News Update: 11th December 2012

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update. It's another long one...

Hackney social services condemned over failures after mother kills children
Coroner criticises staff who allowed woman suffering from paranoid schizophrenia unsupervised overnight visits. Full story: The Guardian.

Child maintenance changes in force
Changes to the way child maintenance is assessed, collected and paid to recipients come into force today (10 December 2012) under the powers of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (see Statutory Instrument, below). Full story: Family Law Hub.

Councils refer record numbers of children into care in 2012
Family courts body Cafcass has released its latest care statistics, revealing record referrals show no signs of stopping. Full story: Community Care.

Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal in Lawrence v Gallagher
Civil partnership financial remedy appeal fails. Full story: Family Law Week.

Divorce judges welcome ‘cookie cutter’ share-out plan
A new system of Canadian style “cookie cutter” justice could be introduced in England to cut the cost of divorce cases under reforms being drawn up by government law advisers. Full story: London Evening Standard.

MP inquiry hears how adoption targets will lead to rushed assessments and increased risks to children
The imposition of six month targets for placing children in care for adoption will lead to rushed and inadequate assessments, potentially making the process too fast for would-be adopters and open to abuse by predatory child abusers. This was the message to MPs at the second evidence gathering session of an inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Social Work into the state of the profession. Full story: BASW News.

Judge delays ruling on brain tumour boy
New developments in case lead judge to schedule return to court for later in the month. Full story: The Independent. Following on from the earlier story, below.

Gay marriage: Boris Johnson and Michael Gove give backing
A campaign group backing same-sex marriage has been launched by senior Conservative MPs and peers. Full story: BBC News.

Bank employee who accessed partner’s ex-wife’s account fined for data protection offences
A bank employee has been fined after a court heard she unlawfully accessed bank statements of her partner's ex-wife. Full story: Family Law Week.

Joint Committee on Human Rights calls for enhancement of Children’s Commissioner’s role
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has welcomed the proposed change in the Children's Commissioner's primary function, from one of 'promoting awareness of the views and interests of children in England' to one of 'promoting and protecting the rights of children in England'. Full story: Family Law Week.

Important Pension Changes – what family lawyers need to know
Clive Weir, a director with Albert Goodman Chartered Financial Planners, summarises the changes to pension provision made in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. Full story: Family Law Week.

Fathers to be hit by rise in maintenance for their children following sweeping new reforms
Nearly 800,000 separated fathers face increases in their bills for maintaining their children which will run up to thousands of pounds a year, it was revealed Thursday. Full story: Daily Mail.

Whitehall cuts ‘threaten children's services’
Frontline services for children will suffer as a result of cuts to central government spending announced in the autumn statement, a think-tank has warned. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Mother and seven-year-old son found after she ran away to prevent cancer treatment
A mother and her seven-year-old son have been found by police after she ran away to prevent him receiving life-saving cancer treatment. Full story: The Telegraph. See also the later story, above.

Family fight to keep father alive in court battle
A woman has accused a hospital of secretly placing her father on the Liverpool Care Pathway as it launched a legal bid to withdraw “aggressive treatment”. Full story: The Telegraph.

Custody battle over British girl goes to US Supreme Court
A five-year-old British girl is at the centre of a bitter transatlantic custody battle that has arrived in front of America's most senior judges, as her parents fought the landmark case at the US Supreme Court. Full story: The Telegraph.

Divorce battle lands pair with £1.3m legal bill
A husband ran up a £500,000 legal bill in a bitter divorce dispute he could not afford, the High Court ruled. Full story: The Telegraph.

The Family Justice Modernisation Programme: Implementation Update Number One
The first Implementation Update has been published for the Family Justice Modernisation Programme. Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales. See also my post, here.

Family mediation scheme extended
Membership of the Law Society’s family mediation scheme will be extended to all qualified family mediators from April. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (Commencement No. 10 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2012
This Order brings into force provisions of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 for the purpose of applying new rules for calculating child support maintenance to certain types of cases. It also brings into force a number of other provisions in the 2008 Act for the purposes of all cases. See the news story, above.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Overseas Relationships) Order 2012
This Order amends Schedule 20 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Schedule 20 specifies overseas relationships that may be treated as civil partnerships for the purposes of the Act, provided certain other conditions in the Act are satisfied.

The Child Support Management of Payments and Arrears (Amendment) Regulations 2012
These Regulations amend the Child Support (Management of Payments and Arrears) Regulations 2009 and come into force on the day on which sections 32 and 33 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (c. 6) come into force.

B v A [2012] EWHC 3127 (Fam) (10 December 2012)
Application by father for return of child to the United States, where the child was actually in Pakistan. The application was withdrawn, leaving the court to deal with the issue of costs. Full report: Bailii. See also my post, below.

M (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 1580 (22 October 2012)
Care proceedings. Appeal against finding that the child had suffered non-accidental injuries and that the parents were both possible perpetrators. Appeal allowed. Full report: Family Law Week.

VK v Croatia (Application No 38380/08) (27 November 2012)
Husband claimed breach of right to fair trial after divorce and paternity proceedings took over 5 years to conclude. The court found the husband's rights under Arts 6, 12 and 13 had been violated. Report: Family Law. Full report: ECHR.

Bridgend County Borough Council v W and Another [2012] EWHC 3118 (Fam) (3 October 2012)
Care proceedings involving issue of jurisdiction after parents fled to Spain to avoid child being taken into care at birth. Report: Family Law.

Zuk v Zuk [2012] EWCA (29 November 2012)
Appeal by husband against 9 month prison sentence for failure to comply with lump sum order. Appeal allowed. Report: Family Law.

J (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1511 (7 November 2012)
Application by mother for permission to appeal against order for return of children to Spain. Application refused. Full report: Family Law Hub.

O (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 1576 (1 November 2012)
Directions hearing relating to method of ascertaining wishes and feelings of a child in connection with relocation appeal. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Cattin v Cattin [2012] EWCA Civ 1562 (6 November 2012)
Application by wife for permission to appeal against refusal to stay English divorce petition, where she had issued proceedings in Brazil. Application refused. Full report: Family Law Hub.

J (Habitual Residence), Re [2012] EWHC 3364 (Fam) (03 December 2012)
Applications made in respect of a child, in which the issue of jurisdiction arose, depending upon whether the child was habitually resident in England and Wales when the proceedings were issued. Held that she was. Full report: Bailii. See also my post, below.

I (Habitual Residence), Re [2012] EWHC 3363 (Fam) (03 December 2012)
Applications made in respect of a child, in which the issue of jurisdiction arose, depending upon whether the child was habitually resident in England and Wales when the proceedings were issued. Held that he was. Full report: Bailii. See also my post, below.

Hidden assets?
Prest v Prest overturns 30 years of family case law, says Craig Rose. Full article: New Law Journal.

Taking a global view
Geraldine Morris considers the changes to international maintenance. Full article: New Law Journal.

Court of Protection Update (December 2012)
Sally Bradley and Michael Edwards, Barristers, both of 4 Paper Buildings consider recent developments in the Court of Protection. Full article: Family Law Week.

B v A: Complying with the principles and procedures governing the making of a without notice application
A salutary tale for any lawyer dealing with such applications. See case report, above. Full post: Family Lore.

The Mail Reveals THE TRUTH…Well one version of it anyways
Lucy Reed gives her own views on “shocking revelations” in the Mail concerning the UKIP foster care row. Full post: Pink Tape.

I still haven’t found, what I’m looking for – or, going off-menu
A quick discussion of the Court of Appeal decision in RE J-L (Findings of Fact : Schedule of Allegations) 2012, by suesspiciousminds.

Re I & Re J: Habitual residence cases are like London buses...
A summary of Re I (Habitual Residence) [2012] EWHC 3363 (Fam) and Re J (Habitual Residence) [2012] EWHC 3364 (Fam) [both above]. Full post: Family Lore.


  1. John, this is all very well but you missed the Census information that Blackpool is the divorce capital of England and Wales. Will Edgar Venal be opening an office or are they too poor?

    1. Edgar has looked into this, and says that there are so few people in Blackpool that could afford him, that it is not worth opening a branch office there. Anyone who can afford to instruct him will be ferried to his London office in his Bentley (at their expense, of course).


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