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: Family Law Week

New programme to protect children at risk of exploitation

Children most at risk of being targeted by gangs or violent crime will benefit from better support from specialists across education, health, social care, police and the voluntary sector in a programme launched by Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

Full story: Family Law Week

Research finds missing children are being let down

‘Opportunities to safeguard children missing from home or care are being missed by councils’.

Full story: Family Law Week

ECF evidence requirements for separated migrant children

Applications no longer need to be supported by detailed evidence.

Full story: Family Law Week

Council halt plans to take children from couple who displayed gender identity issues

Council social services have halted plans to take children from the care of a middle-aged couple.

Full story: Care Appointments

Judge approves council action to remove child from woman who was herself adopted

A woman who was adopted as a child must have her son taken from her care because she cannot meet his needs, a family court judge has ruled.

Full story: Care Appointments

Latest View from the President’s Chambers sets out need for change in Public and Private Children’s Law

Latest update gives details on the Public and Private Law Working Groups, a financial remedy court update, divorce service centres and the HMCTS Reform Programme.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Video hearings tested in domestic abuse cases

Domestic abuse victims may seek injunctions more easily and with less stress as part of a test into the use of fully-video court hearings.

Full story: HM Courts & Tribunals Service

President of the Family Division releases draft guidance on reporting in the Family Courts

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has released draft guidance, for consultation, on reporting in the Family Courts.

Full story: Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Injured child’s case to be reviewed after senior judges raise concern over outcome

A family court case centred on a child thought to have been injured by an adult caring for her is to be reviewed after senior judges raised concerns.

Full story: Care Appointments

Solicitor MP decries no-fault divorce and warns of spike

A solicitor MP has dissented from prevailing opinion on no-fault divorce by speaking out against the government’s proposed reforms.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Even more people set to benefit from online court reform

New legislation making it even easier for court users to apply for small money claims or divorce online was unveiled in the House of Lords today (1 May 2019).

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Children's services 'at breaking point', MPs say

Children's services in England are at breaking point and need a £3.1bn minimum funding boost by 2025, MPs say.

Full story: BBC News

Barristers can act as deputies, Court of Protection rules

Barristers can act as professional property and affairs deputies for people who lack mental capacity, although it is not seen as a legal service, the Court of Protection has ruled.

Full story: Legal Futures

Private pension wealth 'biggest asset in millionaires’ divorces'

Succession Wealth analyses ONS data.

Full story: Family Law Week

Jayden Parkinson murder: Mother calls for 'domestic abuse register'

A woman whose daughter was killed by an abusive ex-boyfriend is campaigning for people who commit domestic violence to be placed on a register.

Full story: BBC News

Boy must leave mother with 'hateful feelings' for father, judge rules

Eight-year-old has to live with father to avoid significant emotional harm, parents told.

Full story: The Guardian

Legal aid changes to streamline family work

New approach from 19 April 2019.

Full story: Family Law Week

'Not good enough' - Munby criticises regional divorce centre errors

Days after the most senior family judge apologised to practitioners for delays and inefficiencies at the regional divorce centres, his outspoken predecessor has criticised HM Courts & Tribunals Service for being 'unable or unwilling' to resource them adequately.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Court of Appeal sets aside 'absurd' care decision after 'shambolic' case

The Court of Appeal has delivered an excoriating assessment of a judge’s ‘unprecedented’ summary dismissal of care proceedings at an interim procedural stage.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Legal Aid Agency guidance on interpreters at court clarified

The Legal Aid Agency has revised its Guidance on Remuneration of Expert Witnesses to clarify payments for legally aided interpreters at court.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child Maintenance Service: August 2013 to December 2018 (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

Separated families population statistics: April 2014 to March 2017

Estimates of the separated families population and their child maintenance arrangements. Analysis also shows separated families with no arrangement.

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Judge decides ‘closeted’ boy, 15, caused ‘genital injuries’ to seven-year-old sister

A 15-year-old boy who said he spent most of his time sleeping, playing computer games or watching horror films caused “genital injuries” to his seven-year-old sister, a High Court judge has decided.

Full story: Care Appointments

Human Rights Committee probes Government on Draft Domestic Abuse Bill

Chair writes to Ministers responsible for the Bill.

Full story: Family Law Week

Outcomes for children looked after by local authorities: 31 March 2018

The Department for Education has published data on the outcomes for children who have been looked after continuously for at least twelve months at 31 March 2018, by local authorities in England.

Full story: Family Law Week

New projects funded to strengthen families and keep children out of care

DfE announces £84 million investment to mark 30th anniversary of Children Act.

Full story: Family Law Week

New care applications received by Cafcass in March fell by nearly 10 per cent

New applications have fallen by almost 5 per cent over the last year.

Full story: Family Law Week

New private law cases received by Cafcass in March rose by 18 per cent

Highest March demand on record.

Full story: Family Law Week

The implementation and delivery of the family court settlement conferences pilot: a process evaluation

Research to understand the views and experiences of professionals taking part in the settlement conferences pilot.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

The Jurisdiction and Judgments (Family) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2019

These Regulations are made in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies in retained EU law (in particular to address reciprocal arrangements which no longer exist and are no longer appropriate) arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.

Family court judge had already blamed man cleared of FGM by Old Bailey jury

A family court judge had already blamed a man who was accused of subjecting a three-year-girl to female genital mutilation (FGM), despite him being later cleared by a criminal court jury.

Full story: Care Appointments

Reform of the legal requirements for divorce

This report provides a summary of the feedback received through the consultation and the government’s response.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

New divorce law to end the blame game

New legislation to overhaul divorce law and reduce family conflict.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

New projects to strengthen families and keep children out of care

£84m for projects that support families, marking 30th anniversary of the Children Act.

Full story: Department for Education

Don't let Brexit hold up divorce reform, says family justice body

The head of the leading family justice body in England and Wales has urged government to prioritise vital divorce law reform to reduce conflict between separating couples.

Full story: Resolution

High Court to investigate how three sisters under 10 developed sexual infection

A High Court judge is to investigate after three sisters all aged under 10 developed a sexually transmitted infection.

Full story: Care Appointments

Sir Andrew McFarlane addresses Resolution Conference on ‘Interesting Times’

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division, addressing the Resolution Conference on 5 April, took the opportunity to offer "an update on the major changes which are currently being developed and which will have a major impact on every aspect of family law during the next twelve months".

Full story: Family Law Week

Woman vows to keep son in ‘line of sight’ amid court of protection hearings

A woman has promised to keep her son in “line of sight” when he leaves home while a judge considers whether public protection measures need to be put in place.

Full story: Care Appointments

Nuffield Foundation appoints Board and Director of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

New data partnership established to examine how the family justice system is working.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children: surrogacy – single people and parental orders: Research briefing

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper considering surrogacy and parental orders.

Full story: Family Law Week

Staffordshire residents deprived of liberty without proper assessment

Thousands of vulnerable people may have been treated unlawfully: Ombudsman.

Full story: Family Law Week

Legal Aid Agency publishes updated Guidance on Remuneration of Expert Witnesses

The Legal Aid Agency has published an updated version of the Guidance on the Remuneration of Expert Witnesses. The guidance covers fees, prior authority and provisions for specific types of expert.

Full story: Family Law Week

High Court’s new judicial assistant scheme

The High Court of England and Wales is launching a new Judicial Assistants scheme.

Full story: Family Law Week

Vulnerable woman writes ‘incredibly moving’ statement allowing daughter’s adoption

A woman with mental health difficulties has been praised by a family court judge after deciding to let her toddler daughter be adopted because she cannot meet the youngster’s needs.

Full story: Care Appointments

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

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act 2019 received Royal Assent last week, paving the way for the first opposite-sex civil partnerships to take place in England and Wales by the end of the year, as well as ushering in further reforms relating to the family.

Full story: Family Law Hub

Government ditches plan for deprivation of liberty definition in DoLS replacement bill

U-turn follows House of Lords’ rejection of government’s proposed definition and comes as Parliament seeks to agree final version of legislation to Liberty Protection Safeguards.

Full story: Community Care

Judge to consider if husband can maintain intimate relationship with vulnerable wife

A judge in a specialist court might have to decide whether a man can keep making love to his wife of more than 20 years.

Full story: Care Appointments

Parliamentary inquiry launched into ‘sent away’ children

‘Record numbers of children go missing after being farmed out to distant children’s homes’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Man sentenced for controlling and coercive behaviour against mother

A man who forced his elderly mother to fund his drug habit has been sentenced for controlling and coercive behaviour.

Full story: Family Law Week

Practical Handbook on the Operation of the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention

Now available online in 24 languages.

Full story: Family Law Week

Legal Aid Agency publishes updated guidance on Family High Cost Cases

The Legal Aid Agency has published an updated version of its guidance on Family High Cost Cases.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family law disputes involving EU after Brexit: guidance for legal professionals

Guidance for legal professionals on cross-border family law disputes (including divorce and child maintenance) after Brexit if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Marriages in England and Wales: 2016

The latest marriage figures were released today.

Full story: Family Law

Couple whose baby suffered head injury can resume family life as council litigation halted

A couple have been given the go-ahead to resume family life nine months after council social services bosses began family court litigation as a result of their baby son suffering a head injury.

Full story: Care Appointments

Family Court Statistics Quarterly: October to December 2018

Quarterly and annual 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

Judge rules man should lose leg 'against his wishes'

A mentally-ill man who could die if his badly-infected left foot is not amputated should have the operation against his wishes, a judge has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Government backs down over 'myth-busting' guide on child protection

Children’s charities and social work groups had launched an application for judicial review.

Full story: The Guardian

‘Victims of the justice system’ left to rely on free help from lawyers let down by courts, judiciary and legal aid, blasts former top family judge

Errors by courts and judges that left a couple’s final divorce decree potentially void was exposed in a judgment from the former head of the family division, who slammed the state for “washing its hands” of the problem it created by not granting legal aid to the parties to resolve their case.

Full story: Legal Cheek

Council seeks to arrange home care for woman ‘detained’ in hospital for six months

Council social services bosses say they are trying to arrange a care package for a woman with mental health difficulties after a judge said she had “effectively been detained” in hospital for six months because her home was not fit to live in.

Full story: Care Appointments

Judge asked to reconsider social services evidence relating to death of 10-year-old

Council social services bosses are waiting for a High Court judge to make findings about the cause of death of a 10-year-old girl whose body was found in her bedroom more than two years ago.

Full story: Care Appointments

Stalking Protection Act 2019 comes into force

The Stalking Protection Act 2019 received Royal Assent on 15 March 2019. It comes into force immediately.

Full story: Family Law Week

Brexit Secretary responds to Children’s Commissioners’ ‘No Deal’ concerns

‘Arrangements are in place to ensure protection of children when UK leaves the EU’.

Full story: Family Law Week

Effective co-parenting is key to keeping children out of the courts: Cafcass

“Public health approach would help prevent cases from reaching crisis point”.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge who banged her head on a desk during a court hearing was being 'sarcastic and condescending', investigation rules

A “sarcastic and condescending” judge who banged her head on her desk after a member of the public appeared before her at a family court hearing has been reprimanded.

Full story: The Telegraph

Woman lied about husband’s abuse and tried to exclude him from child’s life

A woman told a series of lies about her estranged husband’s behaviour and maliciously tried to exclude him from their five-year-old son’s life, a High Court judge has decided.

Full story: Care Appointments

Troubled Families Programme 'cuts number of children in care'

The government's Troubled Families Programme is cutting numbers of children in care by up to a third, new analysis from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government suggests.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Vulnerable woman with complex health problems cannot leave care facility, judge decides

A 56-year-old woman with complex physical and mental health problems cannot be allowed to leave a care facility and return to her flat, a judge in a specialist court has ruled.

Full story: Care Appointments

Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2019 comes into force

The Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2019 received Royal Assent on 15 March 2019. It comes into force immediately.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge argues ‘transparency’ outweighs risk in naming council in child protection cases

A family court judge has spelled out why councils should be named in rulings on cases involving applications for children to be taken from the care of their parents.

Full story: Care Appointments

Court of Protection should not summarily dismiss cases where liberty is at stake, says senior judge

Court of Protection judges should not summarily dismiss cases where someone’s liberty is at stake, Mr Justice Hayden, Vice President of the court, has said.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

No parental role for father who was part of ‘predatory’ group that sexually abused teen

A teenage girl groomed and sexually exploited by a group of “predatory men” is embroiled in family court litigation after giving birth.

Full story: Care Appointments

Child Support Agency case closure statistics: June 2014 to December 2018

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

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

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

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

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Mother unaware that estranged child has cancer must stay in dark, judge says

A woman who does not know that her estranged teenage child has cancer must remain in the dark, a High Court judge says.

Full story: Care Appointments

Judge uses ‘plain English’ text to explain decision to woman with learning difficulties

A family court judge has used plain English in a bid to help a woman with learning difficulties understand why a baby must be taken from her care.

Full story: Care Appointments

Master grants Inheritance Act application made 25 years out of time

The High Court has granted permission to bring a claim under the Inheritance Act – despite it being issued some 25 years and nine months after the deadline for doing so.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

The Civil Partnership and Marriage (Same Sex Couples) (Jurisdiction and Judgments) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

These Regulations are made in exercise of the powers in section 8 of, and paragraph 21 of Schedule 7 to, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively in England and Wales and Northern Ireland and other deficiencies arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (and in particular, the deficiencies under paragraphs (c), (d) and (g) of section 8(2) and paragraph (a) of section 8(3)).

Special guardianship assessments ‘rushed’ by 26-week care proceedings timescale, study finds

Professionals tell Lancaster University researchers of 'consistent concerns' about impact of deadline on rigour of process around special guardianship and supervision orders.

Full story: Community Care

Police guilty of gross misconduct in domestic abuse murder case

Police officers risk losing their jobs and pensions if they fail to properly investigate domestic abuse including stalking, harassment and coercive control following a landmark misconduct ruling.

Full story: The Observer

The Jurisdiction and Judgments (Family) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

These Regulations are made in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies in retained EU law (in particular to address reciprocal arrangements which no longer exist and are no longer appropriate) arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.

Statutory Instrument

Women’s Aid responds to government’s ending violence against women and girls strategy

Refreshed strategy published “to re-affirm government’s commitments”.

Full story: Family Law Week

250 children from 79 women taken into care in West Cumbria

Almost 250 children from just 79 mothers in west Cumbria are in care, with neglect identified as the main reason, figures reveal.

Full story: BBC News

Mother convicted of FGM sentenced to eleven years imprisonment for the offence

The mother of a young girl who became the first person to be convicted of female genital mutilation offences in England and Wales has been sentenced to eleven years imprisonment.

Full story: Family Law Week

Man jailed for controlling and coercive behaviour and beating pregnant girlfriend

A man who repeatedly beat his pregnant partner has been jailed for three years for displaying controlling and coercive behaviour.

Full story: Family Law Week

Civil Partnerships Bill returned to House of Commons to consider amendments

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill has received its third reading.

Full story: Family Law Week

The Family Procedure Rules 2010 and Court of Protection Rules 2017 (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

These Regulations are made in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies (in particular paragraph g of section 8(2)) arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

These Regulations are made in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies in retained EU law (in particular to address reciprocal arrangements which no longer exist and are no longer appropriate) arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Statutory Instrument

£1m boost for male survivors of domestic abuse

Home Office sets out new measures to assist victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

Full story: The Guardian

Mother jailed for contempt after posting family court case details on Facebook

A 54-year-old woman has been jailed after posting information relating to family court litigation on Facebook.

Full story: Care Appointments

Many women fleeing domestic abuse face poverty, report finds

Respondents in England say partners use economic abuse as method of control.

Full story: The Guardian

HMCTS extends court modernisation programme by a year

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has put back completion of the court modernisation programme by a year to 2023, it announced yesterday.

Full story: Legal Futures

Judge calls halt on parties 'stopping the clock' on delays

A widow has been refused permission to claim against the estate of her late husband after filing her application nearly 17 months out of time.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

High Court rejects evidence from law firm ‘whistleblower’

The president of the family division has rejected a wife’s application to admit the statement of a ‘whistleblower’ inside her former husband’s legal team who sent the court privileged information.

Full story: Legal Futures

Domestic abuse victims school priority call

Children whose families have had to move because of domestic violence should have priority for school places, says a charity report.

Full story: BBC News

Judge considers whether wealthy widow with dementia should get chance to go home

A judge has been asked to decide whether a wealthy widow who has dementia should be given the chance to leave a care facility and be looked after at home.

Full story: Care Appointments

James Bulger's father loses Jon Venables identity challenge

The father of James Bulger has lost a legal challenge to try to change a lifelong anonymity order for one of his son's killers.

Full story: BBC News

Supreme Court grants permission to appeal in Villiers v Villiers

Case concerns jurisdiction between England and Wales, and Scotland in maintenance proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

One in five children under supervision orders harmed again within five years

Study in England finds children placed with relatives have lower rates of return to court.

Full story: The Guardian

Speech by Mostyn J on spousal maintenance published

The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website has recently published the text of a speech given by Mr Justice Mostyn on the subject of spousal maintenance.

Full story: Family Law Week

Police response to victims of domestic abuse continues to improve

Improvements found in how the police identify, respond to and support victims.

Full story: Family Law Week

Compensation scheme opened up for more victims of child sexual abuse

‘Same-roof’ rule of criminal injury compensation scheme to be abolished.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children’s Commissioner calls for improved safeguarding of children in gangs

Study published on children in England who are gang members.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ministry of Justice grant to support victims of domestic abuse in family courts

Government has awarded £900,000 to organisations based in some family courts to provide in-court support to victims of domestic abuse.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Sick girl to be treated against parents' wishes, judge rules

Doctors should treat a sick 13-month-old girl and give her a "chance" at life against the wishes of her parents, a High Court judge has ruled.

Full story: BBC News

Domestic violence in London rises 63% in seven years

Mayor Sadiq Khan announces £15m boost after cuts to services left them at ‘breaking point’.

Full story: The Guardian

Rising numbers of domestic abuse suspects released without bail conditions

Rising numbers of domestic abuse suspects are being released without restrictions after a steep fall in the use of police bail, a watchdog has revealed.

Full story: Care Appointments

Woman who had children taken from her faces jail for sharing case details online

A 54-year-old woman who says her children were unfairly taken from her could be jailed after a judge concluded that she had wrongly posted information relating to family court litigation on Facebook.

Full story: Care Appointments

Judiciary pulls back on ban for fee-charging McKenzie Friends

While “deeply concerned” about the growth in fee-charging McKenzie Friends, the judiciary has failed to decide whether they should be banned – three years after consulting on doing just that.

Full story: Legal Futures

Charity launches legal challenge to protect vulnerable children and young people

Article 39 seeks removal of ‘myth busting’ guide.

Full story: Family Law Week

Civil Partnerships Bill report stage scheduled for 1 March

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill, sponsored by Tim Loughton and Baroness Hodgson of Abinger, is scheduled to proceed to report stage in the House of Lords on 1 March.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care proceedings should not omit assessment of wider family ‘on parents’ say-so’, judge rules

Court rejects father's attempt to keep existence of children hidden from his family in adoption case.

Full story: Community Care

High Court clarifies internet access for vulnerable people

Guidance given in respect of persons who lack mental capacity to use the platforms.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic violence and abuse: help from DWP

A guide for domestic violence and abuse victims about services from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Government faces High Court action over children's rights

A children's charity is taking High Court action against the government over its claims that some protections of children in care are "myths".

Full story: BBC News

Brexit 'could risk children's safety', warn commissioners

Children's safety could be put at risk if the UK leaves the EU without proper plans for child protection, the UK's four children's commissioners warn.

Full story: BBC News

More than 150 children subject of court proceedings amid radicalisation fears

More than 150 children have been have involved in care proceedings in the UK since 2013 over concerns they were in danger of being radicalised, a report has said.

Full story: Care Appointments

Grandparents win child custody after council fail to set out risk with ‘sufficient clarity’

A couple who have cared for their six-year-old grandson since he was born have won a family court fight after council social services bosses said he should be taken from them.

Full story: Care Appointments

Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics: December 2018

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

Full story: Department for Work and Pensions

Country's biggest regional divorce centre hit by record delays

Delays at the country’s biggest regional divorce centre reached unprecedented levels in 2018, figures obtained by the Gazette have revealed.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Girl must live with stranger instead of grandparents, judge rules

Croydon family court judge says blood relationship ‘powerful’ but not ‘definitive’.

Full story: The Independent

Family Drug and Alcohol Courts backed by private donors

A group of private backers has agreed to fund a national unit supporting courts which help parents deal with drug or alcohol addiction so their children are not taken into care.

Full story: BBC News

The Family Procedure Rules 2010 and Court of Protection Rules 2017 (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

The amendments remove provision in the FPR and COPR which relates to powers, processes and orders under EU instruments or international agreements which will no longer be applicable or available when those instruments or agreements are revoked by the Withdrawal Act or the statutory instruments made under it, or in some cases amend such provision where such instruments are retained in an amended form.

Statutory Instrument

“Far removed from fat cats” – High Court praises lawyers

Lawyers acting pro bono in a complex family law case countered the stereotyped image of ‘fat cats’, a High Court judge has said in praising their “commitment to the delivery of justice”.

Full story: Legal Futures

CA: “Bully” judge forced mother to agree to care orders

A judge effectively bullied a mother into agreeing to interim care orders for her children against her wishes, the Court of Appeal has found.

Full story: Legal Futures

Human Rights Committee begins inquiry into children whose mothers are in prison

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has begun an inquiry into children whose mothers are in prison.

Full story: Family Law Week

No-fault divorce to become the law

Long-awaited change will mean couples no longer have to allocate blame or mutually consent to ending marriage.

Full story: The Guardian

Resolution responds to Legal Aid review

Legal Aid review a welcome first step, but more must be done to reverse damage of cuts, say family lawyers.

Full story: Resolution

Government sets out new vision for legal support

A new strategy to help people resolve legal problems at the earliest opportunity and avoid the need for unnecessary court proceedings was unveiled today.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Legal Support Action Plan

The Ministry of Justice has published a Legal Support Action Plan to deliver quicker and easier access to legal support services.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Post-Implementation Review of Part 1 of LASPO

The Ministry of Justice has published an evidence based review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).

Full story: Ministry of Justice

New research: Government urged to reform overly-complex divorce system

New research published today by the Nuffield Foundation reinforces the case for reform of the overly complex divorce system in England and Wales.

Full story: Nuffield Foundation

No-deal Brexit: family lawyers told to seek local advice from EU neighbours

Continuing uncertainty over a no-deal Brexit next month has spurred a fresh wave of guidance for family lawyers who have been told they may need to start seeking advice from local lawyers in other EU member states.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Family law disputes involving EU after Brexit

What to do if you are involved in a family law dispute (including divorce and child maintenance) with someone living in the EU after Brexit.

Full story: Ministry of Justice and Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Surge in parents forced to fight child custody battles with no legal representation

The number of parents forced to represent themselves in child custody battles at family courts has more than doubled in six years in the wake of legal aid cuts.

Full story: The Independent