New care applications received by Cafcass fall slightly in October

Cafcass received a total of 1,635 new care applications in September – six fewer than in the same month last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Practice Guidance: Placements in unregistered children’s homes in England or unregistered care home services in Wales

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has issued a new practice guidance to explain the registration and regulation structure applicable in England and, separately, in Wales for residential care facilities for children and young people.

Full story: Family Law Week

Difficulties in recruiting to District Bench "to have adverse consequences" for civil, family jurisdictions: Lord Chief Justice

The Lord Chief Justice has warned of “a very worrying shortfall” in the recruitment of salaried members to the District Bench this year, saying that it will have adverse consequences for the family and civil jurisdictions.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Child maintenance arrangements made after speaking to CM Options, data up to August 2019

Preliminary estimates of the Child Maintenance outcomes of parents following contact with Child Maintenance (CM) Options.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Concerns raised about Calderbank offers being used to assess litigation conduct

Reservations have been expressed about plans to change the rules for determining costs at the end of family proceedings.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Domestic abuse 'biggest threat to child protection'

Domestic violence, family conflict and drink and drug abuse are the biggest drivers of the rise in child-protection cases in England, says the Local Government Association.

Full story: BBC News

Family Law Week Weekly Podcast Episode 1

A round-up of family law news from the past week and an in-depth look at recent cases hosted by Rachel Cooper, counsel, Coram Chambers.

Podcast: Family Law Week

Tort of deceit can exist between husband and wife

Claims ‘fundamentally incompatible’ with Court’s consideration of MCA s25.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge criticises council for breaching duty of disclosure when making streamlined application for authorisation of deprivation of liberty

A council has been criticised by a Court of Protection judge for breaching the duty of full and frank disclosure when it made an application under the streamlined procedure for authorisation of a deprivation of liberty.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Judge concludes girls were not systematically abused by members of paedophile ring

A judge has concluded that three girls were not systematically abused by members of a paedophile ring after an “unprecedentedly complex” High Court investigation.

Full story: Care Appointments

President of the Family Division: Guidance as to reporting in the Family Courts

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has issued the latest guidance for reporting in the Family Courts.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Judge questions council care plan for baby at centre of court abortion litigation

A judge has questioned a council plan for the care of a baby whose mother has learning disabilities and was at the centre of a court abortion battle.

Full story: Care Appointments

Supreme Court judgment due as to use of inherent jurisdiction to order summary re-location

On 30 October 2019 the Supreme Court will promulgate its judgment as to whether the inherent jurisdiction can be used to order the summary re-relocation of a child where there is a statutory scheme and where the substantive and procedural characteristics of that scheme are avoided.

Full story: Family Law Week

Privy Council to give judgment in Jersey financial provision case

On Thursday, 31 October 2019 the Privy Council will promulgate its judgment in the cases of C v C in which it will determine whether it was open to Jersey courts to treat the appellant as a 'parent' for the purpose of orders for financial provision under the Children (Jersey) Law 2002.

Full story: Family Law Week

‘Government needs to do more to improve the welfare of separated families’

Social Security Advisory Committee publishes report.

Full story: Family Law Week

New support for young people leaving care

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced new cross-government support available to young people leaving the care system, together with £19 million of investment into programmes benefiting care leavers.

Full story: Family Law Week

District judge ‘sarcastic and shaking with rage’ in flawed family hearing

The Family Court has overturned a district judge’s care ruling after finding she ‘crossed the line’ during the hearing, creating a hostile atmosphere and alienating everyone appearing before her.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Professional couple spend £500,000 on divorce proceedings

A ‘highly educated’ couple spent over half a million pounds on ‘destructive and disproportionate’ divorce proceedings, an appeal judge has revealed in a judgment  refusing to change the financial outcome of their case.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Anorexic teenager who wants to go home must stay in specialist unit – judge

An anorexic teenager who wants to go home must stay in specialist accommodation, a Court of Protection judge has decided.

Full story: Care Appointments

Children in care warning from justice commission in Wales

Children's interests are being neglected in court cases that decide who looks after them, a major report has warned.

Full story: BBC News

Dad gives up eight-year fight for kids with mum who ‘alienated them’

A mother ‘alienated’ her children from their father in a case a judge described as ‘heartbreaking.’

Full story: Metro

Bar Council calls for surrogates to be paid

It should be an option for intended parents to compensate a surrogate for career interruption, according to the Bar Council.

Full story: Solicitors Journal

Legal aid rates blamed for mother ending up in prison

A firm specialising in family and immigration cases has blamed low legal aid rates for its struggle to find counsel to represent a mother who ended up in prison for disobeying a High Court order.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Assessing risk of harm to children and parents in private law children cases

Progress update on the public call for evidence on how the family courts protect children and parents in private law children cases concerning domestic abuse and other serious offences.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Toddler at significant risk in dirty and overcrowded home to go into council care

A toddler who was sharing an overcrowded home with two dogs must go into council care, a family court judge has decided.

Full story: Care Appointments

Government confirms councils' duty to support domestic abuse victims

Councils will have a statutory duty to provide safe accommodation for victims of domestic abuse and their children from 2021, the government has confirmed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Woman who alienated son from ex-husband loses custody over boy’s care

A woman has lost a fight over the care of her 12-year-old son after a High Court judge concluded that she had alienated the youngster from his father.

Full story: Care Appointments

Lay member of family rules committee quit after lack of progress

A layperson who quit a family committee sponsored by the Ministry of Justice voiced concern at the lack of progress on improving children's participation in proceedings, it has emerged.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Judge sanctions DNA testing on dementia sufferer thought to have fathered children

Specialists have been given the go-ahead to swab the mouth of an elderly dementia sufferer so DNA tests can be carried out in a bid to establish whether he fathered two sons and a daughter.

Full story: Care Appointments

Judge hits out at lack of resources for councils looking after young vulnerable people at risk of harm

A Family Court judge has published a judgment in relation to a 15-and-a-half year old girl to highlight the resource issues that local authorities face looking after young vulnerable people at risk of harm, describing the problems as “huge”.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Legal aid cuts fuel surge in self-referrals to child contact centres

Legal aid cuts have fuelled a surge in the number of separating parents without solicitors making self-referrals to child contact centres to make their situation less stressful, it has emerged.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics: June 2019

Quarterly statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency (CSA) child support schemes to June 2019.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Woman with learning disabilities at centre of abortion dispute gives birth

A woman with learning disabilities who was at the centre of an abortion battle has given birth, lawyers have said.

Full story: Care Appointments

Queen’s Speech: Johnson puts law and order issues at forefront

Crime and justice policies were placed at the centre of the government’s agenda today as the Queen’s Speech set out its legislative priorities.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Abusive men using child contact as way to carry on subjecting women to domestic abuse

Thousands of domestic abusers are preying on their victims during meetings with their children ordered by the family courts, The Independent can reveal.

Full story: The Independent

‘One lawyer is enough’: family judge issues court guidance

Solicitors with cases being heard at Central Family Court have been told they do not always have to turn up with their barristers.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Woman with severe learning disabilities to have abortion, judge rules

Doctors allowed to perform termination on woman with mental age of toddler.

Full story: The Guardian

Cafcass 'just as busy' despite falling care applications, says chief

The chief executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) Jacky Tiotto says the body has not seen a fall in work despite it dealing with fewer care applications over the past year.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Civil partnership registrations rise for third consecutive year

Dissolutions fall by a quarter.

Full story: Family Law Week

New private law cases received by Cafcass in September rose by 11 per cent year-on-year

Cafcass received a total of 3,803 new private law cases in September – 10.9 per cent (374 cases) higher than the same month last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

New care applications received by Cafcass in September fell by 5 per cent

New applications down in each of the last eleven months.

Full story: Family Law Week

Proportion of births in E & W to mothers born outside the UK falls for the first time since 1990

One in three children born in E & W had at least one parent born outside the UK.

Full story: Family Law Week

Kinship care in crisis, finds Grandparents Plus

A State of the Nation Survey Report by Grandparents Plus finds that kinship care is in a state of crisis.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge decides vulnerable woman should be fitted with contraceptive device

A woman with learning disabilities, who was at the centre of an abortion battle, should be fitted with a contraceptive device, a judge in a specialist court has decided.

Full story: Care Appointments

Cafcass backs renewed focus on pre-proceedings work in public law children cases - but rejects direct role

Cafcass has said it supports a renewed focus on pre-proceedings work and managing risk in public law children cases, with more emphasis on gaining and recording the wishes and feelings of children at that stage.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Welsh council criticised after couples became embroiled in ‘nightmare’ adoption case

Social services bosses at a Welsh council have come under fire from a High Court judge after two couples became embroiled in “nightmare” litigation when a woman changed her mind about giving up a baby daughter for adoption.

Full story: Care Appointments

Council correct not to arrange prostitutes for man with learning disabilities, judge

A judge has said social services bosses should not facilitate access to prostitutes for a man with learning difficulties.

Full story: Care Appointments

BASW publishes responses to Public and Private Law Interim Reports

The British Association of Social Workers England and the Social Workers Union have completed a survey of members and formulated their response for the Children Cases in the Family Court consultations on public law, and for private law.

Full story: Family Law Week

New support for foster families to overcome trauma

Practical and emotional support from communities of foster carers to boost their resilience.

Full story: Family Law Week

Commons debates Child Maintenance Service’s performance in recovering payments

On Wednesday 2 October, the House of Commons held a Westminster Hall debate entitled "Performance of child maintenance service in recovering payments from absent parents", led by Peter Grant.

Full story: Family Law Week

Tafida Raqeeb: Brain-damaged girl can go abroad for treatment

The parents of a brain-damaged girl will be allowed to take her abroad to continue her treatment, the High Court has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Man who does not understand consent has right to pursue sex, court rules

Judge finds against care plan for 36-year-old who has autism with impaired cognition.

Full story: The Guardian

Labour MP moves colleagues to tears with domestic abuse story

Rosie Duffield’s harrowing personal account is described as ‘moving and horrifying’.

Full story: The Guardian

Funding key to success of Domestic Abuse Bill, say councils

Investment in children's services and prevention is crucial to the success of the revived Domestic Abuse Bill, councils have claimed as it moved a step closer to becoming law today.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Court has no power to require Cafcass to undertake work with non-subject child, judge rules

A court has no power to require Cafcass to appoint one of its officers, whether a children's guardian or otherwise, to undertake any work with or play any role with a non-subject child, a High Court judge has concluded.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Action needed to tackle domestic abuse of over-60s, says Age UK

Charity calls for needs of older survivors in England and Wales to be properly met.

Full story: The Guardian

Survey finds hundreds of children in care being forced to see abusive parents

Hundreds of children in care are being “marched back” to visit their abusive parents and a majority of foster families want to see the practice made illegal, research suggests.

Full story: Care Appointments

Judge apologises for eight-month delay in producing written ruling on FGM case

The most senior family court judge in England and Wales has apologised after taking nearly eight months to produce a written ruling on a case involving Home Office ministers and a girl feared to be at risk of female genital mutilation.

Full story: Care Appointments

Family courts “failing” McFarlane’s wellbeing challenge

Many courts have not responded to the encouragement of the president of the Family Division to lay down acceptable working practices so as to improve wellbeing, a leading QC has claimed.

Full story: Legal Futures

Supreme Court considers parental responsibility and deprivation of liberty

Majority decide parental responsibility cannot authorise a violation of a child’s fundamental human right.

Full story: Family Law Week

Vulnerable woman at centre of abortion case needs contraceptive device, court told

Doctors plan to fit a mentally-disabled woman who was at the centre of an abortion battle with a contraceptive device, a judge has been told.

Full story: Care Appointments

Transgender man loses court battle to be registered as father

Ruling in Freddy McConnell case is first legal definition of a mother in English common law.

Full story: The Guardian

Cafcass has 'not acted on any IRO referrals'

Court advisory service Cafcass has not brought any legal proceedings on behalf of children in care despite referrals from independent reviewing officers (IROs) over the last decade, according to data obtained by campaigners.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Child Maintenance Service statistics: data to June 2019 (experimental)

Quarterly experimental statistics on the Child Maintenance Service, data to June 2019.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Two-thirds of divorce clients pay fixed fees

Almost two-thirds of divorce and separation clients now pay fixed fees, but less than half of them end up paying the price quoted at the start, a report has found.

Full story: Legal Futures

Family judges must justify delaying final decisions – Court of Appeal

Judges have been warned by the Court of Appeal not to adjourn final decisions in family cases simply to 'press the pause button'.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Supreme Court judgment in deprivation of liberty case to be promulgated on 26 September

16-year-old lacked capacity to make decisions about his residence and care.

Full story: Family Law Week

Contacts to NSPCC helpline rise 12 per cent

The NSPCC helpline received nearly 73,000 calls and emails from adults worried about a child in 2018/2019 – and referred almost half on to other agencies including the police and social services.

Full story: Family Law Week

Register our Marriage campaigns for equality for unregistered faith marriages

In an article on the Law Society's website, Siddique Patel, a solicitor at Shoosmiths specialising in Islamic family law, discusses the Register our Marriage campaign for equality for faith marriages.

Full story: Family Law Week

New funding to protect child abuse victims and track down offenders

A £30 million funding boost will equip law enforcement with pioneering new tech and capabilities to track down more paedophiles operating online and safeguard children who have been abused, the government has announced.

Full story: Family Law Week

Tory MP refuses to say if domestic abuse bill will ban cross-examination of victims

Victoria Atkins fails to confirm that new bill will contain key measure in original proposal.

Full story: The Guardian

First domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales revealed

The first domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales is "relieved" the prime minister has pledged to re-introduce a new law on the issue.

Full story: BBC News

Paralegal’s contempt conviction found to be ‘manifestly unfair’

Judges in the Court of Appeal have quashed a paralegal’s conviction for contempt after finding significant procedural mistakes in how the case was handled.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

6,000 became homeless in three months following domestic abuse

Women’s Aid publishes No Woman Turned Away report 2019.

Full story: Family Law Week

Support for family and friends carers looking after children

Research briefing financial and other help available.

Full story: Family Law Week

Annual CPS Violence against Women and Girls report published

Latest figures on prosecutions involving Violence against Women and Girls have been released by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Full story: Family Law Week

New care applications received by Cafcass in August fell by 11 per cent

New applications down in each of the last ten months.

Full story: Family Law Week

New private law cases received by Cafcass in August decreased by 3 per cent year-on-year

Cafcass received a total of 3,817 new private law cases in August – 3.3 per cent (131 cases) lower than the same month last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Johnson pledges to reintroduce domestic abuse legislation

Boris Johnson has responded to pressure from women's groups and confirmed that he will reintroduce legislation to protect the estimated two million people who suffer domestic abuse a year.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Population estimates by marital status and living arrangements, England and Wales: 2018

Annual estimates of population by legal marital status and cohabitation status by age and sex for England and Wales.

Full story: Office for National Statistics

Domestic violence murders surge to five-year high

The number of people killed as a result of domestic violence in the UK is at its highest level in five years.

Full story: BBC News

Five-year-old girl on life support would oppose its removal, family say

Tafida Raqeeb’s mother tells high court daughter would like to live whatever her condition because of her ‘Islamic values’

Full story: The Guardian

The women who end up homeless after fleeing violence

Thousands of women in England are fleeing domestic abuse only to find themselves homeless, government figures show.

Full story: BBC News

Non-disclosing husband fails in challenge to Court of Appeal

A husband who failed to disclose all of his assets has failed in his appeal to set aside an order.

Full story: Family Law

Justice bills fall overnight as parliament shuts down

Legislation covering divorce and domestic abuse was killed off in the early hours of this morning as parliament was closed for five weeks.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Jo Edwards responds to news that Divorce Bill will be dropped

The former Lord Chancellor, David Gauke, has today tweeted “Disappointed that the suspension of Parliament means that the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill has been dropped."

Full story: Resolution

104 new Family Recorders appointed

159 new Recorders appointed.

Full story: Family Law Week

Commons debates EU settlement scheme in relation to looked after children and care leavers

Commons Library publishes information pack.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court rejects bid to stop Muslim family representing sick girl

An NHS trust has been criticised for arguing that the family of a seriously ill five-year-old girl are incapable of acting in her best interests because of their Islamic religious beliefs.

Full story: The Guardian

Domestic abuse proposals expected to be revived in Queen’s Speech, MPs hear

New proposals to protect domestic abuse survivors are expected to be “revived very quickly” in the new parliamentary session, a Cabinet minister has said.

Full story: Care Appointments

Nagalro raises concern about Cafcass undermining the role of Children’s Guardians

Nagalro is concerned that Cafcass public statements have disseminated inaccurate information on its website, which appear to dilute the role of the Children's Guardian and minimise their legal obligations.

Full story: Family Law Week

Civil Justice Council launches consultation on vulnerable witnesses and parties in civil proceedings

The Civil Justice Council has launched a consultation on its report and recommendations for change in respect of vulnerable witnesses and parties in civil proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Doctors can perform C-section if woman loses mental capacity, judge rules

Ruling comes despite woman, who has bipolar disorder, saying she does not want procedure.

Full story: The Guardian

The High Court appoints a new Family Division Judge

The Judicial Appointments Commission announced that seven top barristers make the step up from bar to bench.

Full story: Family Law

Jacky Tiotto joins Cafcass as new Chief Executive

Today Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) welcomes Jacky Tiotto as its new Chief Executive.

Full story: Family Law Week

Are online divorces used as a marital cry for help?

FOI request indicates that fewer online divorces proceed to final decree than paper petitions.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parliament shut-down puts justice bills under threat

Boris Johnson’s intention to prorogue parliament could lead to a halt on divorce, court and domestic abuse reform.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Domestic abuse: Killers 'follow eight-stage pattern', study says

Men who kill their partners follow a "homicide timeline" that could be tracked by police to help prevent deaths, new research suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Boy taken from home after exposure to domestic violence can return to mother

A little boy removed from his home more than two years ago because he was being exposed to domestic violence can return to his mother’s care, a family court judge has decided.

Full story: Care Appointments

Generation 'Z' likely to demand prenup - survey

Members of 'Generation Z' - those born from 1996 onwards - are likely to take a pragmatic approach to marriage and protect their assets before tying the knot, a YouGov survey on prenuptial agreements suggests.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

More than half of married people have no plans for their pensions if they get divorced

The survey, carried out by Fidelity International, an investment management company, found that 56% of women and 60% of men said they had no plans for what would happen to their pensions should their marriage break down.

Full story: Family Law

Pension cap exception may benefit divorcing pension holders

A little-known exception to Money Purchase Annual Allowance rules may be used, where applicable, to benefit pension holders.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mental health services fail to ask women about their experience of domestic abuse

Mental health services across England are failing to ask women about experiences of domestic abuse, according to new data in a report published by Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk.

Full story: Family Law Week

New care applications received by Cafcass in July fell slightly

New applications down in each of the last nine months.

Full story: Family Law Week

New private law cases received by Cafcass in July increased by 18 per cent year-on-year

Cafcass received a total of 4,369 new private law cases in July – 18.7 per cent (688 cases) higher than the same month last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ignore emails after 6pm, family court tells lawyers

Barristers should take an hour for lunch and ignore emails before 8am and after 6pm, according to well-being guidance issued by the Central Family Court.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Family court has jurisdiction to review its findings of fact, says Court of Appeal

The family court has the statutory power to review its own decisions and challenges to findings of fact on the basis of further evidence do not have to be by way of appeal only, the Court of Appeal has held.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Stepsister wins legal battle over which parent died first

Entitlement to co-owned estate depended on sequence of John and Marjorie Scarle’s deaths.

Full story: The Guardian

Child-parent abuse doubled in three years, according to police records

Prosecutions fell by 36 per cent over the same period.

Full story: Family Law Week

Launch of Deputy High Court s9(4) support programme 2019

The Judicial Diversity Committee has launched a programme for those interested in applying to be s.9(4) Deputy High Court Judges.

Full story: Family Law Week

No-fault divorce is ‘a marriage-wreckers charter’: Christian Institute

The Christian Institute says that the government's "approach to no-fault divorce is a marriage-wreckers [sic] charter".

Full story: Family Law Week

Children at risk of sexual exploitation need better support: report

Children constantly moved around social care system are more likely to be vulnerable to CSE.

Full story: Family Law Week

Britain's biggest ever divorce case as Russian oligarch's ex-wife brings claim in London

Britain's biggest ever divorce case is set for the High Court after a Russian oligarch's wife launched a legal bid to claim a third of his £15 billion fortune.

Full story: The Telegraph

DfE names councils to receive family support funds

As part of the DfE's Supporting Families; Investing in Practice programme, family drug and alcohol courts (FDACs) and family group conferencing services will be launched in more areas.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Social services: Child in care lived in 57 different places

A child lived in 57 different places while in contact with social services, according to "troubling" research into the care system.

Full story: BBC News

Cohabiting couples fastest growing family type – ONS

Office for National Statistics data shows 25% rise in cohabiting couple families in past decade.

Full story: The Guardian

Same-sex couples living together up by 50%

The number of same-sex couples living together in the UK rose by more than 50% in the three years to 2018, official statistics reveal.

Full story: BBC News

Call for 'significant changes' to special guardianship orders

A review has urged that "significant changes" should be made to guidance on special guardianship orders, including a requirement that the child has been looked after by the proposed carer.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Appeal allows stand-still agreement on claim 17 months out of time

The Court of Appeal has overturned a decision to throw out a widow’s delayed application to claim from her late husband’s estate.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Significant increase in number of older children and teenagers going into care

A significant increase in the number of older children and teenagers going into state care in England over the last five years has affected the stability of the system, the children’s commissioner has said.

Full story: Care Appointments

Domestic abuse victim to go into hiding as ex freed after six months

A woman who was left with life-changing injuries after being beaten by her ex-partner says she will go into hiding when he is released from prison after serving six months.

Full story: The Guardian

UK’s top judge calls for donations to legal support charity

Lady Hale’s appeal for support likely to reignite controversy over cuts to legal aid.

Full story: The Guardian

Judge voices concern after ‘highly-disturbed’ 11-year-old boy restrained by police

A High Court judge has voiced concern after a “slight” and “highly-disturbed” epileptic 11-year-old boy was handcuffed and placed in leg restraints by police for an “extended period”.

Full story: Care Appointments

Annual FGM statistics released

Local Government Association calls for renewal of National FGM Centre’s funding.

Full story: Family Law Week

Divorcee granted injunction against ex-husband's holding company

The High Court in England has granted an injunction against the holding company to which a wealthy Russian businessman transferred ownership of a luxury yacht in order to avoid enforcement of a £500 million divorce settlement, preventing the company from moving the yacht from where it is docked in Dubai.

Full story: Out-Law

Judge orders special arrangements for girl’s Egypt trip amid FGM fears

A High Court judge has said special arrangements must be made to allow a two-year-old girl thought to be at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) to travel to Egypt.

Full story: Care Appointments

Separated migrant children to access legal aid more easily

Draft legislation amending LASPO laid.

Full story: Family Law Week

Robert Buckland QC appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Robert Buckland QC MP was appointed as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice on 24 July 2019.

Full story: Family Law Week

Lord Reed appointed next President of Supreme Court

Three new Justices also appointed.

Full story: Family Law Week

President offers ‘profound thanks’ to all involved in the family justice system

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has addressed a letter of 'profound' thanks to every judge, magistrate, HMCTS staff member, civil servant, CAFCASS officer, social work and lawyer involved in the Family Justice system and Court of Protection in England and Wales.

Full story: Family Law Week

Parents' bid to get daughter treated goes to High Court

A family's fight to take their ill daughter to Italy for treatment will be heard at the High Court in September.

Full story: BBC News

Rise in knives and blades found at London family courts

Thousands of knives and sharp objects are being confiscated annually at London family courts, with campaigners saying it showed how "desensitised" some people were to carrying weapons.

Full story: BBC News

Children’s services’ ‘fundamental lack of understanding’ of domestic abuse risks slammed by case review

Social workers involved with Gloucestershire couple where man later killed baby failed to explore criminal history or injuries to mother.

Full story: Community Care

Assessing risk of harm to children and parents in private law children cases

A public call for evidence on how the family courts protect children and parents in private law children cases concerning domestic abuse and other serious offences.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Domestic abuse survivors invited to shape future of family court

Survivors of domestic abuse and other harmful conduct are being invited to share their experiences of how well the family courts protects them and their children in private family law proceedings.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Judge highlights ‘serious procedural problem’ in efforts to prevent forced marriage

A High Court judge says guidance may be needed to solve a “serious procedural problem” related to efforts to prevent forced marriage.

Full story: Care Appointments

Woman wins right to late partner's military pension in landmark ruling

A woman has won the right to her late partner's military pension in a landmark ruling for unmarried couples.

Full story: BBC News

Judge decides woman has mental capacity to consent to sex with husband of 25 years

A judge has decided against ruling that a woman with learning difficulties is no longer able to consent to making love with her husband of more than 25 years.

Full story: Care Appointments

Domestic abuse report exposes hidden side of rural life

A "deeply hidden and disturbing side to rural life" has been laid bare by an 18-month inquiry into domestic abuse in the English countryside.

Full story: BBC News

Consultation in relation to the treatment of Calderbank offers when determining issues relating to costs

This consultation seeks views as to whether the Family Procedure Rule 2010 should be amended in relation to the treatment of Calderbank offers when determining issues relating to costs.

Full story: Ministry of Justice and Family Procedure Rule Committee

Transgender man who gave birth loses high court privacy ruling

Guardian journalist loses right to anonymity in legal action seeking to be registered as father.

Full story: The Guardian

“Landmark moment” as Domestic Abuse Bill introduced to Parliament

Domestic Abuse Bill to receive first reading in the House of Commons.

Full story: GOV.UK

Councils can investigate parents’ complaints without consent of minors

Ombudsman clarifies local authority’s obligation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Refuge awarded grant to run National Domestic Violence Helpline

Domestic abuse charity Refuge has been awarded a grant to operate a helpline to provide confidential advice for domestic abuse victims.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge who approved abortion did not factor in vulnerable woman’s feelings

A judge who gave specialists permission to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman with learning disabilities did not pay enough heed to her feelings, appeal judges have said.

Full story: Care Appointments

Trend of falling care applications continues

Numbers of care applications have fallen again for the first quarter of this year, new figures show.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Heterosexual couples may be allowed to convert marriages to civil unions

Ministers in England and Wales are considering how to extend civil partnerships.

Full story: The Guardian

Hale risks political storm by questioning legislation before parliament

The president of the Supreme Court has taken the constitutionally unusual step of publicly criticising a bill that is making its way through parliament.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Judge moves to protect sisters living in Africa after social workers raise concerns

A High Court judge in London has taken steps to protect two sisters living more than 4,000 miles away in Africa after social workers said they were at risk.

Full story: Care Appointments

Council admits unlawful practice in turning away homeless children from care

Essex County Council breaches duty under Children Act section 20.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social workers concerned about child confidentiality in family court reporting

BASW publishes response to draft guidance on reporting in the Family Courts.

Full story: Family Law Week

Court of Protection issues ruling in test case on appointment of personal welfare deputies

A Court of Protection judge has clarified the circumstances in which family members may become personal welfare deputies for people aged over 18, calling for the Code of Practice under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to be redrafted.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Judge approves blood transfusion for gravely ill baby son of Jehovah’s witness

A High Court judge has ruled that a sick baby whose mother is a Jehovah’s Witness should have a blood transfusion.

Full story: Care Appointments

Henry VIII powers not appropriate: disagreement over divorce bill

Difference of opinion has emerged among family practitioners today over the government's bill seeking to make the divorce process less acrimonious, as MPs began taking a closer look at the proposed legislation.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

New good practice guide addresses shortfall in understanding of how to treat pensions on divorce

An essential guide to the treatment of pensions on divorce has been published today by the Pension Advisory Group. The long awaited report brings guidance to family judges, lawyers and pension experts encouraging fairer settlements and helping to manage liability.

Full story: Nuffield Foundation

Wealthy divorcee sues lover by serving legal papers on him using WhatsApp

A divorcee already worth £90 million has won the right to fight to sue her former lover in the UK over tens of millions of assets after serving court papers on him via WhatsApp.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family Court Statistics Quarterly: January to March 2019

Quarterly data on the 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

Doctors can give girl from Jehovah’s Witness family blood transfusion, judge rules

A High Court judge has ruled that doctors can give a sick five-year-old girl from a Jehovah’s Witness family a blood transfusion.

Full story: Care Appointments

Child Maintenance Service: August 2013 to March 2019 (experimental)

Experimental statistics on cases processed under the 2012 statutory child maintenance scheme administered by the Child Maintenance Service.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics: March 2019

Quarterly statistics on the progress of the Child Support Agency (CSA) child support schemes to March 2019.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Child maintenance arrangements made after speaking to CM Options, March to April 2019

Child maintenance outcomes for parents that have spoken to Child Maintenance (CM) Options, data from parents surveyed in March to April 2019.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Anorexic teenager can be moved to specialist unit against her wishes, says judge

An anorexic teenager whose weight has dropped to four-and-a-half stone can be taken from home against her wishes and moved to a specialist unit, a judge has ruled.

Full story: Care Appointments

Justice Secretary admits new divorce laws likely to lead to spike in marriages ending

The Justice Secretary has admitted that reforms to divorce laws are likely to lead to a spike in the number of marriages ending.

Full story: Care Appointments

Judge sets out limits of using ‘inherent jurisdiction’ to deprive liberty in gang member case

Court turns down council's attempt to detain 17-year-old involved in gang violence and believed to be at risk of attack.

Full story: Community Care

Judges overturn 'forced abortion' ruling

A woman has won an appeal against a court ruling that would have seen her mentally ill daughter forced to have an abortion.

Full story: BBC News

Judge gives doctors go-ahead to abort vulnerable woman’s baby

A judge has given doctors the go-ahead to perform an abortion on a pregnant mentally-ill woman.

Full story: Care Appointments

McFarlane tells family lawyers: don't do more than a full day's work

Tweets highlighting unreasonable judicial behaviour are likely to be referred to local leadership judges, the president of the family division has warned, after reading two social media posts last weekend about judges.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Family Justice Panel update

Panel members confirmed to steer call for evidence on how the family courts protect children and parents in cases of domestic abuse and other serious offences.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Doctors ask Court of Protection judge to approve abortion for mentally-ill woman

Doctors want a judge in a specialist court to allow them to perform an abortion on a mentally-ill woman who is 22 weeks pregnant.

Full story: Care Appointments

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill: What does research tell us?

The Nuffield Foundation has published a new briefing note, authored by Professor Liz Trinder, ahead of the second reading of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill which is scheduled in the House of Commons on Tuesday 25 June.

Full story: Nuffield Foundation

Extension of the Financial Remedies Courts project to 8 new zones is a success

Today, Wednesday 19th June 2019, a press release was issued from the Judiciary of England and Wales, written by Mr Justice Mostyn acting as the National Lead Judge for the Financial Remedies Courts project.

Full story: Class Legal

Judge rejects application by Official Solicitor for council to pay costs in s.21A proceedings

A Court of Protection judge has rejected an application by the Official Solicitor (OS), acting as litigation friend, for the London Borough of Harrow to pay its costs in proceedings under Section 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Woman who has had seven children taken away is pregnant again, judge told

A woman who has had seven children removed from her care is pregnant again, a family court judge has been told.

Full story: Care Appointments

President issues guidance on forms of order in children cases

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has published guidance on Forms of Orders in Children Cases, for judicial and practitioner's information.

Full story: Family Law Week

Campaigners call for shared parenting presumption in the law

Campaigners for shared parental rights have called for a presumption in law that children will spend roughly equal time with their parents following a separation or divorce, after a YouGov survey suggested the majority of the public agrees.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Two-year-old who needed major surgery after stepfather attack to live with father

A two-year-old boy who needed major surgery after being kicked and punched by a man his mother lived with should move to his father’s home, a High Court judge says.

Full story: Care Appointments

Man gets suspended jail term for online post identifying children taken into care

A man whose children were taken from his care has been given a suspended nine-month jail term by a judge after posting material online which identified the youngsters.

Full story: Care Appointments

Social workers halt four-year attempt to teach young mother parenting skills

Social workers have halted a four-year attempt to teach a woman who gave birth when she was a teenager how to be a good parent.

Full story: Care Appointments

New care applications received by Cafcass in May fell by 11 per cent

Cafcass received a total of 1,152 new care applications in April – 11.5 per cent lower (149 applications) than in the same month last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

New private law cases received by Cafcass in May up by 8 per cent year-on-year

Cafcass received a total of 3,950 new private law cases in May – 8.5 per cent (311 cases) higher than the same month last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

End to divorce ‘blame game’ moves closer

Biggest shake up of divorce laws in 50 years aimed at reducing conflict and supporting children and families.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Expected implementation date for DoLS replacement model announced by care minister

Liberty Protection Safeguards due to come into force in October 2020, though existing Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards authorisations will remain in place until they expire.

Full story: Community Care

Disabled man blinks at judge to tell him he wants to be allowed to go home

A severely disabled man who communicates through blinking has won his court case to leave hospital and live at home.

Full story: Metro

Social services halt family court case after experts say baby injury was accident

Social services bosses have halted family court proceedings against the parents of an injured baby after specialists concluded that the little boy had probably been accidentally hurt.

Full story: Care Appointments

New Official Solicitor and Public Trustee appointed

Sarah Castle has been appointed to the role of Official Solicitor and Public Trustee.

Full story: Family Law Week

Litigants will not be forced online, government pledges

The government has no intention of making court processes exclusively online and so there is no need to give way to demands to guarantee this in primary legislation, peers were told this week.

Full story: Legal Futures

Judge refuses to place youth at risk from gang violence in secure accommodation

Council social service bosses have failed to persuade a High Court judge to place a 17-year-old youth at risk because of his involvement in gang activity in secure accommodation.

Full story: Care Appointments

Secure children's home placements plummet

The number of children placed in secure children's homes has fallen to its lowest ever level, thanks to a significant reduction in youth justice placements, new figures show.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Domestic abuse survivors 'more at risk of serious mental illness'

Women who experience domestic abuse are three times more likely to develop a serious mental illness, Birmingham University research suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Government tackled over release of domestic abuse suspects without bail curbs

Victims of domestic violence must not be placed at risk because of uncertainty around the use of police bail leading to suspects being released without restrictions, a former champion has warned.

Full story: Care Appointments

Campaigners call for reforms to surrogacy laws

Consultation urges creation of national register to allow those raised by surrogate parents to find out about their origins.

Full story: The Guardian

Woman with brain damage after heroin overdose should be allowed to die – judge

A woman who suffered severe brain damage after taking a heroin overdose five years ago should be allowed to die, a judge in a specialist court has ruled.

Full story: Care Appointments

Nine-year-old girl must leave home due to risk posed by ‘very dangerous’ brothers

A nine-year-old girl whose two “dangerous” older brothers pose a risk to her must leave home and live with a foster carer, a family court judge has decided.

Full story: Care Appointments

Boy can continue to live with grandparents despite social services concerns

A couple have won a family court fight over the care of a six-year-old grandson who has lived with them for almost all of his life.

Full story: Care Appointments

Legal aid: change of process in family high cost cases from 3 June 2019

The high cost family case planning process has been changed.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children taken from mother after social workers concern about partner’s violent past

Five children have been taken from their mother after social workers raised concern about her partner’s violent past.

Full story: Care Appointments

High Court rejects appeal by couple jailed for harassing judge

The High Court has rejected an appeal by a couple jailed for harassing the family judge who heard their “long and contentious litigation” over an adoption.

Full story: Legal Futures

Family courts failing victims of abuse and rape, say experts calling for inquiry

Risk assessment is inadequate and victims are told to limit number of allegations, letter to MoJ states.

Full story: The Guardian

Family courts being ‘overwhelmed’ by children’s services cases, says senior judge

Family courts are overwhelmed with applications from council social services bosses wanting decisions relating to the care of children, a senior judge has said.

Full story: Care Appointments

Immigration policy on assessing age of young asylum seekers found to be unlawful

Policy risks children being unlawfully detained as adults.

Full story: Family Law Week

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 comes into force

On Sunday, 26 May, the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 came into force.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family Justice Council: Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship

This interim guidance is issued by the Family Justice Council with the approval of the Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, in response to some of the issues identified in Re P-S (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 1407.

Full guidance: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Forced marriage unit reports spike in cases as awareness rises

Goverment body gave advice or support in 1,764 cases in 2018, up 47% on previous year.

Full story: The Guardian

Family court judge refuses to reopen FGM case after man was cleared in criminal case

A family court judge who concluded that a man played a part in subjecting a three-year-old girl to female genital mutilation (FGM) has refused to reopen the case.

Full story: Care Appointments

New Cafcass chief executive announced

Jacky Tiotto will replace Anthony Douglas head of the family court advisory service.

Full story: Community Care

£15 million for project to reduce numbers of children in care

The new programme will be modelled on Family Drug and Alcohol Courts and Family Group Conferencing.

Full story: Community Care

Spotlight on child protection in family courts

A panel of experts will review how the family courts protect children and parents in cases of domestic abuse and other serious offences, Ministers announced today (Tuesday 21 May).

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 becomes law

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 received Royal Assent on 16 May and became law on that day.

Full story: Family Law Week

Thousands of new foster families needed this year

Over 8,500 foster families are needed across the UK over the next year according to new figures published by The Fostering Network.

Full story: Family Law Week

Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill receives second reading

The Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on 14 May.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government’s plans for domestic abuse do not reflect scale of the issue

ADCS President calls for ‘public health style’ response.

Full story: Family Law Week

‘Nearly 1,500 children in England are locked up by the state’: Children’s Commissioner

‘A third of a billion a year is spent on 1,465 children’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge rules mothers’ actions were ‘blatant and premeditated act of child abduction’

An Australian yoga teacher has won a High Court fight with his estranged English partner over the future of their three-year-old daughter.

Full story: Care Appointments

Theresa May rejects calls from 120 MPs for public inquiry into family courts after four children murdered by abusive parents

Prime minister says government believes formal probe into child deaths not 'necessary'.

Full story: The Independent

DoLS replacement bill becomes law ahead of expected implementation in 2020

Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 will introduce Liberty Protection Safeguards to replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

Full story: Community Care

Voices of children overlooked in family courts, says ex-head

Family courts in England and Wales are not properly accommodating children's voices and needs because the government has suggested "it would all cost too much", their former head has said.

Full story: BBC News

Judge raises concern about media coverage of Court of Protection case

A judge in a specialist court who is considering whether a mentally ill woman is still able to consent to make love with her husband of more than 25 years has raised concern about media coverage of the case.

Full story: Care Appointments

New private law cases received by Cafcass in April up by 7 per cent year-on-year

Cafcass received a total of 3,719 new private law cases in April – 7.5% (258 cases) higher than the same month last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

New care applications received by Cafcass in April fell by 2 per cent

Cafcass received a total of 1,084 new care applications in April – 2.3 per cent lower (25 applications) than in the same month last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family President to issue guidance to courts on secure accommodation placements and statutory regime

The President of the Family Division has said he will issue practice guidance to the courts before the end of July so that more can be done to bring secure accommodation placements within the statutory regulatory scheme.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Children killed by parents after court-ordered access

At least four children have been killed in the last five years by a parent with a known history of violence, after a family court ordered they have access to their child, the Victoria Derbyshire programme has found.

Full story: BBC News

Questions raised over future of divorce centres

A question mark has been raised over the future of the government’s regional divorce centres, which have been widely criticised for delays and inefficiencies.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Domestic abuse: PM vows to end 'postcode lottery' for victims

Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to end the "postcode lottery" for victims of domestic abuse.

Full story: BBC News

Judge gives brain injured man go-ahead to marry after assessing his mental capacity

A disabled man in his 20s has been given the go-ahead to marry after telling a judge in a specialist court how he wants a chance to prove that he can “do anything”.

Full story: Care Appointments

Council criticised for failing to support vulnerable children cared under SGO

Remedies agreed with local authority not implemented.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government response to Select Committee’s domestic abuse report published

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has published the Government response to the Committee's report on domestic abuse.

Full story: