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