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

Domestic abuse victims to join abusers in family therapy

Council adopts pioneering US model but women’s groups question approach.

Full story: The Observer

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