News Update: 24th July 2012

WELCOME to the Family Lore News Update.

Items already covered in separate posts since the last update:

Domestic violence figures are only the “tip of the ice-berg”
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer announces improved conviction rates but confirms that more needs to be done to protect victims and prosecute offenders. Full story: Family Law Week.

Appointment of the Family Justice Board Chair
The Government has appointed David Norgrove as the Chair of the new Family Justice Board. Mr Norgrove will oversee the Board which is a key part of the reforms announced in the Family Justice Review. Full story: Department for Education.

Controlling partners should face court, says think tank
Bullies who subject their partners to “controlling” mind games should face a new criminal offence, according a report from a leading think tank. An interesting idea from The Centre for Social Justice. Full story: The Telegraph.

Child support changes will impact on '100,000 families'
One in 11 families who currently get child support payments in England will lose out in a major shake-up of the system, government analysis suggests. Full story: BBC News. See also this press release from single parent charity Gingerbread.

Consultation on the review of contact arrangements for children in care and adopted children and on the placement of sibling groups for adoption
The Government has published two discussion papers seeking views on sensitive and important aspects of the care and adoption systems. Full story: Department for Education. Discussed by suesspiciousminds (see below).

Justice Select Committee Chair writes to the Prime Minister with objections to shared parenting changes
The Chair of the Justice Select Committee, the Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, has written to the Prime Minister in relation to the Government's proposals to change the Children Act 1989 in an attempt to promote shared parenting. He said:
"We have yet to be provided with any evidence or argument that properly counters the evidence we and the Family Justice Review considered before concluding that there should be no changes to the current legislation."
Strong stuff. You can read the full text of the letter here, and the story at Family Law Week.

Inquiry launched into government family justice reforms
A parliamentary inquiry has been launched into the government’s family justice reforms, proposed in the Children and Families Bill. Launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Protection, the inquiry is calling for evidence on how the family justice system could be improved and is seeking views on care plans, the six-month limit on care cases and shared parenting legislation. Full story: Community Care.

A Local Authority v C & Ors [2012] EWHC 1975 (Fam) (01 June 2012)
Application by Local authority for re-hearing concerning findings of fact, after judge had previously concluded that she could not be satisfied that the child's injuries were a result of her being abused by the father. Full report: Bailii. For the earlier judgment, see here.

L-B (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 984 (18 July 2012)
Care proceedings. Appeal by mother against finding by judge that the perpetrator of injuries to the child could not be identified, after the judge had previously stated that the father was the perpetrator. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii. Also discussed by suesspiciousminds (see below).

Hague Convention mediation guide to good practice
The Hague Conference on Private International Law has just published its long-awaited guide to good practice on mediation in child abduction work, says David Hodson on Family Law.

Expertly done? A look at the use of experts in family proceedings and changes proposed by Mr Justice Ryder prior to the announcement of his final proposals
Leanne Buckley–Thomson, pupil barrister at 1 Crown Office Row Brighton, considers the current problems in relation to the use of expert evidence particularly in care proceedings and the proposals for change thus far highlighted by Mr Justice Ryder in response. Full article: Family Law Week.

Beyond the Nuclear: State and Church – An irreconcilable breakdown
The Church of England published its official response to the Government Consultation on marriage equality last month. Full article: Family Law.

Family Court Cases - Understanding Some Numbers
"In this post, I attempt to explain some of the recurring but often misunderstood numbers that are used in discussions about family law and the family courts of England and Wales. In particular, I show how these various numbers fit together to make sense of the claim that 'about 10% of separating couples have their parenting arrangements decided by a judge'." Legal Liberal finds the truth behind the often-disputed statistic regarding the number of children cases that are settled.

We are family, I’ve got all my sisters with me… (or “Beware of the leopard” )
An analysis of the Government’s consultation on placement of siblings and contact post placement (see above). Full post: suesspiciousminds.

It was Professor Plum, in the kitchen with a candlestick – no, it was Professor Plum AND Miss Scarlett….
Another great post title from suesspiciousminds, as he  discusses the Court of Appeal decision in Re L-B (Children) 2012 (see above).

Scottish adoption law compatible with human right to family life
A discussion of the Supreme Court judgment in ANS v ML [2012] UKSC 30. Full post: UK Human Rights Blog.