Wednesday, November 02, 2011

News Brief: In advance of the big news...

The big family law news this week will, of course, be the publication of the final report of the Family Justice Review tomorrow. However, there are a couple of things to report in advance of that.

The first piece of news in advance of the Family Justice Review is... the Family Justice Review. The Telegraph today carries the scaremongering headline: Fathers denied a right to see children. The point behind this appalling piece of journalism is that the paper has learned that the Review has apparently dropped the recommendation in the interim report that a general statement of intent "reinforcing the importance of the child continuing to have a meaningful relationship with both parents" should be inserted into the Children Act. Sorry to disappoint Telegraph readers, but whilst this may anger fathers’ rights groups, it will not mean that fathers will be denied a legal right to a relationship with their children.

Elsewhere in the Telegraph we have the rather more reliable news that equalities minister Lynne Featherstone is to announce that the ban on civil partnership ceremonies in religious surroundings will be lifted on the 5th of December. The scheme, however, will be “voluntary” with no church compelled to offer same-sex services. The Church of England wants each religion to "to resolve these matters in accordance with its own prejudices tradition".

Lastly, Charon QC has joined the chorus of lawyers opposed to the legal aid cuts in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. In fact, so shrill are the voices of opposition now that one begins to wonder whether the passing of the Bill will signal the death-knell for liberty itself, and whether the Sun will rise again the next day. I suspect somehow that it will...

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