Thursday, April 09, 2009

UK Family Law Blog Review 2009

It is now more than a year since I did my first review of UK family law blogs, and I thought it was time to check again on the health (or otherwise) of the UK family law 'blogosphere'. In keeping with the season, I shall give this review an Easter theme, and divide the blogs into three categories:

1. Easter Bunnies - Frisky and Fecund

Happily, most of the UK family law blogs that I reviewed last year continue to thrive, and produce regular and original content. Take the Marilyn Stowe Blog for example. Marilyn (with her guest bloggers) continues to write frequent high-quality posts on serious legal topics, such as the recent Paulin case, Mesher and Martin orders and Financial Dispute Resolution appointments. Add this blog to your feed, if you've not done so already.

Another equally active blog is Pink Tape, written by barrister Lucy Reed - at least, it is active again now that Lucy has returned to work following the birth of her son. With a sprinkling of humour, Lucy enlightens us with her inner thoughts on matters such as criticisms of the family justice system, what she might do if the legal aid reforms make it financially impossible to continue practising at the family law bar and whether or not a barrister has a duty to the child(ren) in a case.

Bloody Relations is perhaps not as fecund as it once was, but I will forgive author Jacqui Gilliatt, as she now spends much of her time writing and editing the Family Law Week blog. Between the two, her output is substantial (in both senses of the word), with the Family Law Week blog concentrating (not unsurprisingly) on legal news and Bloody Relations being reserved for more personal comment, such as this recent post on the effect of the proposed fee cuts in family cases.

Over at Judith's Divorce Blog, Judith Middleton continues to post in her own unique quirky style, both delighting and amusing. Take, for example, this post inspired by a simple trip to the supermarket, or this one, about a complete communication breakdown between solicitor and client. Somewhat less frivolous, the Benussi Blog continues to give discreet but useful advice to those going through divorce and matrimonial difficulties, such as this recent post upon the effects of the credit crunch, and this post advising upon how to stave off a divorce.

Divorce Survivor appears to remain, remarkably, the only Scottish family law blog (come on you Scottish family lawyers - haven't you heard of the internet?), where 'Fiona' continues to plough her lonely furrow. Not that she needs any support - her blog does a very good job of keeping us up to date with developments in family law and related issues, on both sides of the border.

What of newcomers? Well, there are two that I will mention in this section. Firstly, Divorce Manual, by Natasha Phillips. As the name implies, the blog does contain a manual, full of tips and advice for litigants in person. The Times newspaper no less describes the site as "packed with resources for families going through the Family Courts in the UK", and says that: "The advice is balanced and helpful and the site is unique; there is an actual manual you can access with information even lawyers don't offer about the process." Clearly getting the blogging bit between her teeth, Natasha has recently branched out into podcasting.

The other newcomer is something quite different. The Story of Mennard is written by an anonymous solicitor-turned-barrister and details, in a completely unique 'stream of consciousness' style, his experiences representing clients in family matters. The blog has only been going since February, but has already attracted 21 followers - clearly, another one to add to your feed.

2. Easter Eggs - Commercialised, but still nice

In this section, I will mention what I call 'commercial blogs', i.e. blogs that are strongly linked to the service that the blogger provides. A cynic might call them 'advertisement blogs', but there are no rules against such things in the blawgoshere and, for the most part, these blogs contain genuine content of interest to many.

Take, for example, the Ancillary Actuary, run by Bradshaw Dixon & Moore Ltd, who provide "actuarially-based professional services to solicitors and other legal advisors". They don't post often, but when they do they provide substantive expert comment in the difficult and oft-misunderstood (by divorce lawyers, anyway) area of pensions and divorce. An excellent example of this was the series of posts they did on why wives lose out, which can be found here, here and here.

Meanwhile, over at Divorce-Online, Mark Keenan has not one but two blogs. The first of these, chronologically at least, was Divorce: The Blog about...Divorce (what else?), which has been posting enlightening and amusing comment since last August. It has recently been joined by The Divorce-Online Blog, which now has the majority of the content, although Mark will be retaining Divorce : The Blog about…Divorce for more personal comment.

Other examples of the 'commercial blog' genre include Family-Lawfirm.co.uk, by online divorce firm Woolley & Co., and Family Law at Lawson West LLP by, unsurprisingly, Lawson-West LLP.

Finally, marginally staying out of the next section, is Family Law Matters, run by Jo Spain of Spain Williams LLP. Unfortunately, Jo has not exactly been posting prolifically of late (probably something to do with having real work to do), but I hope that she finds time to continue the blog.

3. In Need of Resurrection






The following blogs appear to be moribund (but I would love to be proved wrong):
So, there we are. The UK family law blog 'scene': healthy in parts, not so healthy in others.

Happy Easter!

[On this occasion, modesty prevents me from including the blog you are presently reading in this review. Otherwise, if I have omitted any UK family law blogs, do please let me know. Once again, I hope that I have not offended anybody by my comments or omissions.]

4 comments:

  1. Many thanks and Im in good company

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi John - my guest bloggers and I are delighted to be featured in your annual review. As previously noted, our blog aims to provide informed legal advice that non-lawyers can understand, and also to provide advice about the emotional issues that arise as a consequence of family breakdown. Thank you for such a hearty recommendation!

    ReplyDelete

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