Children looked after in England including adoption: 2017 to 2018

Information on looked-after children at both national and local authority levels for the financial year 2017 to 2018.

Full story: Department for Education

Sir James Munby appointed Chair of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

The Nuffield Foundation has appointed Sir James Munby as Chair of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.

Full story: Nuffield Foundation

Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics: September 2018

Quarterly statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency child support schemes to September 2018.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

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

With the agreement of the President I promulgate three new orders, and an addition to an existing order, to be added with immediate effect to the Compendium of Standard Orders.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Law Society publishes no-deal Brexit guidance on family law

The Law Society has published guidance for solicitors highlighting the changes in civil and commercial co-operation that will occur in the event the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a Withdrawal Agreement and transitional arrangements in place, and the steps solicitors should consider in order to prepare their practice for this scenario.

Full story: Family Law

Britain's costliest divorce: Oligarch can keep £360m yacht as Dubai judge overrules High Court

A Sharia court in Dubai has ignored an order from the High Court that an oligarch must hand over a £350m yacht to his ex-wife as part of the UK’s biggest divorce settlement. Lawyers say the development further underlines the difficulty of enforcing UK divorce orders abroad.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Co-op Legal claims to get divorce process down to eight weeks

Co-operative Legal Services is championing the results of government efforts to help separated couples divorce quicker, announcing that it is getting clients through the process within a couple of months since joining two pilots.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Coram Conference 2018: Family lawyers in the dark where Brexit will take them

Brexit is creating a ton of uncertainty for family lawyers and their clients. That was the unsurprising key takeaway of the 'Brexit for Breakfast' panel discussion that kicked off Coram Chambers' annual conference at The Law Society in London.

Full story: Family Law

Cuts risk more child protection plans, ‘outstanding’ county warns

East Sussex council sets out proposed reductions to children's services as part of bare-minimum offer.

Full story: Community Care

Social services under fire after boy placed into foster care before grandparents knew he was born

Judge says grandparents could have been considered as carers if they were told of boy's existence.

Full story: The Independent

Pension Advisory Group: Update

The Pension Advisory Group was convened in mid-2017 with the purpose of producing a good practice guide for lawyers and financial experts about the issues relating to pensions on divorce.

Full story: Family Law

Premarital cohabitation has short-term benefits and longer-term costs for marital stability

New American study published on cohabitation experience and association with marital breakdown.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge criticises social worker’s ‘incorrect and inaccurate’ evidence

Hertfordshire council under fire for 'pervasive failure to accurately state correct position' and overly negative view of family.

Full story: Community Care

Financial Remedies Pilot extended to eight more court centres

President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has announced that he has given the 'green light' for the pilot to start working in each of these eight courts.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government asks Law Commission to review weddings law

Law Commission’s scoping paper found the rules outdated.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cornwall Council leaves homeless teenager in a tent

Ombudsman finds failings in council’s planning for young, homeless people.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judiciary to receive a pay rise of 2 per cent

Review finds recruitment problems arising from deteriorating conditions of service.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ministry of Justice commits to care leaver covenant

The Secretary of State for Justice has pledged the Ministry of Justice to support the principles of the care leaver covenant, and to provide specified support to help care leavers in their transition from care to independence in order to improve their life chances.

Full story: Family Law Week

Civil Partnerships Bill reaches report stage

New clause requires government to bring equality between same-sex and other couples.

Full story: Family Law Week

Foster carers forced to bear transport costs when child moved schools

Ombudsman finds that Gateshead Council should have provided free school transport.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill ‘must be changed’, concludes Human Rights Committee

Definition of ‘deprivation of liberty’ needs to be clarified.

Full story: Family Law Week

Number of children in need rises by 4 per cent since last year

Number of child protection plans rises by 5 per cent.

Full story: Family Law Week

New courts and tribunals media guidance released for staff

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has released guidance for its staff to help encourage and facilitate media access to the UK’s family and other courts and tribunals.

Full story: Family Law

Woman with learning difficulties not told she had contraceptive device covertly fitted

A young woman with learning difficulties should not be told she was covertly fitted with a contraceptive device as it would ruin her trust in her carers, a court has ruled.

Full story: The Telegraph

Many thousands of babies are living in households carrying very high risks: Children’s Commissioner

15,800 babies considered to be vulnerable or highly vulnerable are still living at home.

Full story: Family Law Week

Research launched to assess whether biased advice is distorting access to justice

A new research project will examine whether vulnerable people representing themselves in child court cases find themselves and their children put at risk by misinformed or biased online legal advice.

Full story: Family Law

“Vulnerable children will be victims” of Government’s failure to provide clarity - Lords warn Government over family justice system after Brexit

A “worrying level of complacency”, lack of clarity, and inadequate advice will have a devastating knock-on effect on the UK family law courts, and ultimately children – warns the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee.

Full story: House of Lords

Government to amend deprivation of liberty scheme to cover 16- and 17-year-olds

Minister also signals further concessions on requirement to consult person subject to deprivation of liberty and on role of care home manager.

Full story: Community Care

Munby troubled by Court of Protection cases being 'transferred up'

Desperate parents are persuading less senior judges to transfer Court of Protection cases higher to force public authorities to act - a practice that the former president of the family division finds 'deeply troubling'.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Family judge goes public to BBC on litigant in person headache

A leading family judge has taken part in a documentary highlighting the difficulties faced by litigants in person as a result of legal aid cuts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Senior Family Liaison Judge appointed

Mrs Justice Theis has been appointed as the Senior Family Liaison Judge with immediate effect for a 4 year period.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Parents 'weaponising' domestic violence orders, claims charity

Families Needs Fathers alleges non-molestation orders are being used fraudulently to obtain legal aid.

Full story: The Guardian

Thousands fleeing domestic violence face squalid housing

Lack of social housing and poor council decisions failing vulnerable in England, say lawyers.

Full story: The Guardian

1,065 new care applications received by Cafcass in September

Applications 4 per cent down on a year ago.

Full story: Family Law Week

Private law cases received by Cafcass in September slightly down on a year ago

In September 2018, Cafcass received a total of 3,507 new private law cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

Cafcass publishes new assessment framework for private law cases

We have developed a new assessment framework to support our practitioners in assessing the harmful impact of a range of complex case factors on the children we work with in private law cases.

Full story: Cafcass

Judge condemns 'unacceptable' lack of secure accommodation for children

Judge Mary Lazarus had nowhere to send convicted 16-year-old involved in ‘county lines’ drug dealing.

Full story: The Guardian

Almost 17,000 newborn babies taken into care in England in past nine years

Many infants taken from their mothers in hospital within hours or days of delivery.

Full story: The Guardian

'McMafia' banker's wife with £16m Harrods spending habit named

Zamira Hajiyeva is wife of Azerbaijani banker jailed for defrauding his state-owned bank out of as much as £2.2bn.

Full story: The Guardian

Cafcass criticised for appointment of ‘inexperienced’ practitioner to complex case

Children's guardian slammed by judge for 'inadequate' report and 'woeful' court appearance.

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

Parents breach court order after advice from McKenzie friend

Long-awaited action to regulate the McKenzie friend industry appears to be as distant as ever – as a new case of wrongful advice magnifies the perils of relying on unqualified help.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

All-Party Parliamentary Group sets out key requirements for Domestic Abuse Bill

New report calls for long-term, secure funding for specialist domestic abuse services.

Full story: Family Law Week

Inherent jurisdiction and deprivation of children’s liberty

President seeks to clarify the law.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family chief tells lawyers: 'The justice system won't collapse - you will'

The justice system may be 'under stress' but it will grind on - it is the people propping it up who will collapse, the president of the family division has warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Family court judge slams social workers for losing sight of child’s best interests

Court finds Northumberland council 'very badly mismanaged' care proceedings that dragged on for more than 18 months.

Full story: Community Care

Banker’s wife may lose UK property worth £22 million

High Court dismisses challenge to unexplained wealth order.

Full story: Family Law Week

Campaign launched to highlight harmful consequences of FGM

The Home Office has launched a campaign which highlights the harmful health consequences of FGM and signposts the NSPCC's 24 hour FGM helpline.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government agrees to amend regulations to allow for legal aid certificates to be backdated

Concession made in litigation brought by Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

Full story: Family Law Week

Outgoing charity head bemoans lack of political leadership on forced marriage

Jasvinder Sanghera welcomes new proposals but remains sceptical of government’s commitment.

Full story: Family Law Week

New measures announced to combat forced marriage

Consultation will consider a duty on professionals to report forced marriage cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

DWP and Barnardo's collaborate to support care leavers into work

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Barnardo's are entering into a new partnership to support care leavers into work.

Full story: Family Law Week

Irish court sanctions return of child taken from council care

The High Court of Ireland has given Lincolnshire County Council an order for the return of a child taken out of the UK by its parents while in the council’s care.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Number of completed DoLS cases up by 20% in past year but backlog continues to grow

While DoLS teams and assessors completed substantially more cases in 2017-18, almost 140,000 applications were left unfinished at end of year.

Full story: Community Care

Civil partnerships: Law to be changed for mixed-gender couples

Heterosexual couples in England and Wales will be able to choose to have a civil partnership rather than get married, Theresa May has announced.

Full story: BBC News

Judge to decide whether baby can be first in UK history to be born without a mother in landmark trans rights case

Transgender parent says being forced to register as the child’s 'mother' breaches his human right to respect for privacy and family life.

Full story: The Independent

Spending on children in care exceeds £4bn for first time

The amount spent by councils supporting children who have been taken into care is set to rise by more than £370m this year, breaking the £4bn barrier for the first time.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Family Court Statistics Quarterly: April to June 2018

Volume of cases dealt with by family courts over time, with statistics also broken down for the main types of case involved.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Napo warns that private probation providers failing to keep domestic violence victims safe

Napo, the largest trade union within the probation service has reacted with anger to the latest findings from a report by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Probation into the services offered to perpetrators of domestic violence and the potential impact on victims.

Full story: Family Law

Divorce rate for heterosexual couples hits 45-year low, figures show

Opposite-gender couples divorcing at lowest rate since 1973 after figure drops by 6 per cent in a year.

Full story: The Independent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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