History to be made in the Supreme Court on 3 October

Next month, for the first time, an appeal will be heard in the Supreme Court before a majority of female Justices.

Full story: Family Law Week

Resolution heralds ‘landmark moment' for divorce law

Resolution has welcomed the news that the government intends to introduce no-fault divorce, and says the change will reduce conflict among separating couples.

Full story: Family Law Week

New figures show welcome rise in men reporting domestic abuse to the police: ManKind Initiative

Reporting of incidents has doubled in five years.

Full story: Family Law Week

One in four children in need of protection who left the UK continued to be at risk of abuse or neglect

CFAB publishes new research into international children and families cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorce rate for newly married couples halves in 25 years

The number of couples divorcing after three years of marriage has dropped by half over the last 25 years, according to new research.

Full story: The Independent

Law Commission proposes radical reforms for leaseholds of houses and flats

Reforms designed to secure a better deal for leaseholders who want to purchase the freehold or to extend the lease of their home.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorcing man told: You can’t pay your lawyers without paying your wife’s

The husband in a divorce dispute cannot pay his lawyers a pound without paying a pound to his wife’s solicitors, the High Court has ruled.

Full story: Legal Futures

Councils using 'hundreds of thousands of people's data to try and predict child abuse'

Councils are said to be using hundreds of thousands of people's data to try and predict child abuse, it has emerged.

Full story: The Telegraph

Domestic abuse victims turning to civil courts because police are failing to enforce law

Domestic abuse victims are increasingly turning to the civil courts for protection because the police are failing to enforce the law of coercive control, it has emerged.

Full story: The Telegraph

Male domestic abuse: Not enough support for victims, says charity

Male domestic abuse victims are suffering a lack of support despite a sharp rise in attacks, a charity said.

Full story: BBC News

“When a child won't see one parent”

Cafcass is developing a "High Conflict Practice Pathway" to help Cafcass practitioners to "systematically assess cases which feature adult behaviours associated with high conflict."

Full story: Family Law Week

Latest Private law children cases received

The latest Cafcass private law demand statistics show that in August 2018, Cafcass received a total of 4,019 new private law children cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

“From inadequate to outstanding, from paper to cloud”

Insights into how Cafcass workers have harnessed use of new technology.

Full story: Family Law Week

Justice Secretary confirms plans to reduce conflict in divorce

Couples wishing to divorce will soon benefit from a less confrontational process, under proposals confirmed by the Justice Secretary David Gauke.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Number of children in care for emotional abuse soars

Conference will explore whether ‘risk of emotional harm’ is reason to intervene.

Full story: The Guardian

Government releases plans for family law in event of a “no-deal” Brexit

Yesterday the Government published the first of its guidance dealing with justice matters in the event of the UK leaving the EU with “no deal” on 29 March 2019.

Full story: Family Law

Less than one in five children initially placed in family or friend care, research finds

Some areas had as few as 11% of children's initial placements with family or friend carers.

Full story: Community Care

The International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance 2007) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

This Statutory Instrument (SI) to be made under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 will ensure that the UK is ready, after EU Exit, to apply the 2007 Hague Convention on the international recovery of maintenance.

Statutory Instrument

Care applications fall 5.7 per cent over two years

The number of applications for children to be taken into care is continuing to fall, official statistics show.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Council apologises to mother over unlawful restrictions on contact with children

Cumbria County Council has apologised to a mother who had unlawful restrictions placed on her level of contact with her three children, it has been reported.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

System failing LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse, new report warns

LGBT+ victims almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mother jailed for abducting daughters to USA

A British mother has admitted abducting her two children and moving to Alaska to live with her new partner without their father's permission.

Full story: BBC News

40,100 family-based arrangements set up in year to January 2018 after speaking to Child Maintenance Options

92% still in place by March 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week

Existing court powers must be used to boost mediation numbers: NFM

NFM publish submission to LASPO post-implementation review.

Full story: Family Law Week

World Cup 2018: Rise in domestic abuse reports, say police

There was a "significant rise" in domestic abuse reports during the World Cup, the lead officer for football policing in England and Wales has said.

Full story: BBC News

Couples Will Be Allowed No-Fault Divorces In Plans To Be Unveiled By The Government

Couples will be allowed no-fault divorces and spouses will lose the right to contest the breakdown of a marriage under proposals for an historic overhaul of the law being drawn up by the government.

Full story: BuzzFeed News

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill would weaken DOLS: Law Society

Briefing states that the Bill ‘is not fit for purpose’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Open letter urges withdrawal of key parts of new ‘myth busting’ guide about England’s care system

50 organisations and social work experts write to Children Minister.

Full story: Family Law Week

Deputy High Court Judges appointed

The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Burnett of Maldon, has appointed 32 Deputy High Court Judges, under section 9(4) of the Senior Courts Act 1981, for a single fixed four-year term.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Protection costs ordered after conduct 'verging on arrogance'

A Court of Protection judge has taken the unusual step of ordering costs against local authorities that caused a woman to be trapped in limbo for years waiting for her case to be resolved.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Revealed: cash crisis pushing child services to tipping point

Fears of new case like Baby P’s as ministers told emergency funds are needed to protect thousands of vulnerable children.

Full story: The Observer

Unmarried NI mother wins access to widowed parent's allowance after death of her partner

Mother's appeal against a Court of Appeal decision that s39A of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 was not incompatible with article 14 read with article 8 ECHR or the protection of property rights in Article 1 of the First Protocol (A1P1) was allowed.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Commons to hold debate on LASPO and the post-implementation review

Briefing prepared for the debate on 4 September.

Full story: Family Law Week

Repatriation of victims of forced marriage: FOI release

In 2017, 27 of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit's cases involved the repatriation of victims from abroad.

Full story: Family Law Week

Emma Thompson film prompts independent advocacy call

Today's release of the film adaptation of author Ian McEwan's novel The Children Act, starring Oscar-winning Emma Thompson as a High Court judge, has prompted a children's charity to call for the mandatory provision of independent advocates for children.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Legal bloggers allowed to report on family proceedings

Five years after former family division president Sir James Munby highlighted a pressing need for greater transparency in the family justice system, the government and judiciary are to allow certain 'legal bloggers' to report on proceedings.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Mr Justice Hayden appointed as Vice-President of the Court of Protection

Mr Justice Hayden has been appointed as Vice-President of the Court of Protection by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, following consultation with the Lord Chancellor.

Full story: Court of Protection Hub

Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics: June 2018

Quarterly statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency (CSA) child support schemes to June 2018.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Overall ‘cost of a child’ is £150,753 for a couple

CPAG’s Cost of a Child in 2018 report released.

Full story: Family Law Week

Institutional neglect: 50,000 children in care where council services are failing

Social Market Foundation accuses politicians of ignoring “silent crisis” in care services.

Full story: Family Law Week

Rise in deathbed weddings prompts call to protect cohabiting couples

Charities say many cohabiters mistakenly believe they have same rights as married couples.

Full story: The Guardian

Man and woman charged with FGM of three-year-old girl

Two people have appeared at Thames Magistrates' Court charged with the female genital mutilation (FGM) of a three-year-old girl.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic abuse victims increasingly refused right to remain in UK

FOI request reveals doubling of refusals between 2012 and 2016.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorcing couples admit to ‘exaggerating’ foul play

Slater and Gordon survey finds that 30 per cent ‘bend truth’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Financial order reforms set to boost unfairly treated former partners and families

The Government has agreed to improve the enforcement of financial orders, in response to a Law Commission report.

Full story: Law Commission

Civil partnerships in England and Wales: 2017

Annual statistics on formations and dissolutions of civil partnerships analysed by the sex, age, and previous marital status of the couples and the place of registration.

Full story: Office for National Statistics

Football used as scapegoat for domestic violence

Over-simplified reports risk trivialising the issue.

Full story: Family Law Week

New pilot scheme announced for easier court entrance for legal professionals

The Ministry of Justice has announced a new pilot scheme for practising legal professionals which will allow for them to get direct entrance to courts without the need to be searched.

Full story: Family Law

1,224 new care applications received by Cafcass in July

Applications 2 per cent down on a year ago.

Full story: Family Law Week

Private law cases received by Cafcass in July up 4 per cent on a year ago

3,768 new private law cases in the month.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child maintenance: new steps to improve compliance and to allow arrears to be written off

The House of Commons library has written a useful summary of recent changes to child maintenance enforcement.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Supervision orders unsuccessful in a quarter of cases, research finds

Review of 26-week care proceedings reforms underlines impact of Re B and Re B-S case law and raises questions around decision-making.

Full story: Community Care

All supported housing funding to be retained in welfare system

Housing benefit will be kept in place for all those living in supported housing, the government has announced.

Full story: GOV.UK

LSB responds to MoJ's LASPO review

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has responded to the Ministry of Justice's (MoJ) post-implementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).

Full story: Legal Services Board

Paediatricians as Expert Witnesses in the Family Courts in England and Wales: Standards, competencies and expectations

Produced by the Family Justice Council and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, this guide directs the reader to discipline specific information with regards to paediatricians as expert witnesses.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Nagalro publishes guide to Cafcass's professional time guidance

Nagalro explains its action to secure change.

Full story: Family Law Week

Defendants 'gaming system' to get domestic violence cases dropped

Complainants who do not appear at court may have been intimidated, report says.

Full story: The Guardian

Home secretary vows to take action over forced marriages

Charities warn Home Office fails to protect victims, issuing visas to abusive husbands.

Full story: The Guardian

Guidance regarding legal aid for unaccompanied and separated children

Applications should be made for Exceptional Case Funding.

Full story: Family Law Week

Russian oligarch in contempt of court over unpaid £453m divorce bill

Farkhad Akhmedov has taken elaborate steps to avoid paying ex-wife ‘one cent’, court hears.

Full story: The Guardian

Call for Government to act on domestic abuse risk under Universal Credit

The Work and Pensions Committee has warned that single household payments of Universal Credit could put claimants living with domestic abuse at risk of harm as they enable perpetrators to take charge of potentially the entire household budget, leaving survivors and their children dependent on the abusive partner for all of their basic needs.

Full story: Family Law

Solicitors' phase of online divorce pilot given green light

The solicitors' application of the online divorce pilot has been approved to go live.

Full story: Family Law

English law applies to Islamic marriage, judge rules in divorce case

Husband tried to block divorce petition, arguing couple were married only under sharia law.

Full story: The Guardian

Child maintenance arrangements made after speaking to CM Options, March 2018

Child maintenance outcomes for parents that have spoken to Child Maintenance (CM) Options.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Sir Andrew McFarlane becomes President of the Family Division

Sir Andrew McFarlane has been appointed President of the Family Division, following the retirement of Sir James Munby.

Full story: Family Law

Financial consent orders can now be filed online

On Monday 6 August 2018 the family courts will take another step towards becoming digital. From that date applications for consent orders in family court financial proceedings can be filed online rather than delivery to a physical court office.

Full story: Family Law

Divorce reform could follow in wake of Owens v Owens

Ministry of Justice says it is already ‘looking closely’ at reforms to the divorce system after the Supreme Court ruled that a 68-year-old woman must remain married to her husband.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

President’s Circular: Financial Remedies Court Pilot Phase 2

Following the successful initiation of the Financial Remedies Court project in the West Midlands (part), centred at Birmingham, I am pleased to announce a further roll-out of the pilot, albeit for the time being in modified form.

Full story: Family Law

Ask the public if they want to Skype the judge - Munby

Members of the public should be asked if they want to go to a physical court building or talk to the judge via Skype from their kitchen, the outgoing family division president has suggested.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Pilot Practice Direction 36I – Procedure for online filing of certain applications for consent orders for a financial remedy in connection with matrimonial proceedings

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 36, rule 36.2 (Transitional Arrangements and Pilot Schemes).

Full story: Family Law

Practice Direction Amendments to PD9A, PD12B and PD27A

The Ministry of Justice have published a Practice Direction Amendment which makes three minor changes to existing practice directions.

Full story: Family Law

Practice Guidance: Children Arbitration in the Family Court

This Guidance concerns the interface between the Family Court and Arbitrations where the parties to a private law dispute relating to the welfare of a child have agreed to submit the issues in dispute for decision by an arbitrator.

Full story: Family Law

President’s Guidance: Addition to Compendium of Standard Family Orders

The links to the three new orders (numbered 22.1, 22.2 and 22.3) to be added to the compendium of Standard Family Orders can be found below.

Full story: Family Law

Strong reaction to the Supreme Court’s Judgment in Owens v Owens

Divorce law “Unfit for purpose” claims family lawyer.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court rules woman ‘must stay married' as family law experts warn of ‘divorce crisis.'

Supreme Court rules woman ‘must stay married’ as family law experts warn of ‘divorce crisis.’

Full story: Resolution

Hale enters court closure debate with 'imaginary' scenario

The Supreme Court president has steered close to a live political controversy by citing north Yorkshire court closures in what she called an imaginary scenario of lack of access to justice.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

What's more important: judicial titles or ending cross-examination abuse, Munby blasts

The government is once again on the receiving end of a no-holds-barred speech by a judge.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

New Judicial Protocol for Children’s Cases in Scotland, and England and Wales

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division in England & Wales, and Lord Carloway, head of the Scottish judiciary, have agreed a new judicial protocol, which will provide for the direct exchange of information between judges in intra-UK cross-border cases involving children.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

President’s Guidance: Arrangements for adoption visits

Guidance from the President of the Family Division.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

More must be done to protect women and girls from violence, equality body warns

Equality and Human Rights Commission submits report to UN.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ministry of Justice extends pilot version of online divorce system until March 2019

The Ministry of Justice have released a pilot practice direction 36E which will come into effect on 30 July 2018 and will extend the current pilot version of the online divorce system until 29 March 2019.

Full story: Family Law

FGM Bill receives second reading

Bill would enable interim care orders in FGM cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

New pilot PD 36H for FGM and Forced Marriage Protection Orders

The Ministry of Justice are launching a new pilot Practice Direction 36H on Moday 23 July, applying to FGM and Forced Marriage protection orders (and variation, extension and discharge thereof).

Full story: Family Law

There's still no end in sight, says 'winning' husband in Mills v Mills

The ‘meal ticket’ phrase has long been loathed by family law specialists who see it as lazy journalism to describe a complex and nuanced area of their practice. But there was little comfort from this week’s Supreme Court ruling in Mills v Mills, trailed as the case that might do away with periodical payments for good.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Woman awarded £100k after husband's death mid-divorce

A woman whose husband was killed in the midst of the pair's divorce has been awarded more than £100,000 in damages.

Full story: BBC News

MPs cast severe doubt on court modernisation

MPs on the public accounts committee (PAC) said today that they have “little confidence” that the court modernisation programme can be delivered.

Full story: Legal Futures

Bar Council launches ‘LASPO: 5 years on’ survey

Participation of the Family Bar sought.

Full story: Family Law Week

Private Members Bill seeks to force review of divorce law

Baroness Butler-Sloss, former President of the Family Division, is sponsoring the Bill.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Supreme Court decision in Owens v Owens to be handed down next week

Judgment in wife's high profile appeal against refusal to grant a divorce on behaviour grounds will be handed down Wednesday 25th July.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Next President of the Family Division among family lawyers honoured at LALYs

The incoming President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, was awarded the Outstanding Achievement award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2018 (LALYs).

Full story: Family Law

Chronic lack of secure accommodation demands urgent action, judge reminds government

Court told 'very serious' ongoing secure unit beds backlog means councils are unable to make adequate plans for extremely vulnerable young people.

Full story: Community Care

Husband wins Supreme Court appeal against order to pay all wife’s rental costs

First instance judge was entitled to decline to vary periodical payments order.

Full story: Family Law Week

Accommodation under s 20 agreement was lawful without parents’ informed consent

Parents’ appeal fails in Supreme Court.

Full story: Family Law Week

Joint call for urgent ban on cross-examination of domestic abuse victims by alleged perpetrators

Resolution, The Law Society and Women’s Aid have issued a joint call to the Government to urgently bring forward promised legislation banning the cross-examination of domestic abuse victims by alleged perpetrators in the family courts.

Full story: Family Law

Latest HCCH Judges Newsletter on International Child Protection focuses on the voice of the child

The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) has published Vol XXII of the Judge's Newsletter on International Child Protection.

Full story: Family Law

Implementation of Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 delayed indefinitely

The Government has confirmed that implementation of the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 has been delayed indefinitely.

Full story: Family Law

Courts Service to up the ante on digital divorce and probate

The next year of the court modernisation programme will see digital end-to-end services for divorce, probate, and money claims for under £10,000, according to HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

Full story: Legal Futures

Online note published on Habitual Residence and the Scope of the 1993 Hague Convention

Available in English, French and Spanish.

Full story: Family Law Week

Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) (Sibling Couples) Bill begins parliamentary passage

Second reading scheduled for 20 July.

Full story: Family Law Week

Commons to debate progress on protecting victims of domestic abuse in the family courts

House of Commons Library publishes research briefing.

Full story: Family Law Week

Commons Select Committee examines Domestic Abuse Bill

On 17 July 2018 the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee will hear from experts on what measures should be included in the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Full story: Family Law Week

Separated migrant children to be granted legal aid

MoJ written statement follows judicial review of legal aid cuts.

Full story: Family Law Week

Banker's wife whose husband took mistress to his office party wins right to divorce him in England

A multi-millionaire banker's wife who found out her husband had taken his mistress to his office party has won the right to divorce him in England.

Full story: The Telegraph

Supreme Court judgment in Mills due next week

The Supreme Court will hand down judgment in the case of Mills v Mills next Wednesday, 18th July.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Supreme Court to rule next week on use of section 20 Children Act

The Supreme Court will next week hand down a key ruling on the lawfulness of a council's accommodation of children under section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Government U-turn on child maintenance avoidance is “welcome but not enough”

The government’s new child maintenance strategy shows it is listening to the concerns raised by Gingerbread and single parents, but still leaves question marks as to whether the Child Maintenance Service is fit for purpose.

Full story: Gingerbread

Home Office ordered to pay £50,000 after child separated from father

High court says parent placed in immigration detention illegally and daughter nearly placed for adoption.

Full story: The Guardian

'More law firm donations' needed to save pioneering drug court scheme

A Manchester boutique is hoping more firms will follow its lead and pledge £12,500 for three years to safeguard the future of a pioneering substance-abuse problem-solving court scheme to show government ministers that the legal profession is willing to put is money where its mouth is.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Vulnerable children at risk due to social care 'postcode lottery', MPs warn

Children's safety is being put at risk due to differing thresholds across England for intervening and offering support to families, a report by a group of MPs and peers has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Court of Protection application and appeal fees reduced

The Court of Protection, Civil Proceedings and Magistrates' Courts Fees (Amendment) Order 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week

Justice Committee calls for changes to Sentencing Council’s guidelines on child cruelty offences

The Justice Select Committee has made a number of observations regarding the Sentencing Council's draft guideline on child cruelty offences, including that changes should be made to the section on failure to protect.

Full story: Family Law Week

There is a newly recorded case of FGM in the UK every two hours

Much more needs to be done to support survivors of female genital mutilation and protect girls at risk, as the latest NHS statistics reveal there is a newly recorded case of FGM every two hours in the UK.

Full story: Barnardo's

Local agencies are failing to spot the signs of neglect in older children, finds report

Growing up neglected: a multi-agency response to older children.

Full story: Family Law Week

House of Commons debate on the practice of forced adoption

Research briefing to be produced for the debate.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children lawyer becomes Law Society President

Christina Blacklaws calls for legal aid to be reinstated for family cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

Two million children growing up in families where there are serious risks, says Children’s Commissioner

Million vulnerable children being let down by a system that doesn’t recognise them.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge blasts social workers’ ‘wholly inappropriate’ record-keeping in case that saw family split for six months

Council advised to look at 'significant training improvements' for social workers after withdrawing care application due to flawed evidence.

Full story: Community Care

Government introduces bill to overhaul deprivation of liberty law in bid to save councils £200m

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill will replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards with Liberty Protection Safeguards scheme designed to streamline system.

Full story: Community Care

Thousands misusing abuse orders to get legal aid, says parenting charity

Thousands of parents falsely claim domestic abuse in order to access legal aid and stop estranged partners from seeing their children, a shared parenting charity claims.

Full story: BBC News

Applications for legal aid supported by domestic or child abuse increase by 21 per cent

Applications granted rise by 14 per cent.

Full story: Family Law Week

36,000 children suffering ‘revolving door’ cycle of repeated referrals

Action for Children report spells out consequences of fall in early intervention.

Full story: Family Law Week

How local authorities should report a serious child safeguarding incident

Guidance published by Ofsted.

Full story: Family Law Week

‘Deprivation of liberty’ should be defined in law to limit caseloads and family intrusion, say MPs and peers

Parliament should legislate for a statutory definition of deprivation of liberty to limit the number of people whose restrictive care arrangements require legal authorisation because they lack capacity to consent, an influential committee of MPs and peers have said.

Full story: Community Care

Family Court Statistics Quarterly: January to March 2018

A statistical bulletin presenting statistics relating to the family courts in the first quarter of 2018 (January to March).

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Research on the domestic violence evidential requirements for legal aid

Research conducted in 2016 to 2017 investigating the barriers some victims of domestic violence face when obtaining evidence required in legal aid applications for private family law disputes.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Three new appointments to the UK's top appeal court

Lady Justice Arden DBE and Lord Justice Kitchin will join the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom as Justices on 1 October 2018, followed by Lord Justice Sales on 11 January 2019, it was announced today.

Full story: Supreme Court

Appointment of Lord and Lady Justices of Appeal 2018

The Queen has approved the appointment of three Lady Justices and four Lord Justices of Appeal.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Ban on heterosexual civil partnerships in UK ruled discriminatory

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan win bid to open up civil unions to opposite-sex couples.

Full story: The Guardian

Court in tangle after law firm ‘whistleblower’ sends it privileged material

The president of the Family Division is to be asked what the court should do in the highly unusual case of a ‘whistleblower’ from the solicitors of one party to a divorce sending it legally privileged information.

Full story: Legal Futures

Domestic abuse survivors and children sleeping rough, survey finds

Women unable to get refuge place also having to sofa-surf or stay with abuser.

Full story: The Guardian

What normal looks like: McFarlane to canvass views on parental guidance

The next family law chief could produce general guidance to help manage separated parents' expectations about child contact if he receives widespread backing from other judges when he tours England and Wales this autumn.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

‘Pennies’ will save pioneering court unit

The judge who pioneered the substance-abuse problem-solving court to help reunite families has urged the profession not to let the scheme ‘go under’ after it emerged that a national support unit set up only three years ago is to close.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

‘Big money’ cases give distorted view of divorce settlements

A new briefing paper funded by the Nuffield Foundation has found that high profile, ‘meal ticket for life’ cases have given a distorted view of final settlements in divorces.

Full story: Nuffield Foundation

Baker J rejects husband’s financial remedy claim 26 years after decree nisi

Case distinguished from Wyatt v Vince.

Full story: Family Law Week

Improved mental health support for children in care

DfE announces pilot scheme.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass chief executive Anthony Douglas to step down

Cafcass chief executive Anthony Douglas is to leave in March 2019 after more than 15 years with the organisation.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Supreme Court to deliver judgment in civil partnership case on Wednesday, 27 June

Steinfeld judgment will consider bar on different-sex couples entering into civil partnerships.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care crisis: Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC)

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division has written the following for Family Law.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Court of Appeal emphasises that time limit for care proceedings should be extended if necessary

Family Justice Council invited to draft authoritative guidance.

Full story: Family Law Week

Draft revised Practice Direction 27A – Family Proceedings: Court Bundles (Universal Practice to be applied in the High Court and Family Court)

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 27 and comes into force on 23 July 2018.

Full story: Family Law

South Yorkshire man wins protection order in forced marriage first

Police issue safeguarding order to protect male victim from honour-based abuse.

Full story: The Guardian

Child Maintenance Service: Aug 2013 to Mar 2018

Experimental statistics on child maintenance arrangements administered by the Child Maintenance Service.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Online Divorce Pilot Update

It is “The shape of things to come” says the Lord Chief Justice.

Full story: Family Law Week

Public Law applications data released

Cafcass publishes latest figures.

Full story: Family Law Week

Latest new private law cases received data

Cafcass releases figures for May 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week

Legal system of child protection is in crisis, says senior judge

Sir Andrew McFarlane speaks out as review says austerity makes it hard for services to cope in England and Wales.

Full story: The Guardian

Early years cuts 'pushing more children into care' in England

Children’s commissioner says nearly half of budget is spent on 73,000 children in care system.

Full story: The Guardian

Multi-millionaire must buy ex-wife a new house after she argued crimewave made £1m family home 'unsuitable'

A multi-millionaire has been ordered to buy his ex-wife a new house after she argued that a wave of crime has meant their £1 million home is no longer “suitable”, a high court has heard.

Full story: The Telegraph

Increase in child protection investigations, but fewer finding abuse

An increasing proportion of children are subject to official child protection investigations before their fifth birthday, despite a drop in the number of probes uncovering abuse or neglect, an academic has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Mills v Mills appeal in the Supreme Court

Judgment now awaited in this much anticipated appeal.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court delivers judgment in Northern Ireland termination of pregnancy law challenge

A majority of Supreme Court Justices concludes that the appellant did not have standing to bring the proceedings but considers that the current law in Northern Ireland is “deeply unsatisfactory”.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adoption and care rates higher in some areas

Research obtained by the BBC and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals significant variation in adoption rates across England.

Full story: BBC News

Transgender man wants to be named father

A transgender man wants to be listed as his baby's father or parent after being told he had to be named the mother because he gave birth to the child.

Full story: BBC News

Practice Guidance: Standard children and other orders

This Guidance brings to a close, at least for the time being, the Family Orders Project which I established and which has been driven forward with his usual tenacity and skill by Mr Justice Mostyn.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Children’s Commissioner calls for protection of children’s rights post-Brexit

Ministers asked to reconsider withdrawal from EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Full story: Family Law Week

No significant improvement in availability of secure accommodation for children and young persons

Official figures published for England and Wales: March 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child Support Agency case closures: June 2014 to March 2018

Quarterly experimental statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency (CSA) case closure programme from June 2014 to March 2018.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Revised Forms A, A1 and D50C released

Form A and Form A1 have been amended in discussion with members of the Financial Proceedings Working Party of the Family Procedure Rule Committee.

Full story: Family Law

Domestic abuse: ‘Make a Stand’ pledge

Pledge comprises four commitments to support people who live and work in housing who are experiencing domestic abuse.

Full story: Family Law Week

We should applaud the end of the nuclear family, says top judge

Britain should "welcome and applaud" the collapse of the nuclear family, the most senior family judge in England and Wales has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Put children at centre of government’s bid to tackle domestic abuse, urges Barnardo’s

The government is failing to see the full picture of the effects of domestic abuse on children, including its significant impact on children’s mental health, Barnardo’s has warned.

Full story: Barnardo’s

Children in care being 'pinged' around schools and homes, says report

3,000 moved home at least four times in two years, increasing risk of exclusion and grooming.

Full story: The Guardian

Teenagers and single parents 'at highest risk of domestic abuse'

Teenage girls and single parents with children are among the most likely victims of domestic abuse, official data has revealed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Mother denied chance to take her case to 'court of public opinion'

Family Division president Sir James Munby, who has long argued for allowing the ‘glare of publicity’ in to family courts, says some cases should not be debated under the public gaze, as he denied a mother the chance to take her case to the 'court of public opinion'.

Full article: Law Society Gazette

25th anniversary of the 1993 Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention celebrated

Brochure analyses the main achievements and identifies the remaining challenges.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic abusers still able to cross-examine victims in court

Survey finds 24% of survivors have faced ordeal in year since government promised to end it.

Full story: The Guardian

Second forced marriage conviction within a week

Leeds couple tricked their daughter into travelling to Bangladesh.

Full story: Family Law Week

Research review on parental alienation published

Cafcass Cymru publication provides an evidence base to guide practice.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass new board members appointment

The Secretary of State for Justice announces the appointment of 3 new board members of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass).

Full story: Ministry of Justice

First-ever Chartered Legal Executive appointed Vice Chair of Resolution

Juliet Harvey of Birketts has become the first the first Chartered Legal Executive to serve as Vice Chair of Resolution.

Full story: Resolution

New legislation will modernise the courts

The first step in legislation to modernise courts and tribunals across the country will today be introduced in the House of Lords.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Mother found guilty of forcing her daughter into marriage

Victim brought back to the UK from Pakistan.

Full story: Family Law Week

Law firm launches diploma in psychological supervision of family lawyers

A law firm in London has launched what it believes is the first training scheme in psychologically based supervision to help family lawyers manage work-related stress.

Full story: Legal Futures

MoJ study backs retention of two representatives for children in care proceedings

A government-commissioned study has concluded that children should continue to receive dual representation during care proceedings, despite increasing demands on resources.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Woman who asked court to allow disabled daughter to die changes mind

A woman who thought that her severely disabled 11-year-old daughter should be allowed to die has told a family court judge that she has changed her mind.

Full story: BBC News

Court Service to use lessons of online divorce pilot to develop digital family law service

The Courts Service has laid out how it will develop its new online divorce facility, starting with enabling lawyers to submit petitions on behalf of clients.

Full story: Legal Futures

Tandem model of child representation in pubic law proceedings is working well, finds study

Guidance as to the respective roles of solicitor and guardian may be beneficial.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family Justice Research Bulletin 7

A summary of the findings of recent research relevant to family justice.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

End the Blame Game, say family lawyers as landmark divorce case heads to Supreme Court

Senior family lawyers will gather outside Parliament today to call on Government to reform outdated divorce laws and remove the need for blame from the process.

Full story: Resolution

LGO urges councils to support special guardians as 70% of complaints upheld

Seven out of ten complaints received about the problems faced by special guardians are upheld, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) has revealed.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

President of the Family Division agrees protocol on communicating with UK Visas and Immigration in Family Proceedings

Protocol agreed between the President of the Family Division and the Home Office issued on 16 May 2018.

Full story: Family Law

Care improves life for two thirds of children, study finds

Being taken into care improves the life chances of more than two thirds of children, a study has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics: March 2018

Quarterly statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency (CSA) child support schemes up to March 2018.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Practice Guidance: Standard financial and enforcement orders (addendum no 2)

On 30 November 2017 I issued ‘Practice Guidance: Standard financial and enforcement orders’. Since then I have received a handful of representations about some of the paragraphs in these orders. In the light of them I have decided to issue the following amendments.

Full story: Family Law

Client's negligence claim over £465k divorce payout is kept alive

A property owner who tried to sue his divorce solicitors over the relief he had to pay his ex-wife has been told his case may still have a prospect of success.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Barrister ABS offers couples ‘single joint expert’ approach to divorce

Two family law barristers have set up what is believed to be the first service allowing separating couples to obtain advice from a single legal expert at any point in the process.

Full story: Legal Futures

Munby praises teenager in 'blood on our hands' case

The outgoing president of the family division has alluded to how important it is that children and young people have access to proper mental health support as he congratulated a teenager, once at risk of taking her own life, for the progress she has made in a case which he warned could have left society with 'blood on our hands'.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Civil Partnership case goes to Supreme Court today

Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan's appeal hearing due to last two days.

Full story: Family Law Week

UK plan to extend civil partnerships revealed in government report

Now-abandoned policy proposal emerges as heterosexual couple take legal fight to supreme court.

Full story: The Guardian

Wife fails in attempt to increase award of £51.4 million plus share of business assets

CoA gives weight to pre-marital agreement.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Appeal upholds decision to imprison husband in serious contempt of court

‘Disregard of the orders was motivated by resentment’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications received by Cafcass in April 6 per cent ahead of last year

1,110 care applications received.

Full story: Family Law Week

New private law cases received by Cafcass in April up 13 per cent on last year

Highest demand for the month of April in the last four years.

Full story: Family Law Week

Owens v Owens Supreme Court hearing begins 17 May

Hearing scheduled to last one day.

Full story: Family Law Week

Consultation launched on revised statutory guidance for LAs on family and friends care

Guidance includes asylum seeking children brought to UK under Dublin III Regulation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child Mental Health Green Paper is unambitious and ignores hundreds of thousands of children, say Select Committees

New “Trailblazer” pilot projects to be rolled out too slowly.

Full story: Family Law Week

More than 1,000 cases of forced marriage in UK last year, report says

Official unit says issue is hidden crime and figures may not reflect full scale of abuse.

Full story: The Guardian

Reform for the Family jurisdiction

A message to family judges from the President of the Family Division.

Full story: Family Law

Revised forms A & A1 in use from 4 June

Changes made to allow for fast track procedure.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Decline in adoptions continues, figures show

The number of adoptions continued to fall last year but the rate of decline has slowed, latest official figures show.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Family Division judge refuses council permission to withdraw care proceedings

A Family Division judge has refused an application by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to have care proceedings for child C either dismissed or withdrawn.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Delays and spiralling costs hamper MoJ's digital courts project

Audit office says full ambition of programme will ‘prove to be undeliverable in time available’.

Full story: The Guardian

Experts call for poorest to keep physical access to court

Leading judges and academics have urged the government not to abandon the principle of physical court hearings in pursuit of modernisation.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Rise in children being 'farmed out' to care homes, MP says

Ministers have been accused of breaking a promise to cut the number of children being "farmed out" to children's homes huge distances from where they live.

Full story: BBC News

MPs seek to guarantee grandparents' rights to see children

Cross-party support to enshrine children’s rights to a relationship with members of extended family.

Full story: The Guardian

Log in, break up – new ‘easy’ way to get a divorce online

Ministry of Justice website will allow couples to avoid stress of appearing in court, but worries persist over ‘trial by Skype’.

Full story: The Observer

Surrogacy laws set for reform as Law Commissions get Government backing

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission have started work on a review of the laws around surrogacy after Government funding was agreed.

Full story: Law Commission

Jon Venables: Judge rules legal challenge against killer's anonymity by James Bulger's family cannot be granted in current form

'It is not clear what the applicants want,' judge says after murdered toddler's father and uncle launch bid.

Full story: The Independent

6,500 jobs to be lost in modernisation of UK courts

Number of staff to be cut to around 10,000 by 2022 as part of £1bn overhaul of system.

Full story: The Guardian

Mother alleging abuse left alone in court after failing legal aid test

A family judge has publicly criticised the lack of funding for a woman alleging rape and sexual assault against her ex-husband, suggesting it may have resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Revised protocol published for referrals of families to child contact centres by judges and magistrates

Protocol endorsed by the President of the Family Division.

Full story: Family Law Week

Charity to launch £5m family justice research centre

A research hub that will seek to improve practice across the family justice system is to launch next year.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Judge rules diplomatic immunity is no barrier to care proceedings

Court finds high commission employee could have lost her children after physically abusing them.

Full story: Community Care

Guidance on the Capacity to Litigate in Proceedings Involving Children – April 2018

This guidance has been produced to assist judges in the Family Court to resolve mental capacity issues concerning parties to family law proceedings.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Guidance on Financial Needs on Divorce: Edition 2 – April 2018

The FJC has now published the second edition of this useful guide for the family judiciary, courts and legal advisers.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

NICE defends guidance on spotting injuries to babies after criticism from researchers

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has defended its guidance on spotting injuries to babies after criticism from researchers on television.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Divorce blame game leads to futile court battles, new study finds

Nuffield Foundation says outdated law needs a no-fault divorce option.

Full story: The Guardian

IPSO upholds complaint against Times story about Muslim fostering arrangement

Newspaper's report distorted judge’s decision.

Full story: Family Law Week

Plans announced to help children living with alcoholic parents

£6 million funding designed to help 200,000 children in England.

Full story: Family Law Week

Digitising divorce applications could save 13,000 hours of court staff time

Enabling people to apply for a divorce online could eliminate up to 13,000 hours of time spent by court staff checking divorce petitions, a senior civil servant responsible for several family justice reforms predicts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Child maintenance arrangements made after speaking to CM Options, Dec 2017

Estimates of the child maintenance outcomes for parents that have spoken to Child Maintenance (CM) Options, based on the December 2017 survey.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Queen approves appointment of President of the Family Division

HM The Queen has approved the appointment of The Rt Hon Sir Andrew McFarlane as the President of the Family Division.

Full story: Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street

Divorce should be done online in 'one stop shop', says President of Supreme Court

Couples should be able to divorce online in a "one stop shop", the President of the Supreme Court has said as she argues that blame should be take out of the process as it is "unjust" and "discriminatory".

Full story: The Telegraph

Parents facing 'unfair child abuse claims' over bruising

Parents are being investigated for possible child abuse because of the misinterpretation of guidelines on bruising in babies, it's claimed.

Full story: BBC News

Alfie Evans: European court of human rights rules against parents

Family of seriously ill toddler lose latest legal fight after ECHR judges refuse to intervene in case.

Full story: The Guardian

President’s interim guidance: defective divorce petitions/decrees

On 23 April 2018 the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, issued interim guidance in respect of defective divorce petitions/decrees.

Full story: Family Law Week

Tagging domestic abusers is not enough, say campaigners

Satellite trackers and offender register would be more effective, government told.

Full story: The Guardian

Alfie Evans' parents lose latest legal battle at UK's highest court

Appeal by family of baby at centre of life-support dispute rejected by supreme court judges.

Full story: The Guardian

Family lawyers repeat calls for no-fault divorce ahead of Owens intervention

A national family law body is once again urging the government to reform 'outdated' divorce law as it prepares to intervene in a highly-anticipated case at the Supreme Court next month.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Pensions Advisory Group publishes long-awaited reports

Two reports published for consultation covering the legal issues of pensions on divorce and the use of valuation and experts.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Judge rejects bid by council to obtain wardship over ill child

A High Court judge has rejected an attempt by the London Borough of Croydon to obtain wardship over a seriously ill child.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Government denies welfare changes will exacerbate domestic abuse

The government has rejected concerns from MPs that the move to paying benefits to a single recipient in the household rather than separately will exacerbate domestic abuse cases.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

LASPO review unlikely to be released this year

The government’s long-awaited review into its controversial legal aid reforms is unlikely to be published this year, the Ministry of Justice has suggested - despite lord chancellor David Gauke stressing that he does not want the review to slip into 2019.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Controlling girlfriend 'first woman convicted' of new domestic abuse offence

A university graduate is believed to be the first woman convicted under new domestic abuse laws after scalding her boyfriend with boiling water, stabbing him and keeping food from him.

Full story: The Telegraph

Alfie Evans case: Court rules against parents again

Court of Appeal judges have rejected an bid by the parents of terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans to overturn a decision over who has control of his life support.

Full story: BBC News

Sir Ernest Ryder speaks on the Role of the Justice System in Decision-making for Children

Sir Ernest addresses the principles underpinning judicial decision-making and the evidential requirements in a changing environment.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications received by Cafcass in March 2018 down by 4%

Annual total of care applications falls slightly.

Full story: Family Law Week

New private law cases received by Cafcass in March 2018 down 5% on a year ago

Annual rate running at 3% above previous twelve months.

Full story: Family Law Week

High court judge backs end-of-life care plan for toddler on life support

Details of provisions for final stage of 23-month-old Alfie Evans’s life not made public.

Full story: The Guardian

'Meal ticket for life' bid backfires as divorcee loses £175,000 a year from ex-husband

An attempt by a divorcee to have a “meal ticket for life” backfired after a High Court Judge ruled her maintenance payments should cease after just three years.

Full story: The Telegraph

Sir Ernest Ryder addresses decision-making for children and the role of the justice system

Sir Ernest Ryder spoke on the role of the justice system in decision-making for children at the 10th International Congress of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Full story: Family Law

Plaudits for judge's plain speaking in adoption case

A judge has been praised for the way she has explained her decision to allow a baby boy to be adopted so that the child's father, who has a learning disability, can understand.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Listing Final Hearings in Adoption cases

This Guidance is issued with the purpose of clarifying the legal requirements and practical arrangements for final hearings in adoption applications and adoption visits.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

President’s Guidance: Family proceedings: Parents with a learning disability

My primary purpose in issuing this Guidance is to bring to the attention of practitioners and judges, and to commend for careful consideration and application by everyone, the very important “Good practice guidance on working with parents with a learning disability” issued by the Working Together with Parents Network and the Norah Fry Centre in September 2016.

Full story: Family Law

Average time for disposal of care cases continues to creep upwards

Little change in overall number of new cases started in family courts in 2017.

Full story: Family Law Week

Rising number of grandparents going to court to win right to see their grandchildren

A rising number of grandparents are going to court to win the right to see their grandchildren, new figures show, as experts say fathers’ parents are more likely to miss out.

Full story: The Telegraph

Legal costs halt thousands of domestic violence cases

Domestic abuse victims in England have been unable to get emergency court orders stopping their abusers from harming them, a charity has said.

Full story: BBC News

Appointment of Edward Timpson CBE as new CAFCASS Chair

The Secretary of State for Justice announces the appointment of Edward Timpson CBE for a period of 3 years.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Mediation starts at their lowest since LASPO introduction

Quarterly legal aid statistics published.

Full story: Family Law Week

Conversion rate of completed foster carer applications to approvals decreases

Staying put numbers down on a year ago.

Full story: Family Law Week

Outcomes for looked after children at 31 March 2017

Measures cover educational attainment, SEN, absence for school and exclusions.

Full story: Family Law Week

Alfie Evans: Hospital to seek court ruling over life support end date

The hospital caring for sick toddler Alfie Evans has said it will seek legal advice over a date when his life support can be withdrawn.

Full story: BBC News

Cohabitant entitled to slice of partner’s £1.5m estate, judge rules

The High Court has ruled in favour of a woman who received nothing from her late partner’s £1.5 million estate, in a judgment that will again spark debate about the law on inheritance.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

UK’s first Islamic Guidance Document on Adoption and Fostering published

Penny Appeal publishes groundbreaking document in response to FOI request.

Full story: Family Law Week

Official Solicitor loses bid for costs over withdrawn deprivation of liberty test cases

The Official Solicitor has failed in a bid to recover costs in the Court Of Protection from a clinical commissioning group that withdrew test cases aimed at seeking clarification of the law concerning the deprivation of liberty of mentally incapacitated adults.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2018

These Rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010, in particular making provision in relation to the “fast-track” and “standard” procedures for resolution of certain applications for a financial remedy.

Statutory Instrument

Cafcass rated ‘outstanding’ for effective leaders and practice that ‘act on the child’s views’

Ofsted inspectors find ‘child-focussed’ practice, ‘aspirational’ leadership and ‘innovations’ in technology within the family court advisory service.

Full story: Community Care

FPR Practice Direction 36G: Pilot Scheme, Procedure for Using an Online System to Generate Applications in Certain Private Law Proceedings Relating to Children

The FPR Committee has issued a new Family Procedure Rules Practice Direction 36G (Pilot Scheme, Procedure for Using an Online System to Generate Applications in Certain Private Law Proceedings Relating to Children).

Full story: Family Law

Family court statistics quarterly: October to December 2017

A statistical bulletin presenting statistics relating to the family courts in the fourth quarter of 2017, October to December.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Parents of Alfie Evans lose European court life-support case

Couple fighting decision to switch off son’s life support lose last-ditch legal bid.

Full story: The Guardian

Troubled Families Programme helps families to improve their lives

Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak has welcomed the progress made by the Troubled Families Programme over the past year to help families with multiple and complex problems improve their lives, to reform local services and to reduce pressure on the public purse.

Full story: Family Law

High Court hears how squabbling barristers turned family hearing into “shouting match”

There is a “concerning tendency on the part of the advocates simply to interrupt each other in an effort to advance their competing submissions”, a High Court judge has said as he reviewed a hearing that turned into a “shouting match”.

Full story: Legal Futures

Children’s well-being and social relationships in the UK: 2018

The Office for National Statistics has published its 2018 report on children’s well-being and social relationships in the UK.

Full story: Family Law

Second FGM prosecution fails

Solicitor cleared of FGM of nine-year-old daughter.

Full story: Family Law Week

Council funding for women's refuges cut by nearly £7m since 2010

Funding is down at two-thirds of local authorities across England, Wales and Scotland, data reveals.

Full story: The Guardian

Rise in number of families in temporary accommodation

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has found that the number of families in temporary accommodation has risen by 64% since 2010, with almost 790,000 families staying in temporary accommodation in the last three months of 2017 because they didn’t have a permanent home.

Full story: Family Law

First domestic abuse consultation event held in Birmingham

The event is a key part of a major government consultation on the issue, and the first of 6 to be held across the country.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Lord Justice McFarlane speaks out for change to adoption contact system

Lord Justice Andrew McFarlane has delivered a speech on present practices surrounding contact and adoption.

Full story: Family Law

Funding boost to improve speed and quality of adoption services

The Regional Adoption Agencies will speed up matching to find loving, stable homes for children more quickly.

Full story: Department for Education

Take the blame out of divorce to help those trapped in 'loveless' marriages, says top family judge

No-fault divorce should be introduced to help women who are "trapped in a loveless marriage", Britain's top family judge has suggested.

Full story: The Telegraph

Flawed legal aid system leaves ‘poorer and vulnerable clients denied assistance’

The Law Society has revealed that lower income families in England and Wales are being denied legal aid, meaning that they are excluded from funded aid to help fight eviction, severe housing disrepair and other legal issues.

Full story: Family Law

Alfie Evans parents refused permission for supreme court appeal

Couple hoped to overturn decision to switch off seriously ill toddler’s life support.

Full story: The Guardian

Council kept boy, 9, in care for whole of his life, judge reveals

Herefordshire council used section 20 orders to keep children in care without seeking court approval.

Full story: The Guardian

Children and Social Work Act 2017 (Commencement No 3) Regulations 2018

‘Corporate parenting principles’ brought into force from 1 April 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week

Review of children in need launched

DfE seeks to understand what works in practice to improve their outcomes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children living with parents in emotional distress: 2010 to 2016

Public Health England publishes updated data.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care applications received by Cafcass in February 4% up on a year ago

Second highest monthly total for a February on record.

Full story: Family Law Week

New private law cases received by Cafcass in February 2018 5% down on a year ago

3,154 new private law cases in the month.

Full story: Family Law Week

Millionaire jailed for contempt of court over divorce deal

Property developer, 83, given 14-month sentence for refusing to obey company handover order.

Full story: The Guardian

Consultation on regs to allow a single person to apply for a parental order following a surrogacy arrangement

Consultation closes on 20 April 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family court secrecy lets judges get away with mistakes, senior judge says

Secrecy in family courts could be allowing judges to get away with mistakes, the most senior family judge in England and Wales has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Government will legislate to replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Ministers broadly accept Liberty Protection Safeguards system proposed by Law Commission and pledge to legislate when parliamentary time allows.

Full story: Community Care

Sexual relationship not necessary for a valid marriage, says Munby

Sexual relations are not required for a marriage to be valid for the purposes of parental orders in surrogacy cases, the president of the family division has said, before granting an order to a couple where one of the partners is gay.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Judge orders husband in bitter divorce case to stop emailing wife’s solicitor

A High Court judge has issued a restraining order to stop a man in a long-running divorce case from contacting his former wife’s solicitor on her private email address.

Full story: Legal Futures

Practice Guidance: Case Management and Mediation of International Child Abduction Proceedings

Fresh guidance issued by The President, 13 March 2018, covering procedure, case management and mediation in international child abduction cases.

Full story: Family Law Hub

New batch of Standard Family Orders out for consultation

Comments on 74 orders covering children and other non-financial matters required by 18th April.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Government launches post-implementation review of LASPO

Findings will be published later this year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Home Affairs Select Committee announces domestic abuse inquiry

In advance of the Government's promised draft Bill on domestic violence and abuse, and in parallel with the Government's announced consultation, the Home Affairs Committee is seeking evidence on what measures and reforms are needed to address 'one of the most damaging and prevalent crimes'.

Full story: Family Law Week

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill: 3rd reading 13 March 2018

The Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill is due to receive its third reading in the House of Lords on 13 March and the second reading debate in the Commons is scheduled for 19 March 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week

House of Commons to debate foster care

Debate scheduled for 14 March 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week

National action required to support children and young people’s mental health needs

Local services must work together, says CQC.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic abuse survivors can now vote anonymously

The Houses of Parliament have passed Government proposals for changes to anonymous voter registration.

Full story: Family Law

Government takes action to tackle domestic abuse

The government has launched a consultation on domestic abuse, seeking new laws and stronger powers to protect and support survivors.

Full story: Home Office and Ministry of Justice

Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics: December 2017

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

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Child Support Agency case closures: June 2014 to December 2017

Quarterly experimental statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency (CSA) case closure programme from June 2014 to December 2017.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Domestic abuse still under-reported in England, says Women's Aid

The charity says its figures underline the need for continued support of refuges.

Full story: The Guardian

European court rejects appeal in Isaiah Haastrup life support case

Human rights judges rule appeal by father of profoundly brain-damaged baby is inadmissible.

Full story: The Guardian

Alfie Evans: Decision to remove life support upheld by judge

The parents of a seriously ill toddler have lost their appeal against a High Court decision to end his life support.

Full story: BBC News

Cobb J reviews law on interim orders for sale of parties' former matrimonial home

Wife’s appeal against interim order for sale allowed.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family Law Bills before Parliament: an update

The following Bills which may be of interest to family lawyers are currently proceeding through Parliament.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adopted children should remain close to birth families, study suggests

Adoption law should be overhauled to ensure children can retain close contact with their birth families, the British Association of Social Workers has said following the findings of an academic study.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Mixed reactions to Government proposals to protect domestic abuse victims

The announcement by Home Secretary Amber Rudd of plans to increase use of screens and video links in court for victims of domestic violence, to spare them the trauma of facing their perpetrators, has raised conflicting responses from practitioners.

Full story: Family Law

First surrogacy guidance published for England and Wales

Guidance on how to start a family using a surrogate has been published for England and Wales for the first time by the government.

Full story: BBC News

President issues fresh guidance on jurisdiction and allocation in the Family Court

The President seeks to clarify the position, which is the cause of "considerable confusion".

Full story: Family Law Hub

Latest ONS marriage figures underline need for legal reform

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has published Marriages in England and Wales: 2015, reporting on the number of marriages that took place in England and Wales in 2015.

Full story: Family Law

Number of councils using Family Drug and Alcohol Courts to expand

The new authorities join 15 others that operate the specialist courts across the country.

Full story: Community Care

Child Maintenance Service: Aug 2013 to Dec 2017 (experimental)

Experimental statistics on child maintenance arrangements administered by the Child Maintenance Service.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Solicitor loses appeal against order to give evidence on Russian client’s assets and not tip him off about it

A solicitor compelled to give evidence about a billionaire Russian client’s assets, and forbidden from revealing his court appearance to the client, has lost his appeal against those orders.

Full story: Legal Futures

Rudd urged to prevent cross-examining by domestic abusers

Charity calls on home secretary to end practice in family courts as she unveils proposals for bill.

Full story: The Guardian

Domestic violence legislation will follow consultation, confirms Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has confirmed that the Home Office is not yet ready to bring forward domestic violence legislation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorce costs £3,800 a year in retirement income, says Prudential

Expected annual income for divorcees retiring in 2018 is £17,600.

Full story: Family Law Week

CoramBAAF welcomes report on child protection practice with Romani and Traveller children

‘Romani and Traveller children three times more likely to be taken into care’ than other children.

Full story: Family Law Week

Case closure process at Child Support Agency closes another 40,000 files

866,700 cases currently managed by CSA.

Full story: Family Law Week

Police undertake to investigate thoroughly all potential offences of FGM

Avon and Somerset Police statement follows collapsed trial.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parents lose legal battle to keep brain-damaged UK baby on life support

Judge in London denies right to appeal against decision to let 12-month-old Isaiah Haastrup die.

Full story: The Guardian

Mother faces £20,000 costs bill despite successfully challenging care order

Local authorities should not have to cover legal aid funding deficiencies, the Court of Appeal has said, despite upholding a mother's challenge against a placement order.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Alfie Evans: Appeal against ending life support

The family of a seriously ill boy is to appeal against a High Court ruling allowing doctors to switch off his life-support.

Full story: BBC News

Domestic abuse: Guidelines recommend tougher sentences

People convicted of domestic abuse offences in England and Wales will be more likely to go to prison in future, under new sentencing guidelines.

Full story: BBC News

Commons Committee investigates evidence-based early-years intervention

The Science and Technology Committee is holding evidence sessions as part of an inquiry into evidence-based early-years intervention.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parents lose legal fight to keep Liverpool toddler on life support

High court rules in favour of doctors who said continuing to treat Alfie Evans was ‘inhumane’.

Full story: The Guardian

Serious case review criticises services’ ‘over optimism’ of ‘start again’ approach

Serious case review says historical information did not inform decision-making despite five of the parents’ children previously being taken into care.

Full story: Community Care

Councils struggling to cope with surge in child protection referrals

Government urged to act on domestic violence reforms promised in Queen’s speech.

Full story: The Guardian

Dispensing with Independent Reviewing Officers would put vulnerable children at risk

Nagalro objects to proposal in foster care review.

Full story: Family Law Week

Guidance to family courts: payment for intermediaries and intermediary assessments

Internal staff guidance has been published by the Ministry of Justice setting out out how certain court-ordered measures including intermediaries and intermediary assessments may be paid for in family cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court ruling highlights complexities in family 'abduction' cases

The Supreme Court has highlighted the complex nature of issues that lower courts have to grapple with in relation to family cases involving the Hague Convention on civil aspects of international child abduction.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Rise in caseloads for children's social workers

The average number of cases children's social workers deal with at any one time has risen to nearly 18, government statistics suggest.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Divorcing couples may clash over Bitcoin

Divorcing couples are being warned to disclose all their assets amid fears that some may use digital currencies such as Bitcoin to hide their wealth.

Full story: BBC News

Public law cases received by Cafcass in January up 3% on a year ago

Highest monthly total for a January on record.

Full story: Family Law Week

New private law cases received by Cafcass in January up 11% on a year ago

3,590 new cases received.

Full story: Family Law Week

Nuffield Foundation set outs plans to establish a Family Justice Observatory

12-month development phase will begin in March.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court to hear s.20 Children Act accommodation case this week

The Supreme Court will this week consider the lawfulness of a London borough’s accommodation under s.20 of the Children Act 1989 of eight children who had been taken into police protection.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Court of Protection: SRA regulation allows for immediate approval of trust corporations

Trust corporations wanting to act as property and affairs deputies for incapacitated people must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to gain immediate approval, the Court of Protection has ruled.

Full story: Legal Futures

Parental alcohol abuse linked to child deaths and injuries

One in three child deaths or serious injuries from neglect or abuse linked to alcohol misuse.

Full story: The Guardian

Supreme Court to decide whether ‘anticipatory retention’ is recognised under the 1980 Hague Convention

Judgment in appeal against C (Children) [2017] EWCA Civ 980 to be given on 14 February 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week

Countries where a parent can enforce child maintenance decisions: list updated

Briefing paper published on reciprocal enforcement of maintenance orders.

Full story: Family Law Week

Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018

The Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which come into force on 5 March 2018, make provision for the disclosure of certain information by an adoption agency to another adoption agency.

Full story: Family Law Week

Human Rights Committee launches inquiry into reform of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Written submissions sought from interested parties.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government asks Law Commission to look at trolling laws

Report due on online harassment and cyber bullying by October 2018.

Full story: Family Law Week