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