money on their divorce battle after legal costs reached a "crazy" and "absolutely barmy" £300,000-plus.

Full story: Herald Scotland

Mother goes missing with son after court custody ruling

A three-year-old boy and his mother have gone missing after a court ruled the boy should live with his father.

Full story: BBC News

Immigrants who beat their children should get special treatment, says judge

Mrs Justice Pauffley sitting in the High Court says "proper allowance" should be made for the way immigrants parents choose to discipline their children.

Full story: The Telegraph

Hundreds of children to benefit from innovative pro bono legal project

Top global law firms Allen & Overy and DLA Piper have teamed up with leading children's legal charity Coram Children’s Legal Centre to launch a new collaborative legal project that will help hundreds of children currently without legal support to access their rights.

Full story: Family Lore

High Court to hear systemic challenge to the operation of the Government’s legal aid Exceptional Case Funding scheme

On Wednesday, 10 June the High Court will begin hearing a judicial review with far reaching implications for the ongoing implementation of the Government’s legal aid cuts.

Full story: Family Law

Divorcee Michelle Young to be sued over financing of bitter legal battle

Saga of Michelle Young's bitter divorce battle takes extraordinary new twist as financial backers plan to sue her for breach of contract.

Full post: The Telegraph

Thousands miss out on marriage tax breaks due to 'confusing' computer system

Government accused of 'cutting corners' over flagship tax break.

Full story: The Telegraph

Education and Adoption Bill published

The Education and Adoption Bill has been published.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adoptive parents in Wales unable to access support for their children

Report focuses on disrupted and challenging adoptions.

Full story: Family Law Week

Russian beauty queen awarded £1.2m in bitter divorce battle

Judge hands Ekaterina Parfenova less than half the figure she wanted after legal bills slashed joint fortune.

Full story: The Telegraph

Supreme Court to hear double divorce challenge

Wives deliberately misled by ex-husbands seek new divorce settlements.

Full story: Family Law

Lawyers urged to play it cool with litigants in person

Solicitors, barristers and legal executives have been told by their professional bodies to be polite and non-judgemental when dealing with litigants in person, and take “extra care to avoid using inflammatory words or phrases”.

Full story: Legal Futures

Men are treated fairly when trying to get access to their children in courts, study says

Men are not unfairly represented in family courts and are just as likely to have contact applications approved as women, an academic study of nearly 200 child custody cases from 2011 has concluded.

Full story: The Independent

Courtroom abuse sparks new McKenzie friend fears

An imminent consultation by the judiciary on the proliferation of paid McKenzie friends in court is ringing alarm bells among lawyers, after a former nightclub bouncer was banned from providing such a service for grossly offensive behaviour.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Two-year-old boy from 'smoky house' to be placed for adoption

Child taken from parents’ care over number of concerns, including high levels of cigarette smoke at the family home.

Full story: The Guardian

Teenagers in foster care moved too often, charity warns

Teenagers in foster care in the UK are being moved too often, a survey has suggested.

Full story: BBC News

Urgent need for statutory provision for funding for cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses

Resolution has supported the call by the Association of Lawyers for Children and Coram Children's Legal Centre for statutory provision to deal with the consequences of the Court of Appeal's judgment in Re K and H Children.

Full story: Family Law Week