News Update: 22nd of January 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Two-thirds of children who died of abuse in 2012 'could have been saved'
Nearly two-thirds of children who died as a result of abuse last year could have been saved, a damning report has claimed. Full story: The Independent.

Chief inspector in Wales raises concerns about social worker caseloads
The Welsh inspectorate’s latest annual report found ‘stark variability’ in the performance of social services departments across the country. Full story: Community Care.

LSC decides against funding community legal service grants
The LSC has decided to end the CLS grants programme when the current grants come to end on 31 March 2013. Full story: Family Law Week.

Japan will join Hague Convention on child abduction
The Japan Times reports that the Japanese Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida, has announced that the government will ratify 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Full story: Family Law Week.

Prior authorities for experts in family cases
New guidance has been published online to help providers identify when they need to apply for prior authorities for experts in family cases. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Average time for disposal of care and supervision applications is 47.7 weeks
The average time for the disposal of a care or supervision application in the third quarter of 2012 was 47.7 weeks, continuing the drop from 51.6 weeks in the previous quarter, according to the latest statistics. Full story: Family Law Week.

Family lawyers praise High Court for jailing husband
The decision of the High Court to imprison Scot Young, a man whose wife Michelle believes is worth up to £400m, has been welcomed by family lawyers. Full story: Solicitors Journal. See also the law report, below.

Almost a third of legal aid firms ‘consider pulling out’
More than 31 per cent of legal aid practices are considering pulling out of publicly funded work, a survey of 2,000 firms by the Law Society and LSB has revealed. No surprise there, then. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Kent’s improved, but cuts hurting children nationally
BASW has praised Kent Council for turning round its previously failing children’s services, but warned that government cuts continue to put children at risk nationally. Full story: BASW News.

Ofsted proposes single, annual inspection of Cafcass
Ofsted is consulting on plans to replace individual inspections of Cafcass offices with one, annual inspection of the body as a national organisation. Full story: Community Care.

Councils blame government red tape for slow adoption progress
Councils are struggling to speed up the adoption process because of the government’s failure to carry out pledges to reduce time-consuming and “ridiculous” bureaucracy, the Local Government Association has warned. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Solicitors warned on property joint ownership
Solicitors should encourage joint property purchasers to put in writing how ownership is apportioned between them to avoid disputes where relationships break down, the Law Society and Land Registry have warned in a Practice Note. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

LSC Guidance: High cost cases and family advocacy scheme guidance
On 17 January 2013, the Legal Services Commission issued clarification about fees in high-cost case plans.

A City Council v DC & Ors [2013] EWHC 8 (Fam) (11 January 2013)
Case involving an application by the local authority for the revocation of an order freeing a child for adoption. Procedural guidance given in relation to such applications. Full report: Bailii. See also this short post.

KA, R (on the application of) v Essex County Council [2013] EWHC 43 (Admin) (18 January 2013)
Application for judicial review of refusal to provide accommodation for the claimant, a Nigerian citizen, and her family. Application allowed. Full report: Bailii.

AB v CB [2012] EWHC 3841 (Fam) (10 October 2012)
Case involving issue of whether English divorce proceedings instituted by the wife should be stayed to enable Indian proceedings instituted there earlier by the husband to proceed and, if so, what should happen to the wife's application under S27 MCA 1973. Full report: Family Law Week.

S-C (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1800 (22 November 2012)
Care proceedings. Appeal by mother against placement orders in respect of youngest two of seven children. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Family Law Week.

W (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1788 (15 November 2012)
Appeal by father against order for no direct contact. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Family Law Week. See also my post, below.

R (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 1783 (27 November 2012)
Court of Appeal, allegations of abuse, evidence before the Court limited to hearsay evidence from child, change in mother’s position following judgment, Art 6 rights. Full report: Family Law Week.

A, K and L v Croatia (Application No 37956/11) (8 January 2012)
Mother divested of her parental rights in respect of her child. She applied to restore her rights but her appeal was dismissed due to the child already being placed for adoption. Held, the mother's rights under Art 8 had been breached. Report: Family Law. Full report: ECHR.

Young v Young [2013] EWHC 34 (Fam) (16 January 2013)
Application for committal of Respondent for contempt, for breach of an order for disclosure. Respondent held to be in contempt, and sentenced to six months imprisonment. Full report: Family Law Week. See also the news story, above.

An NHS Trust v SR [2012] EWHC 3842 (Fam) (21 December 2012)
Application by an NHS Trust in respect of the treatment of a boy aged 7, who is suffering from a malignant brain tumour. Full report: Bailii. See also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

Children: Public Law Update (January 2013)
John Tughan, barrister, 4 Paper Buildings, considers some recent important public law decisions of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court relating to children, in this article on Family Law Week.

Relocation of children
District Judge Adam Taylor discusses the case F (Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 1364. Full article: Law Society Gazette.

State Pension Changes - A Briefing for Family Lawyers
Clive Weir, a director with Albert Goodman Chartered Financial Planners, summarises the recently announced changes planned for state pensions and indicates their implications for family lawyers. Full article: Family Law Week.

Evidence, Practice and Procedure: 'Control', disclosure and enforcement of orders
"The life of the Queen's Bench and Chancery Division judge is more straightforward under Civil Procedure Rules 1998 than that of the family judge under Family Procedure Rules 2010 when it comes to some aspects of enforcement of orders." Says David Burrows, in this article on Family Law.

Without Notice Applications
"In the case of B-v-A [2012] EWHC 3127 (Fam) Mr Justice Charles delivered a Judgment on 10 December 2012 which is worthwhile bringing to the attention of practitioners." Says Mandeep Gill in this article on Family Law.

Religious Marriages: Staying a decree absolute in order to increase the chances of obtaining a religious divorce
Charlotte Rachael Proudman, a barrister at 1 Mitre Court Buildings, provides legal guidance on the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, Section 10A, used in religious marital cases to speed up the process of obtaining religious divorces. Full article: Family Law Week.

Child Maintenance Assessments: Self-employed non-resident parents beware!
Byron James, barrister, 14 Gray’s Inn Square, considers the issue of a child support officer’s unfettered discretion in child maintenance assessments of self-employed non-resident parents. Full article: Family Law Week.

Neglecting neglect
The Parliamentary report on child protection, and a discussion of it, by suesspiciousminds.

When to apply for prior authority (and how long the LSC thinks assessments take)
"There has finally been some guidance published about this vexed issue", says suesspiciousminds in this post.

W (Children): The innocent bystander
A summary of W (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1788 (15 November 2012) [above]. Full post: Family Lore.

The role of the Court in assessing alternative medical treatment
A discussion of An NHS Trust v SR 2012 [above], by the ever-prolific suesspiciousminds.