Children: surrogacy, and single people and parental orders: House of Commons Briefing Paper

Published in anticipation of changes expected in new session of Parliament.

Full story: Family Law Hub

'Unlawful' family court agreement axed

A joint agreement aimed at tackling delays in care proceedings has been ditched amid concerns it is unlawful and could lead to collusion between social workers and family court guardians.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Counselling domestic abusers cuts offending by third, say researchers

A radical counselling scheme for some domestic abusers cuts offending by a third, researchers say.

Full story: BBC News

Some children stuck in a' revolving door' of referral and assessment

Action for Children says vulnerable children are increasingly receiving help only at crisis point.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court to consider applications to vary periodical payments orders under MCA s31(7)

Permission given to husband to appeal by Mills v Mills.

Full story: Family Law Week

DIY divorce form could lead to more adultery accusations, lawyers warn

A new "DIY" divorce form designed to speed up the process could lead to thousands more people being accused of adultery, lawyers warn.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children's social care at breaking point, council leaders warn

Analysis by the Local Government Association reveals pressure on budgets.

Full story: Family Law Week

‘Every government department should have ministerial family leads to boost family stability’

Report on prison reform calls for wider support for positive family relationships.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass private law demand

In July 2017, Cafcass received a total of 3,709 new private law cases. This is a 10% increase compared with those received in July 2016.

Full story: Cafcass

Care applications in July 2017

In July 2017, Cafcass received a total of 1,238 care applications. This figure represents a 5% decrease compared with those received in July 2016.

Full story: Cafcass

Supreme Court to hear argument that 'unreasonable behaviour' in divorce is a 'linguistic trap'

Supreme Court grants permission to appeal in Owens case.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Judge approves suicidal girl care plan

A judge who said society should be "ashamed" for not protecting a suicidal girl has approved a care plan for her.

Full story: BBC News

Family Procedure Rules amended as of today

New divorce form D8 may be used from today.

Full story: Family Law Week

Senior judge: Fathers with valuable homes should pay more child support

Estranged fathers with expensive homes should be forced to pay more towards the upbringing of their children, one of Britain's most senior family judges has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Proposal to extend Child Support Agency case closure programme

The government is  proposing to extend the Child Support Agency case closure programme.

Full story: Family Law

Judge warns of 'blood on our hands' if suicidal girl is forced out of secure care

Sir James Munby, head of high court’s family division, says he is ‘ashamed and embarrassed’ that no hospital place has been found for 17-year-old.

Full story: The Guardian

12% rise in Childline counselling sessions about forced marriage

Recent figures from Childline show growing concern over forced marriage among young people.

Full story: Family Law Week

Multi-million fund reaches record number of adoptive families

Over £52 million has now been released through the Adoption Support Fund, which has helped 22,000 children.

Full story: Department for Education

Government updates child maintenance application fee guidance

The Department for Work and Pensions has updated its guidance which sets out how it will decide if a victim of domestic violence or abuse is exempt from the Child Maintenance Service application fee.

Full story: Family Law

Judge dismisses council’s bid to block parents’ adoption petition

Parents' right to campaign outweighs risk to children, court finds.

Full story: Community Care

Effective family-based child maintenance arrangements: data to March 2017

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

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Digital divorce update

Legal stationers are stocking up on new family law forms which will need to be used by the end of the summer.

Full story: Family Law

Mother wins court battle to change child's 'tainted' middle name

A mother who no longer liked her child's middle name has won the right to have it removed in a legal challenge costing thousands of pounds in legal aid.

Full report: The Telegraph

Ten cases like Charlie Gard’s heard in English courts this year

Figures emerge as debate grows over merits of legal secrecy and high-profile public campaigns.

Full story: The Observer

Council apologises over unlawful removal of child from mother

Family court judge says Gloucestershire council acted with ‘degree of subterfuge and immediacy’ that was plainly wrong.

Full story: The Guardian

Fathers group criticises domestic violence study

A group representing fathers has criticised a study that identifies domestic violence as a factor in the majority of applications for contact with a child heard in the family courts.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Ex-wife of millionaire pilot pleads with judges to end 16-year legal fight

The ex-wife of a millionaire pilot locked in Britain’s longest divorce battle has pleaded with senior judges to end the “ghastly” 16-year legal fight.

Full story: The Telegraph

Judge writes personal letter to teen after High Court battle

A judge has written a personal letter to a 14-year-old boy explaining why he has rejected his request to move with his father to Scandinavia.

Full story: BBC News

Divorce court should take wife's family wealth into account, says husband

The wealth of  father should be taken into account when determining a divorce settlement, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Full story: The Telegraph

Domestic violence a factor in majority of child contact applications, research finds

Nearly two-thirds of applications heard in the family courts for contact with a child feature some kind of domestic violence allegation, a study has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

City council faces legal action over leak of adoption information

Newcastle City Council faces legal action after a data leak exposed personal details of people involved in adoptions.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Supreme Court allows wife’s appeal in Birch v Birch

Court may hear wife’s application to be released from undertaking to sell former matrimonial home.

Full story: Family Law Week

High Court affirms declaration that Charlie Gard’s life support may be withdrawn

Parents withdraw objection to GOSH’s application.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cuts cannot have been intended to leave parents struggling - Charlie Gard judge

Legal aid reforms cannot have been intended to leave parents struggling to access legal representation in cases similar to that of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard, the judge ruling in the case said today in an unusually outspoken intervention.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Further Family Court closures

5 more court closures confirmed before September 2017.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Consultation on changing legal gender to be launched

The UK government is considering plans to make the process of changing legal gender easier.

Full story: BBC News

New D8 and other divorce procedure changes

The Family Procedure (Amendment No 2) Rules 2017 are due to come into force on 7 August 2017.

Full story: Family Law Hub

International meeting addresses domestic / family violence and the 1980 Child Abduction Convention

New Guide to Good Practice on Article 13(1)(b) developed.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mr Justice Peter Jackson appointed to Court of Appeal

Seven new appointments to Court of Appeal.

Full story: Family Law Week

Lady Hale appointed next President of Supreme Court, alongside three new Justices

Baroness Hale of Richmond will succeed Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury as President of the UK Supreme Court, it was announced today, alongside three additional appointments to the UK's top appeal court.

Full story: The Supreme Court

Judge allows council to submit evidence on family gained from private investigator

But Judge Moradifar ruled allegations the covert surveillance breached parents' human rights should be dealt with separately.

Full story: Community Care

Supreme Court ruling in Birch v Birch variation appeal due next week

The Supreme Court will hand down judgment in the Birch v Birch appeal next week on Wednesday 26th July.

Full story: Family Law Hub

The Child Abduction and Custody (Parties to Conventions) (Amendment) Order 2017

This Order revokes the Child Abduction and Custody (Parties to Conventions) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2011 and amends the Child Abduction and Custody (Parties to Conventions) Order 1986.

Statutory Instrument

HMCTS turns in £100m civil justice 'surplus' as fees add up

Fee income from civil courts reached almost £800m in the last financial year, new figures have revealed.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Judge praises ‘significant changes’ made by parents during care proceedings

A local authority withdrew its recommendation that a child be removed into care after the parents made changes during proceedings.

Full story: Community Care

Marriage and divorce on the rise at 65 and over

Increases explained by longer life expectancy.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004: rights of victims

Guidance for clinicians where perpetrator is mentally disordered offender.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Family Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2017

These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010 from 7 August 2017.

Statutory Instrument

Consultation launched to facilitate de-linking of financial applications from divorce / dissolution proceedings

The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation on proposed amendments to Part 9 of the Family Procedure Rules (FPR): Application for a financial remedy.

Full story: Family Law Week

Police and not council must pay for special advocates in family case, says judge

The police and not a local authority must pay for the provision of special advocates in a rare example of them being required for a Family Court case, Cobb J has ruled.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Judge warns double-booked lawyers: We will start case without you

A family judge has issued a public warning to solicitors and barristers to avoid 'cross courting' that impacts on the progress of a case.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Proportion of the population who are married has decreased by 3.9 per cent since 2002

51 per cent of population (over 16) married.

Full story: Family Law Week

Experts’ Group recommends new Hague Convention on recognition and enforcement of family agreements

New instrument would build on the 1980, 1996 and 2007 Hague Conventions.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s Commissioner urges EU not to use children’s residency status as ‘bargaining chip’

Issue of ECJ jurisdiction needs to be separated.

Full story: Family Law Week

Outdated law of wills needs 'overhaul'

Law Commission consults on proposals to ease strict rules.

Full story: Family Law Week

Pension inequality ended for same-gender couples

Supreme Court judgment finds Equality Act exemption unlawful.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications to Cafcass in June up 3 per cent on a year ago

1,319 care applications received.

Full story: Family Law Week

Private law applications to Cafcass in June up 12 per cent on a year ago

Highest number of new cases in a month for more than three years.

Full story: Family Law Week

“Perception” of high cost discouraging family law clients from going direct to barristers

There is a “clear perception” among most family law clients that barristers are more expensive than solicitors and other legal services providers, major research commissioned by the Bar Standards Board has found.

Full story: Legal Futures

Charity issues guidance on publication of judgments about family matters

The Transparency Project has published a new guide designed to help parties in the family justice system “navigate the complicated issue of publishing judgments about private family matters”.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Babies at risk of 'adoption by stealth', family charity warns

Mothers may find temporary arrangements turn into permanent adoption under fostering for adoption scheme, with limited access to free legal advice.

Full story: The Guardian

Charlie Gard hospital applies to high court for fresh hearing

Great Ormond Street hospital says move comes ‘in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment’.

Full story: The Guardian

Privy Council considers beneficial ownership case

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has dismissed an appeal by a Jamaican husband against a ruling of the Court of Appeal of Jamaica that the beneficial interest of a property bought by a married couple was to be held in equal shares.

Full story: Family Law Week

CoA to decide whether English court can consider section 27 maintenance application when Scottish court is dealing with the divorce

Case concerns interpretation of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Maintenance) Regulations 2011.

Full story: Family Law Week

Legal Aid Agency guidance on a model approach to civil billing

The Legal Aid Agency has set out a standard approach to help turn around your work more efficiently when submitting online and paper bills.

Full story: Family Law

Amber Rudd unveils £17m fund to help domestic abuse victims

Men who harm women and children by inflicting domestic abuse are to be targeted as part of a new £2.5 million drive announced today to protect female victims of violence in London.

Full story: Evening Standard

Settlement Conferences Pilot

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, has issued the following guidance in respect of the settlement conferences pilot.

Full story: Family Law Week

Annual statistical publication for FGM shows 5,391 newly recorded cases during 2016-17

There were 5,391 newly recorded cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) reported in England during 2016-17, according to the second publication of annual statistics from this data set.

Full story: Family Law

Children in north of England 70% more likely to face care process, study shows

North-south divide reveals discrepancies in the way local authorities and judges address care proceedings.

Full story: The Guardian

'Access Denied': Law Society's 25-point plan to salvage civil justice

The Law Society is calling for a root-and-branch overhaul of civil legal aid provision to help repair the damage inflicted by deep cuts four years ago.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Fate of children and young people brought up in the UK but unable to secure permanent status highlighted in report

Coram Children’s Legal Centre report makes recommendations for improvement.

Full story: Family Law Week

Resolution emphasises the need for more specialist financial advisers

Report encourages financial advisers to enter divorce and separation market.

Full story: Family Law Week

President of Family Division issues guidance for judges on Ofsted inspections

The President of the Family Division has issued guidance for judges on speaking to Ofsted staff conducting inspections of local authority children’s services.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Length of care proceedings begins to creep up

New cases started in family courts up 4% on a year ago.

Full story: Family Law Week

New measures to allow ratification of Istanbul Convention

Government announces measure as part of Domestic Abuse Bill.

Full story: Family Law Week

MIAMs down 5% on year ago

Mediation starts also down on a year ago.

Full story: Family Law Week

Paid McKenzie’s conduct ‘utterly inconceivable’, says judge

A paid McKenzie friend has been denied permission to appeal against a decision that banned him from being involved in a family dispute and criticised for describing himself as a ‘quasi-solicitor’.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Resolution teams up with Personal Finance Society for new financial adviser report

Resolution, who represent 6,500 family justice professionals, has published a report highlighting the growing need for specialist financial advisers in family law.

Full story: Resolution

Charlie Gard parents lose European court appeal

Judges at the European Court of Human Rights have rejected a plea from the parents of terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard to intervene in his case.

Full story: BBC News

British Sikh couple take legal action after being advised not to adopt

A British Sikh couple are bringing a legal case, claiming they were advised by an adoption agency not to apply because of their “cultural heritage”.

Full story: The Guardian

“Children Deserve More” – Child Maintenance Service loopholes deny children the support they deserve

The child maintenance system is failing to ensure children receive the appropriate level of support they are entitled to, according to a new report by Gingerbread.

Full story: Gingerbread

Mrs Justice Roberts gives comprehensive summary of the law regarding sham trusts

Trust disclosed in Form E found to be genuine.

Full story: Family Law Week

New research will audit best practice in inter-country children and families cases

Children and Families Across Borders announces research and advocacy project.

Full story: Family Law Week

6 out of 10 separating couples ignore law and go straight to court

Some solicitors are “treating the new law like a box-ticking exercise,” says NFM.

Full story: Family Law Week

Woman loses £50m divorce fight after claiming husband 'set up sham offshore trust'

A woman has lost a £50 million divorce court battle after failing to prove her millionaire husband’s offshore trust was a sham.

Full story: Evening Standard

Court of Appeal to hear father’s appeal in Charedi community contact case

Hearing listed for November 2017.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government announces draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill

Queen’s Speech includes draft legislation to transform approach to domestic violence.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorces in 2015 fell by 9 per cent compared with previous year

Fall in divorces is consistent with decline in new marriages.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child emotional abuse reports surge 200% amid cuts to child protection services

The number of children being reported as victims of emotional abuse has soared by 200 per cent in seven years, more than any other form of child abuse, according to new figures released by the NSPCC.

Full story: The Independent

The Transparency Pilot: A note from the Vice President of the Court of Protection

On 20 June 2017 Mr Justice Charles, Vice President of the Court of Protection, issued the following note.

Full story: Family Law Week

Life support must continue for baby at centre of legal battle

Terminally ill Charlie Gard to remain on life support for three weeks while European court of human rights considers case.

Full story: The Guardian

Judge to rule whether brain-damaged woman in 70s should be allowed to die

A judge is set to decide whether a pensioner in a minimally conscious state should be allowed to die.

Full story: Aol.

Supreme Court rules that the Home Office policy of ‘deport first, appeal later’ is unlawful

Coram welcomes judgment and urges government to review its policy.

Full story: Family Law Week

President of Family Division circular: Amendment to Practice Direction PD12D – Interviewing Wards of Court

On 4 May 2017 I handed down judgment  In the matter of a Ward of Court [2017] EWHC 1022 (Fam).

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Court of Appeal determines that application of ‘sharing principle’ is unfair in short marriage

Julie Sharp has been successful in her appeal against the lower court's order which had awarded capital totalling £2.725 million to the husband, which represented exactly 50% of the total matrimonial assets of £5.45 million (after deductions and concessions). The award to the husband has been reduced to £2 million.

Full story: Family Law Week

Hedge fund manager's charity will pay £282m to ex-wife's new foundation after divorce battle

A hedge fund manager's charity must pay £282m to his ex-wife's foundation after one of Britain's most expensive divorce battles came to an end in a landmark ruling.

Full story: The Telegraph

Abusive parents who try to shift blame may face tougher sentences

Draft guidelines for England and Wales say seeking to blame others should be considered an aggravating factor.

Full story: The Guardian

European court to decide whether to hear more evidence on ill baby

Charlie Gard, 10 months old, has been offered experimental therapy in US, but UK judges have ruled he must be allowed to die with dignity.

Full story: The Guardian

McKenzie Friends tread ‘fine line’ providing non-legal advice

What it means to conduct litigation is not clear, researchers find.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Delinking of divorce & financial remedies to be rolled out nationally next week

Successful pilot sees national roll out from 19 June.

Full story: Family Law Hub

17% increase in private law cases received by Cafcass in May compared with 2016

3,707 new cases received.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications received by Cafcass in May rose 3% year-on-year

1,190 applications received.

Full story: Family Law Week

David Lidington appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Fourth successive non-lawyer appointed to office.

Full story: Family Law Week

Jehovah's Witness agrees not to show son religious cartoons because of risk of 'emotional damage'

A Jehovah's Witness has agreed not to show his son religious cartoons and has been banned from taking the six-year-old to some church events because it could cause him "emotional damage".

Full story: The Telegraph

Legal help: where to go and how to pay

House of Commons Library briefing paper.

Full story: Family Law Week

Strasbourg court to consider Gard case after Supreme Court refuses appeal

Pre-emptive application to ECHR questions possible breach of article 8 rights.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Supreme court rejects appeal in Charlie Gard case

Parents had hoped to persuade judges their baby should be kept alive to receive treatment in US for rare genetic condition.

Full story: The Guardian

CCLC publishes guide on legal routes to status and permanence for undocumented children

Coram Children's Legal Centre has today published an updated guide called Securing permanent status: existing legal routes for children and young people without leave to remain in the UK.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child Support Agency case closures: June 2014 to March 2017

Quarterly experimental statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency case closure programme from June 2014 to March 2017.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Judge agrees natural father should not be given notice of care proceedings

A natural father need not be given a copy of a notice of care proceedings where this would create a risk for the mother, HHJ Bellamy has ruled in the Family Court.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Social worker struck off after lie caused children to be removed into care

The social worker told her manager the children's mother had threatened to kill herself and her children, when she hadn't.

Full story: Community Care

Children of messy divorces three times as likely to catch a cold

Children whose parents have a messy divorce are three times more likely to endure a lifetime of colds as adults, a  scientific study suggests.

Full story: The Telegraph

Unreasonable behaviour petitions ‘far more acrimonious’ since Owens v Owens

Resolution will advise members to keep seeking constructive solution.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

International family law arbitration scheme announced

Scheme will avoid forum litigation.

Full story: Family Law Week

New guidance on changes in the use of Cafcass professional time

New guidance has been issued by the chief executives of Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru, dealing with changes in the use of Cafcass professional time to bring most benefit to children within the resources available.

Full story: Family Law

About 350,000 children benefiting from 2012 child maintenance scheme

Intake of cases increases by 15 per cent over the last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Serious case review criticises ‘incident-focused’ social work response to domestic abuse

A review into the death of a four-week-old baby also criticised 'subtle hierarchies' between local agencies.

Full story: Community Care

Foster carers facing ‘poverty’ over inadequate Staying Put funding

The Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers said improperly supporting children to stay with foster carers leaves them unable to pay bills.

Full story: Community Care

Children accommodated in secure children's homes: 31 March 2017

Statistics on approved placements by type, gender, age and length of stay.

Full story: Department for Education

Great Ormond Street Hospital -v- Yates and Gard

UKSC to hear arguments on permission to appeal in Charlie Gard case on 8 June.

Full story: Supreme Court

Supreme Court hears appeal on application of section 31, Matrimonial Cause Act 1973

Wife appeals from Court of Appeal judgment in Birch v Birch [2015] EWCA Civ 833.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mother asks court to permit doctors to cease care for ill daughter

Court of protection to consider case of woman in her 50s who has suffered from Huntington’s disease for over 20 years.

Full story: The Guardian

Tories pledge new law over domestic violence directed at children

Theresa May says party has delivered ‘real steps towards tackling domestic violence’, but wants to go further.

Full story: The Guardian

Charlie Gard doctors can stop providing life support, court rules

Appeal court judges back earlier ruling in case of nine-month-old boy whose parents wanted to take him to US for treatment.

Full story: The Guardian

Teenager's parents made him think he was dying, says judge

In welfare case hearing at high court in London, sick boy’s parents are criticised for misreporting his medical symptoms.

Full story: The Guardian

The impacts of abuse and neglect on children; and comparison of different placement options: Evidence review

The Department for Education has recently published an evidence review examining the effects of abuse and neglect on children, and whether different placement types affect their outcomes.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics: March 2017

Statistics from the Child Support Agency on the 1993 and 2003 statutory child maintenance schemes.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Information Commissioner finds against the MoJ

Ministry failed to respond to applicant's freedom of information request for family law data.

Full story: Family Law Week

Canada signs up to child protection & child support conventions

Now signatories to 1996 Child Protection and 2007 Child Support Conventions.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Judge refuses to hear cases where alleged domestic abusers cross-examine complainants

Practice is ‘a stain on the reputation of our family justice system’, says Mr Justice Hayden.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

President calls for the de-linking of divorce and money claims

In his 17th View from the President's Chambers Sir James Munby  has called for a "complete de?linking – separation – of divorce and 'money', so that they are started and pursued by completely separate processes, albeit, of course, that the timeline for ancillary relief is determined by the progress of the divorce".

Full story: Family Law Week

Countries with reciprocal enforcement of maintenance orders

The Official Solicitor's office has published an updated list of countries where parents can apply to enforce or change a child maintenance decision made in UK courts.

Full story: Family Law Week

Privy Council to hand down judgment in beneficial ownership case

On 25 May 2017 the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council will hand down judgment in Marr v Collie, an appeal from the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Full story: Family Law Week

Norwich father urges judges to publish rulings on his decade-long family court battle which has cost him more than £500,000

A Norwich man has called on judges to reveal details of his decade-long family court battle with an ex-partner over access to their child.

Full story: Eastern Daily Press

High Court ban on journalists naming woman in child protection case criticised

A former Liberal Democrat MP has raised concern after a High Court judge barred journalists from identifying a woman who has been remanded in custody as a result of social workers raising safety concerns about her three-year-old daughter.

Full story: Care Appointments

Judge blasts 'astonishing' £2.7m legal fees in millionaire's divorce battle

A multi-millionaire businessman and his wife have been criticised by the judge overseeing their divorce battle for paying an “astonishing” £2.7million to lawyers.

Full story: Evening Standard

The Fostering Network issues a call for under 35s to consider becoming foster carers

Leading fostering charity The Fostering Network is calling for more under 35s to consider becoming foster carers.

Full story: Family Law

Major rise in referrals of children affected by domestic abuse

The number of children affected by domestic violence has increased significantly, a child protection charity has said.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

16,900 children are benefiting from effective family-based child maintenance arrangements

The Department for Work and Pensions has published its latest report on children benefiting from effective family-based child maintenance arrangements after contacting the Child Maintenance Options service.

Full story: Family Law

Afghan boy found at Heathrow Airport 'should go to council care'

An Afghan boy found alone at Heathrow Airport must go into council care in England, the High Court has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Woman married to millionaire for 23 months gets £4.25m payout after split

A woman who was married to a multi-millionaire more than 25 years her senior for 23 months has been given a £4.25 million payout by a family court judge.

Full story: Aol.News

Councils face £2 billion funding gap to support vulnerable children by 2020

Resources are being increasingly spent on children and families at crisis point.

Full story: Family Law Week

Bar Council calls on next government to review LASPO

Risk of ‘two-tier justice’.

Full story: Family Law Week

7% decrease in new private law cases received by Cafcass in April compared with a year ago

3,219 cases received.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications to Cafcass in April fell by 16% compared with last year

Third fall in last six months.

Full story: Family Law Week

British wife wins £453m in court divorce battle with ex-trader husband

The award - which amounts to 41.5% of the couple's "marital assets" - could be the biggest made by a UK divorce court judge.

Full story: Sky News

Judge criticises council for acting unfairly in offering child for adoption

Essex County Council acted unfairly in offering a child for adoption while acting in a way that prevented the mother from applying to revoke the placement order, a High Court judge has ruled.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Till debt do us part: divorce knocks more than £3,000 a year off expected retirement incomes

Divorcees planning to retire this year expect annual retirement incomes of up to 16 per cent, or £3,000, lower than those who have never divorced, and they are also more likely to be in debt, according to new research from Prudential.

Full story: Family Law

Judge criticises social worker’s ‘alarming ineptitude’ in care case

The judge found Barnet council missed chances to safeguard two children who were unnecessarily medicated and kept in wheelchairs.

Full story: Community Care

Supporting relationships makes economic sense, says relationship charities’ manifesto

The future government should do more to support healthy couple, co-parenting and family relationships to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and make significant savings to the public purse. This is according to the Relationships Alliance 2017 Manifesto, launched in anticipation of the general election.

Full story: Family Law

Teenage boy given court care plan to stop him 'waging jihad' in Syria

Mr Justice Hayden approves care plan by Brighton & Hove council to stop 17-year-old following three of his brothers to Syria to fight.

Full story: The Telegraph

Judge condemns 'crazy' couple for spending £1.5m in £10m divorce battle

An estranged couple behind a firm that supplies towels and bathrobes to top hotels have ruffled a High Court judge by spending "crazy" amounts on lawyers during a divorce fight.

Full story: Aol.News

Abuse victims 'failed by police and courts over online harassment'

Survey finds that restraining orders are often breached and half of respondents face vexatious court claims.

Full story: The Guardian

Charity calls for 7,000 more foster families, particularly for teens and siblings

More than 7,000 new foster families are needed in the coming year to ensure that all children can be found the right foster home first time, according to leading fostering charity The Fostering Network at the start of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight (8–21 May).

Full story: Family Law

Brexit is important but it’s time to focus on a different divorce bill, charity urges

£48 billion annual family breakdown costs must be tackled, party leaders told.

Full story: Family Law

No 'judicial consent' needed for MI5 to quiz 'ward of court' teens, judge rules

MI5 agents and anti-terror police have been given the go-ahead to question teenagers placed under the control of family court judges as a result of radicalisation fears.

Full story: The Telegraph

Judge condemns laws as millionaire pays £7 a week in child support

New child support rules can lead to rich parents paying "pitiful" sums or nothing and should be reconsidered by ministers, a High Court judge has said.

Full story: Business Reporter

Resolution calls for pledges on family justice from party leaders ahead of General Election

Nigel Shepherd, National Chair of Resolution, has called on the major political parties to commit to modernising family justice in their manifesto.

Full story: Family Law

Father fails in human rights claim against council over contact and moral views

Cornwall Council did not breach the human rights of a father who claimed the local authority had prevented direct contact with his son due to his moral views.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

President’s guidance: Judicial Cooperation with Serious Case Reviews

Guidance issued by Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division on 2 May 2017.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Child Maintenance Service inquiry report published

The Work and Pensions Committee Child Maintenance Service (CMS) inquiry was published today, following its launch in July 2016.

Full story: Family Law

Charlie Gard: Parents to appeal withdrawal of life support

Parents of a baby with a rare condition are appealing against a High Court decision to withdraw life support.

Full story: BBC News

Gingerbread welcomes Work and Pensions Select Committee findings on child maintenance

Gingerbread welcomes the findings in the Work and Pensions select committee’s new report on the failings of the current child maintenance system.

Full story: Gingerbread

Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017

On 27 April 2017, the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act 2017 received Royal Assent.

Full story: Family Law

Company directors accused of artificially cutting maintenance payments to ex-spouses by disguising incomes through corporate accounts

Company directors and entrepreneurs are artificially reducing their earnings by paying themselves in dividends to cut their maintenance payments to ex-spouses, MPs say today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children and Social Work Act 2017

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 has received royal assent and introduces a number of significant changes.

Full story: Family Law

Administrative De-linking of Financial Remedy Applications from Divorce Proceedings

On 2 May 2017, a pilot will see the administrative de-linking of financial proceedings from divorce so that the main divorce proceedings can remain in the specialist centre and staff and judiciary at the local hearing centres can work independently on the contested financial proceedings.

Full story: Family Law

Council sending section 20 cases to legal planning meetings to ensure compliance

The council said its decision to get extra legal scrutiny on section 20 cases followed critical judgments by Sir James Munby.

Full story: Community Care

Munby lambasts council over "profoundly concerning" adoption case

The president of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has made scathing criticisms of Brighton & Hove City Council’s conduct in a complex adoption case.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Baby removed from parents over 'abuse' is found to have rare bruising condition

A baby who was removed from her parents when they were accused of abusing her has a rare condition which causes "easy bruising".

Full story: ITV News

Exclusive: Family Law Café goes live with lawyer ‘mentors’ to help clients navigate their cases

A novel online family law service that uses experienced lawyers to mentor and manage clients through the legal process has gone live.

Full story: Legal Futures

Charlie Gard case: Ministers rule out intervening in court decision

Ministers have ruled out intervening in the case of a sick baby after a High Court judge ruled doctors could withdraw his life support.

Full story: BBC News

Online divorce prototype proving 'extremely successful'

Prototype has been in operation since January 2017.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Mrs Owens takes divorce refusal to Supreme Court

Petitioner’s silk hopes justices find workable solution that reflects modern thinking.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Government to investigate how foster care can be improved

The Department for Education has launched a stocktake and consultation on current foster care provision and how it can be improved.

Full story: Community Care

Three in five people think that civil partnerships should be available to all

Populus survey suggests popular support for extension of civil partnership.

Full story: Family Law Week

Prisons and Courts Bill dropped

The Prisons and Courts Bill was today dropped ahead of the dissolution of Parliament as MPs prepare for June’s general election.

Full story: Legal Futures

Judge criticises council’s failure to support ‘intimidated’ social worker

Inexperienced practitioner exaggerated threat posed to his own family by father he was working with, court hears.

Full story: Community Care

Paid McKenzie Friends “play on uncertainty and victimhood” of separating fathers

‘Professional’ paid McKenzie Friends associated with fathers’ rights groups play on their “uncertainty and sense of victimhood” to attract business, academic research has found, saying that there needed to be a code of conduct and a greater role for law school clinics in their place.

Full story: Legal Futures

Child abuse victims 'let down by system' children's commissioner claims

Children who are the victims of child abuse are being let down by the system, with professionals often failing to pick up signs of abuse, England's children's commissioner has said.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Online divorce service goes to pilot

East Midlands court provides testing ground for new service from HMCTS.

Full story: UKAuthority

Welsh schoolgirl taken to Saudi against her will had warned school, charity says

MP says lessons should be learned from case of woman taken from Wales to Saudi Arabia and allegedly held prisoner by her father.

Full story: The Guardian

Child Support Agency case closures: June 2014 to December 2016

Quarterly experimental statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency (CSA) case closure programme from June 2014 to December 2016.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

High degree of variation in adoption decision-making across country

Number of approved adopters has almost halved in last three years.

Full story: Family Law Week

Pinball kids: report highlights difficulties for children ‘bouncing around’ the care system

One in ten children in care experience two or more changes in placement.

Full story: Family Law Week

Joint targeted area inspections announced to protect children at risk of neglect

New framework and guidance published.

Full story: Family Law Week

Concerns over major drop in adopter recruitment

More needs to be done to attract suitable adoptive parents for children with complex needs amid a sharp drop in recruitment, an influential body set up by the government to drive through adoption reform has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Care applications in March 2017

In March 2017, Cafcass received a total of 1288 care applications.  This figure represents a 4.3% increase compared with those received in March 2016.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In March 2017, Cafcass received a total of 3,907 new private law cases. This is a 16% increase on March 2016 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Lord chancellor to face damages claim after judge's 'gross' error

The lord chancellor will face a claim for damages after the Court of Appeal accepted a judge made errors amounting to a ‘gross and obvious irregularity’.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Judges reject US banker's claim to be a genius in divorce case

Randy Work must pay ex-wife Mandy Gray half of their fortune after the appeal court backs initial ruling that his contribution to the marriage was not exceptional.

Full story: The Guardian

Charlie Gard case: Doctors can withdraw baby's life support

Doctors can withdraw life support from a sick baby with a rare genetic condition against his parents' wishes, a High Court judge has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Fruit farmer appeals for Brexit discount on £12m divorce payout to wife

A fruit farmer who claims his fortune may have been hit hard by Brexit is fighting his ex-wife over her £12.2 million divorce payout.

Full story: Evening Standard

Samantha Baldwin 'gave children drugs'

A mother who fled with her two sons drugged them with sedatives and made allegations of abuse against their father, a judge has said.

Full story: BBC News

Ryan Giggs to argue he made 'special contribution' to wealth during marriage to estranged wife

Ryan Giggs is set to argue he made a ‘special contribution’ to the creation of wealth during his marriage, a divorce court heard.

Full story: Manchester Evening News

Rowing parents more harmful to child’s development than divorce

Arguing parents in the run up to a divorce cause greater damage to a child’s development than the separation itself, new research has shown.

Full story: iNews

Parents film children to win custody battles in bitter divorce cases

Desperate parents are increasingly resorting to filming or recording their children in an attempt to win custody in bitter divorce cases, lawyers have said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Vegan mother forced to vaccinate children in High Court ruling

Two young boys will receive routine vaccinations, in spite of their mother's wishes, after the High Court ruled that it would not be in the children's best wishes to keep them from being vaccinated.

Full story: The Telegraph

Laura Ashley boss to pay ex-wife divorce settlement of £64m

Khoo Kay Peng and Pauline Chai were involved in long-running divorce row following split after 42 years of marriage.

Full story: The Guardian

Barrister Joanna Toch announces a revolution in family law

Barrister and family law specialist Joanna Toch has launched Family Law Café, a revolutionary new concept based on her years of experience dealing with clients in this sensitive area.

Full story: ResponseSource

Gingerbread queries ‘muddled thinking’ behind Troubled Families programme

Focus of next phase will be on parental conflict and worklessness.

Full story: Family Law Week

Council to investigate social worker criticised by judge in care proceedings

A judge said a social worker appeared to be 'gunning for adoption' to parents who complained and asked for the social worker to be named.

Full story: Community Care

Adoption order numbers drop for second successive year

Government figures show the number of final adoption orders made by judges has fallen by over 300 in the past year.

Full story: Community Care

Council wins Court of Appeal case on translation costs in public law proceedings

The cost of translating court documents served in family public law proceedings may fall on one or other party depending on the circumstances and cannot be decided in a blanket manner, the Court of Appeal has said.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Report reveals rise in calls to family law by 69%

Calls to the family law sector rose by 69% in the first three months of 2017, according to a new report by Moneypenny.

Full story: Legal Futures

New Family forms in use from 6 April 2017

New and amended forms include those covering declaration of parentage, enforcement and protective orders.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Deprivation of liberty court applications double

The increase marks the latest evidence of the impact of the Supreme Court's landmark Cheshire West ruling.

Full story: Community Care

Domestic abuser must tell police if he gets a new girlfriend

Londoner Kylle Godfrey believed to be first person in England and Wales to be subject to new domestic violence disclosure scheme.

Full story: The Guardian

Third of cohabitants believed they had same rights as married couples (or did not know)

Only 14 per cent of cohabitants surveyed bought their home as tenants in common.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Appeal endorses Mubarak test for Hadkinson applications

Husband’s appeal dismissed for ‘abject failure to abide by the principles’ of court’s procedural rules.

Full story: Family Law Week

Fears for victims of domestic abuse as number of police charges plummets in one year

Figures obtained by The Independent spark concerns the criminal justice system is failing victims of violent abusers.

Full story: The Independent

SRA dismisses Law Society concerns over domestic violence referral fees

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has dismissed Law Society concerns about disciplinary sanctions imposed on a law firm that paid referral fees to a domestic violence charity.

Full story: Legal Futures

Parents of Charlie Yates raise £1.2m for pioneering treatment

A High Court judge will decide on Monday what is in his best interests.

Full story: BBC News

The Public Guardian (Fees, etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2017

These Regulations amend the Public Guardian (Fees, etc.) Regulations 2007 by amending the Schedule to change the fee for an application to register an enduring, or a lasting, power of attorney from £110 to £82, and to change the fee for a repeat application to register a lasting power of attorney from £55 to £41.

More unmarried couples with children breaking up than married couples for first time, ONS figures show

More families involving unmarried than married couples are breaking down for the first time ever in what campaigners for marriage are calling a "national tragedy", ONS figures show.

Full story: The Telegraph

Resolution says no fault divorce mustn't be shelved by Brexit

Warning comes as 600 people every day “running the gauntlet” of a divorce system that encourages conflict, says top family lawyer.

Full story: Resolution

Deaths under DoLS changes – further guidance

A Home Office Circular has now been published to accompany the Policing and Crime Act 2017 changes (including those relating to death under DoLS) coming into force on Monday 3 April 2017.

Full story: Family Law

New Chief Coroner’s Guidance on DOLS

To accompany the coming into force on 3 April of the change to the definition of 'state detention' introduced by the Policing and Crime Act 2017, the new Chief Coroner has issued new guidance – 16A – to accompany (and then supersede) the existing guidance.

Full story: Family Law

MoJ releases video on online court system

YouTube video explains the MoJ's plans.

Full story: Family Law Week

DfE publishes review of long-term placement types and outcomes

Review addresses impacts of maltreatment on children.

Full story: Family Law Week

State Pension: valuation on divorce or dissolution

The Department for Work and Pensions has updated the form which needs to be completed by each party of a divorce or dissolution in order to enable the court to decide on any State Pension to be shared.

Full story: Family Law Week

MoJ publishes legal aid statistics for October to December 2016

MIAMs and mediations both down on a year ago.

Full story: Family Law Week

Average time for disposal of care cases in 2016 falls to 26.9 weeks

The Ministry of Justice has published statistics on activity in the family courts of England and Wales in 2016 and the fourth quarter of 2016 (October to December).

Full story: Family Law Week

Family Justice Bill 2016-17

A Bill to make provision for the enforcement of Child Arrangement Orders, including times within which enforcement action must take place; to establish a presumption in favour of shared parenting under Child Arrangement Orders; and to make provision for a commission to review and make recommendations on the operation of family justice; and for connected purposes.

Full story: UK Parliament Website

Domestic abuse should be punished more severely than non-domestic, judges told

New advice to judges says offences in domestic context are more serious because such incidents are rarely one-off.

Full story: The Guardian

Parents' court fight over taking son, 5, to country suffering terror attacks

A father insisted on taking his five-year-old son to a conflict-riven country to visit relatives in defiance of the child’s mother, who was terrified he would be placed at serious risk.

Full story: The Telegraph

Watchdog finds £3bn in child support arrears may never be collected

Results follow National Audit Office’s examination of winding up former Child Support Agency and its replacement by new Child Maintenance Service.

Full story: The Guardian

Council fails to inform agencies when mother removes children from UK without father’s consent

Somerset Council asked to pay father's expenses to return them.

Full story: Family Law Week

Interim research findings on divorce law published

Interim findings from research exploring how the current divorce law works in practice have been published today (24 March 2017).

Full story: Family Law

Expert representation essential in CoP – Bourns

Vulnerable people must always have expert representation in welfare cases, the Law Society has said, unveiling a mental capacity accreditation scheme for solicitors serving the Court of Protection.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

‘Desperately unhappy’ Mrs Owens refused divorce

Munby P laments ‘hypocrisy and lack of intellectual honesty’ of current law.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

High Court reserves judgment in DOLS funding test case

The High Court has reserved judgment in a case brought by four councils over government finance for work connected with deprivation of liberty safeguards.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Owens v Owens verdict 'underlines urgent need for no fault divorce'

The Court of Appeal has today (24 March) dismissed Mrs Owens' appeal in the defended divorce case, effectively saying that she must remain married to her husband.

Full story: Resolution

Family court transparency plans fall short: new research from Cardiff University

Judges struggle to find time to publish judgments safely.

Full story: Family Law Week

Second Reading of Civil Partnership 2004 (Amendment) Bill deferred to 12 May 2017

The Bill, if enacted, would amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to extend the availability of civil partnership to opposite gender couples.

Full story: Family Law Week

No power for Court of Protection to order care plan changes

Challenges to care-funding plans should be heard in Administrative Court.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Lord Wilson: Prenups ‘may need further attention’

Contrasting views from Radmacher and Law Commission underline need for government review.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Impact of Brexit on legal services “a cause for concern”, justice committee says

The justice select committee has described the impact of Brexit on legal services as “a cause for concern, but not hyberbole”, in a report published today.

Full story: Legal Futures

Funds crisis pushes more children into care - report

More children are being taken into care, some unnecessarily, because councils in England cannot afford to intervene earlier, a report suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Unpaid child maintenance backlog in UK is £3.8bn

There is a UK backlog of more than £3.8bn in uncollected child maintenance payments, figures have revealed.

Full story: BBC News

Lords warn leaving EU legal framework poses risks for cross-border cases

Justice sub-committee says alternatives should be in place before walking away from reciprocal regulations.

Full story: The Guardian

Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill due to have Second Reading on 24 March 2017

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill is due to have its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 24 March 2017. The Bill, if enacted, would amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to extend the availability of civil partnership to opposite sex couples.

Full story: Family Law Week

Local authority alert sees family barrister fined over data security failings

A senior family law and Court of Protection barrister has been fined £1,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office for failing to keep clients’ sensitive personal information secure.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2017

These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010, to ensure that applicants for certain orders do not, in person, hand over papers to respondents.

Statutory Instrument

Supreme Court to decide whether commissioning body can oust Court of Protection’s jurisdiction

Commissioning group unwilling to fund home contact.

Full story: Family Law Week

Schemes allowing direct instruction of barristers are working well, BSB’s review finds

Family Law one of the areas for which Public Access is most commonly used.

Full story: Family Law Week

Inclusion of earnings from ‘special occupations’ in the 2012 child maintenance scheme

The House of Commons Library has published a research briefing providing information about child support and earnings from certain "special occupations".

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge rules boy must be taught in Islamic faith school against wishes of father

A father who described himself as an “Anglo-Saxon” atheist has lost a legal battle to prevent his ex-wife from sending their son to an Islamic secondary school.

Full story: The Independent

Carolyn Hilder appointed Senior Judge of the Court of Protection

Carolyn Hilder has been appointed a Circuit Judge, deployed to the South Eastern Circuit, and will be based at the Court of Protection, London, where she will preside as Senior Judge of the Court of Protection.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court emphasises the limited circumstances in which courts may interfere with testator’s wishes

The Supreme Court has allowed the charities' appeal in Ilott v The Blue Cross and others [2017] UKSC 17. The judgment emphasises the limited circumstances in which the court will interfere with an individual's wishes when making a will.

Full story: Family Law Week

Same gender couples shun religious marriage ceremonies

Figures published latest marriages in England and Wales statistics from the ONS.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Judge slams council over poor quality social work assessments

Justice MacDonald found Cheshire East council’s risk assessments of potential carers for an 11-month-old girl were unusable.

Full story: Community Care

Council complains about conduct of solicitor in public law care proceedings

A local authority is reported to have complained about the conduct of a solicitor who represented the father of the youngest child in care proceedings while having “some sort of relationship” with the mother’s brother.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

People with dementia and learning difficulties detained in care without checks due to 'failing' law, says Law Commission

Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty report published by  Law Commission recommends replacing DoLS with a new scheme, called the Liberty Protection Safeguards.

Full story: Family Law

Ex-wife of Laura Ashley boss wants £100m for 'equal contribution' to marriage

A 70-year-old former beauty queen embroiled in a divorce cash battle with a millionaire Laura Ashley boss says she made an equal contribution to generating wealth by being a "traditional" wife.

Full story: Aol.

Munby: ‘judges should not have to justify themselves’

The most senior family judge has stepped into the controversy over press attacks on the judiciary, telling solicitors that judges should not have to justify their rulings – while conjuring a dystopian vision of judges being hauled on to Newsnight to defend themselves.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Care applications in January 2017

In February 2017, Cafcass received a total of 1,134 care applications.  This figure represents an 8% decrease compared with those received in February 2016.

Full story: Cafcass

Cafcass private law demand

In February 2017, Cafcass received a total of 3,414 new private law cases. This is a 3% increase on February 2016 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

We need to rethink adoption in the social media age, says senior judge

Lord Justice McFarlane suggests too many children are being forcibly adopted and calls for a rethink of UK policy.

Full story: The Guardian

Trenchant comments from Cobb J in two decisions about Human Rights Act claims in care proceedings

Need for practitioners to review new or pending human rights claims attached to care proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Teenager removed from foster parents without notice

Council criticised for failing to follow statutory children’s complaints process and for delay.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children and Social Work Bill passes all its Commons stages

Bill is now awaiting Royal Assent.

Full story: Family Law Week

Forced Marriage Unit gave advice in 1,428 cases in 2016

Over 40 per cent of cases related to Pakistan.

Full story: Family Law Week

Extra £20m pledged in budget for battle against domestic violence

Government marks International Women’s Day with measures including greater help for parents returning to work.

Full story: The Guardian

Estranged couple fight 'phenomenal' High Court divorce battle over £500k holiday home

An estranged couple has settled a bitter row over their £500,000 holiday home in a “Titanic” High Court battle in London.

Full story: Evening Standard

Government plans for domestic abuse victims a ‘bizarre dichotomy’

Spring Budget pledge comes weeks after proposals to cut fees paid to criminal court appointees.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Supreme Court considers pension equality for surviving spouses of same-sex couples

On 8 March 2017 the Supreme Court began hearing an appeal as to whether a male employee is entitled to require a pension fund to pay a surviving spouse's pension to his civil partner or husband on the same basis that such a pension would be payable if he were married to a woman.

Full story: Family Law Week

Police pensions: transfer values and pension sharing on divorce

HM Government Actuary's Department has published documents covering non-club transfer values and pension sharing on divorce in the 1987, 2006 and 2015 police pension schemes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Wife in divorce battle over holiday house tells High Court 'village isn't big enough for both of us'

A woman embroiled in a divorce fight over a holiday house told the High Court "the village isn't big enough for both of us".

Full story: The Telegraph

New European Union returns policies ‘put children at risk’

Children’s charities emphasise express concern at ‘swift returns’ initiative.

Full story: Family Law Week

Council’s use of special guardianship order criticised in serious case review

Agencies allowed a desire for a special guardianship placement to be successful obstruct child protection processes.

Full story: Community Care

Parents 'should decide' care of baby

The parents of a seven-month-old baby who are challenging doctors in court to keep him on life support say they deserve the right to judge his care.

Full story: BBC News

Litigation friend referral form for Children Act public law cases

The Official Solicitor's office has updated the form for solicitors to provide additional information about a protected party, if the Official Solicitor is asked to be a litigation friend in Children Act public law cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

Men 'bullied' out of generous divorce settlements by breadwinning wives

Men are being awarded more generous divorce payouts with some also receiving ongoing payments from their ex-wives, lawyers say.

Full story: The Telegraph

The Law Society publishes practice note on legal professional privilege

Practice note sets out practitioners’ duties and clarifies main principles.

Full story: Family Law Week

Scotland to criminalise emotional abuse and neglect of children

Government will consult on legislation later this year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Tracing birth parents by Facebook for service in adoption proceedings

Holman J: Facebook is a 'useful tool in the armoury'.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court applies Re J [2013] UKSC 9 in Scottish threshold case

Parents win appeal against ‘deficient’ threshold determination.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parents battle doctors to keep baby on life support

The parents of a six-month-old baby are challenging doctors in court to keep their son on life support.

Full story: BBC News

Economist calls for the introduction of no-fault divorce in England and Wales

This week’s Economist calls for the introduction of no-fault divorce in England and Wales.

Full story: Resolution

Domestic abuse survivors will be allowed to register to vote anonymously to protect them from their attackers

The rules will be relaxed after criticism that it is too difficult for abuse victims to keep their names and addresses secret – putting them at further risk.

Full story: The Independent

Government scraps controversial social care exemptions plan

Department for Education confirms exemption clauses will be removed from Children and Social Work Bill.

Full story: Community Care

Using the EU Maintenance Regulation to overcome pension sharing problem

Article 7 employed to overcome jurisdictional difficulty.

Full story: Family Law Week

Over half of care leavers ‘staying put’ with their foster carers

Applications to be foster carers have fallen by a third.

Full story: Family Law Week

SRA publishes family law research

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published independent research exploring the experiences of potentially vulnerable people using family law services.

Full story: Solicitors Regulation Authority

ALC publishes response to Cafcass / ADCS agreement

Agreement ‘does not respect the independent role of the Children’s Guardian’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social worker loses appeal against judge’s decision to name her

A social worker had been criticised for changing reports and then denying it in care proceedings.

Full story: Community Care

Children's charity Coram calls for task force to secure children's rights as Britain leaves the EU

With Brexit at the forefront of the national agenda, Coram, the country’s first children’s charity, is calling on the government to take pro-active steps to advance the rights of children now and in the future.

Full story: Family Law

Children in UK's poorest areas 10 times more likely to go into care

Study finds one in 60 children taken into care in most deprived areas compared with one in 660 in the wealthiest.

Full story: The Guardian

City trader who earned £10m in bonuses fights to slash her husband’s divorce payoff by £1.5m

A former City trader who made millions in bonuses working in the energy market is fighting to have her divorce settlement to her ex-husband cut by £1.5 million to £1.2 million.

Full story: Evening Standard

Removal of harsh evidence tests will help domestic violence victims

The removal of a 5-year time limit on evidence of abuse which prevents vulnerable victims of domestic violence from obtaining legal aid for court hearings has been welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales.

Full story: Family Law

Tribute paid by Sir James Munby to Sir Nicholas Wall

The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has paid tribute to the former President, Sir Nicholas Wall, who died last week.

Full story: Family Law Week

High Court rules against sharia-only divorce claim

The Family Division of the High Court has ruled against a man who claimed his marriage could only be dissolved under sharia, and that his wife must travel to Pakistan for a divorce.

Full story: National Secular Society

HRA claims and concurrent care proceedings

Third party costs orders, statutory charge guidance and an invitation to the Lord Chancellor.

Full story: Family Law Week

Resolution response to Prisons and Courts Bill

Resolution, the biggest national organisation of family lawyers, has issued a response to today's Prisons and Courts Bill. The Bill was unveiled today by Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss.

Full story: Family Law

MOJ publishes research on the cross-examination of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses in private family law

The Ministry of Justice has today (23 February 2017) published a report on the cross-examination of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses in private family law.

Full story: Family Law

The Court of Protection (Amendment) Rules 2017

These Rules amend the Court of Protection Rules 2007 in two respects.

Council criticised over death of child on special guardianship order

A children's services department has been criticised for a raft of failures in their handling of the case of an 18-month-old girl, who was murdered after being placed with a family member through a special guardianship order.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Consultation launched on draft Practice Direction 3AA

Vulnerable persons: participation in proceedings and giving evidence.

Full story: Family Law Week

Courts to ban cross-examination of victims by abusers

Domestic abusers will no longer be able to cross-examine their former partners in family courts in England and Wales, the justice secretary is to announce.

Full story: BBC News

Legal aid shakeup hands lifeline to domestic violence victims

Removal of five-year limit for applications follows vow by prime minister to increase domestic abuse prosecutions.

Full story: The Guardian

Relate puts pioneering online divorce project on hold

A project to create the first online dispute resolution system for divorcing and separating couples in the UK has been put on hold, Legal Futures has been told.

Full story: Legal Futures

Bill requiring government to ratify Istanbul Convention to have report stage on 24 February

Government expected to table amendments.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court finds that minimum income rules for foreign spouses are lawful in principle

Children’s Commissioner responds to judgment.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social workers advised to visit homes for six months in suspected abuse cases

Social workers should consider home visits for at least six months if there are suspicions that a child is being abused or neglected, new guidance has suggested.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Businessman 'repeatedly lied' during evidence in cash battle with estranged wife

A High Court judge has concluded a businessman dubbed ''Africa's youngest billionaire'' by journalists lied during the latest stage of a cash battle with his estranged wife.

Full story: Aol.

Judge describes man in divorce case as ‘unattractive witness’ who tried to ‘bully the court’

A businessman embroiled in a High Court cash fight with his estranged wife tried to ‘fall back on his dyslexia and Asperger’s’ when the going got tough during a trial, a judge has said.

Full report: Metro

Heterosexual couple lose civil partnership challenge

A heterosexual couple have lost their Court of Appeal battle for the right to enter into a civil partnership instead of a marriage.

Full story: BBC News

Family judge condemns 2,000-page bundle

A family judge has expressed his disapproval at the ‘unwarranted expenditure’ in a case where a local authority breached Article 8 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights by taking an infant into care.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

76 projects to share £20 million fund to support domestic violence victims

Seventy-six projects across the country will receive a share of £20 million to support victims of domestic abuse.

Full story: Family Law Week

Prime Minister's plans to transform the way we tackle domestic violence and abuse

Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans for a major programme of work leading towards bringing forward a Domestic Violence and Abuse Act.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Government announces new funding to tackle child sexual abuse and child trafficking

Centre of Expertise to be launched.

Full story: Family Law Week

New research identifies impact of shortened care proceedings

Fewer care orders and placement orders made; more special guardianship and supervision orders.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic abuse victims wait nearly two years for compensation

Criminal injuries payouts delayed by almost double the time advised by charter, Ministry of Justice data show.

Full story: The Guardian

Court of Protection holds first public hearing under transparency pilot

The Court of Protection has started its first public hearing under its transparency pilot.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Parliamentary Group on Children of Alcoholics launches manifesto

Group calls for national strategy to counter ‘Britain's biggest secret scandal’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Kirkless council breached parents’ human rights by removing baby

Council ordered to pay £11,250 after removing week-old baby over father’s ‘unorthodox views’ about benefits of formula milk.

Full story: The Guardian

Guidance issued on DoLS and intensive care after landmark ruling

The judgment held that “in general” there could be no deprivation of liberty under human rights law when a person is receiving lifesaving treatment.

Full story: Community Care

Work done by social workers ‘marginalised’ in court, council says

A council also reported that a rise in legal challenges to placement orders was contributing to adoption delays.

Full story: Community Care

‘Helen Archer’ law must not forget alleged abusers

Barrister condemns routine use of terminology that fails to acknowledge presumption of innocence.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Government rebuffs latest calls for no-fault divorce

Widespread calls to reform divorce laws appear to be falling on deaf ears after the government confirmed it has no current plans to change existing legislation.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

University professor’s challenge to the validity of his 16 year marriage fails

Court of Appeal applies ‘presumption of marriage’ to Syrian couple’s relationship.

Full story: Family Law Week

Doctors can end life-support for baby 'with only weeks to live', judge rules

High court judge says stopping ‘invasive’ treatment is in baby’s best interests despite her parents’ objections.

Full story: The Guardian

ADCS and Cafcass agree on ways social workers can collaborate during proceedings

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services and Cafcass have struck an agreement on how social workers in both local authorities and those acting as guardians in family proceedings can better work together during care proceedings and pre-proceedings in the family courts.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Woman seeks to end 39-year marriage in Valentine's Day court appeal

Tini Owens is appealing against judge’s ‘extraordinarily unusual’ refusal to grant her a divorce last year.

Full story: The Guardian

Divorcees don't need to afford lifestyle they were accustomed to in marriage, Court of Appeal judge says as he rules against ex-wife

Divorcees do not need to be able to afford the lifestyle they were accustomed to in marriage, a Court of Appeal judge has suggested as he rejected an ex-wife’s bid to increase her settlement.

Full story: The Telegraph

Divorced parents who pit children against former partners 'guilty of abuse'

Divorced parents who "brainwash" their children against ex-partners are guilty of “abuse”, the head of the agency that looks after youngsters' interests in family courts has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Violent abusers to be prevented from cross-examining ex-partners in court

Domestic violence victims will no longer face the threat of being interrogated by their former partners in court under proposed legislation.

Full story: The Observer

Munby to step down next year

The most senior family judge in England and Wales, renowned among practitioners for his outspoken views, is to step down next year.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Cafcass private law demand

In January 2017, Cafcass received a total of 3,356 new private law cases. This is a 17% increase on January 2016 levels.

Full story: Cafcass

Care applications in January 2017

In January 2017, Cafcass received a total of 1,119 care applications.  This figure represents a 7% increase compared with those received in January 2016.

Full story: Cafcass

High demand requires exceptional collaboration between local authorities and Cafcass

New agreement launched by ADCS and Cafcass aims to strengthen working together for children facing the care system.

Full story: Family Law Week

Munro withdraws backing for ‘dangerous’ social care exemptions plan

Leading child protection expert says she fears measures in Children and Social Work Bill will create more dangers than benefits.

Full story: Community Care

MPs ignore severe child protection warnings from large body of experts, says Together for Children

Campaign group publishes synopsis of expert advice.

Full story: Family Law Week

DWP reports on progress with Child Support Agency case closure programme

CSA caseload has reduced from 1.5 million to 1.1 million cases.

Full story: Family Law Week