I thought it was time to review the state of family law blogging in this country. I'll review every UK family law blog that I'm aware of (if you are aware of any others, please let me know), although I don't intend to be too critical, as I don't think that that would be appropriate - these blogs are written by people in their spare time and provide a free service to other lawyers and members of the public. This post is intended partly as an update, and partly as an introduction for new readers.
Before I begin, a quick word on the state of UK family law blogging. Considering the number of family lawyers on these islands, and the number of people affected by the family justice system, there aren't an awful lot of UK family law blogs. There have been a few recent additions, but there are also several that have suffered from a distinct lack of recent posting. In alphabetical order, these are the ones I know about:
The Ancillary Actuary
We start with something different from the rest. The Ancillary Actuary is a blog by "actuarial and administrative professional services firm" Bradshaw, Dixon and Moore, and "is intended to encourage an exchange of ideas and promote debate about the financial issues that arise in a relationship breakdown". The blog is an extremely useful resource for advisers, particularly upon the complexities surrounding pensions and divorce.
A serious blog by Diane Benussi, senior partner of Benussi & Co, a "niche matrimonial law firm" based in Birmingham. The blog concentrates on dealing with the practical and emotional aspects of relationship breakdown, so is aimed very much at clients rather than lawyers. Some excellent advice is to be found, although it would be a little easier to find it if the posts were arranged by subject matter.
Written by barrister Jacqui Gilliatt, Bloody Relations comprises a mix of serious and not-so-serious posts on all aspects of family law, including public law matters. Contains information and advice not just for lawyers but also for non-lawyers, such as this excellent post, which should be compulsory reading for anyone involved in family court proceedings. One of my favourites.
I had feared that this blog was moribund, but there have been a couple of recent posts. Written by Sophia Cannon, the blog is a "perspective of an English Child Law barrister, with an urban London practice, specialising with non-traditional families with reference to family, pregnancy and child law, including crimes committed against vulnerable adults, young people and children". Hopefully, Sophia will find time to post more frequently in the future.
Clarendon Chambers Family Law Team Update
Written (unsurprisingly) by the family law team at Clarendon Chambers, this blog started last September and hasn't been updated since early December. I hope it hasn't 'died a death', as this could be a very useful resource for all family lawyers.
Written by Southampton solicitor Lynne Bastow, Divorce Solicitor was, as I recall, the second UK family law blog, and it remains one of the best. Lynne writes primarily for clients and, like Diane Benussi, deals particularly with the practical and emotional aspects of relationship breakdown, albeit in a very different style. This is another one of my favourites, despite the fact that Lynne appears to have a sticky exclamation-mark key on her keyboard!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To my knowledge, this is still the only Scottish family law blog, and it's not even written by a lawyer (perhaps Scottish lawyers are all too busy to blog). The author, 'Fiona', works in the engineering industry, but is also a divorcée, which I presume accounts for her interest in family law. She started the blog at the beginning of January and has regularly updated it since with interesting content, particularly (of course) relating to the Scottish legal system.
This was started in January as part of an ambitious project to provide a place where family lawyers share their knowledge. Unfortunately, it's hardly been updated since then, and a page on the blog aggregating feeds from other family law blogs has been 'beaten to it' by Nick Holmes' Family Law Pipe. I hope the unnamed author (apparently a recently qualified solicitor) hasn't lost enthusiasm.
Family Law Matters
Uniquely amongst UK family law blogs, this blog is integral to the website of SpainWilliams LLP, a specialist family law firm in Kent. The content comprises mainly legal advice for clients going through separation and divorce. An interesting concept, and one that I expect will be emulated by other firms.
Family Law Week Blog
This blog complements the excellent and extremely useful Family Law Week, which provides training and free legal news and case reports. The content comprises updates on family law, many of which are written by the energetic Jacqui Gilliatt of Bloody Relations, above.
Being too modest to comment upon his own work, John has asked me to say something nice about Family Lore. Something nice? Good to see that he still has a sense of humour after two-plus years and 550 posts. I've tried to keep him on the straight and narrow, but sometimes he just won't listen to me. Family Lore is a mix of posts that I suppose may be of interest to some, and other rubbish that I wouldn't touch without a liberal sprinkling of Go-Cat.
Judith's Divorce Blog
Written by Judith Middleton of Darlington firm Latimer Hinks, this blog has a quite unique feel about it. Although some of the posts are serious in nature, many are quite whimsical, flowing from news stories or incidents in Judith's personal life. Imaginative, informative and often amusing - what more could you ask of a blog? Another of my favourites.
Marilyn Stowe Blog
A very professional blog, by solicitor Marilyn Stowe of Stowe Family Law LLP. Unusually, the blog was created by a website design company, although I don't know whether they also created the blogging software, or just a theme for 'off the shelf' software. Either way, they have achieved a polished look that compliments Marilyn's thoughtful posts on serious legal topics.
Last but not least comes Pink Tape, by barrister Lucy Reed. Very well written, Pink Tape contains posts on a wide variety of family law topics, often with a self-deprecating good humour. Unfortunately, Lucy hasn't been posting that much recently, partly because she has foolishly decided to start a family. I hope she will be able to blog more frequently again, as I really enjoy her writing, although I do have one small request: could you put a blank line between paragraphs?
Right, after that, I'm off to have a rest. I hope I haven't offended anyone too much...