News Update: 8th January 2013
WELCOME to the Family Lore News Update. Take a deep breath - with three weeks to cover, it's another long one...
Doctors seek court order to carry out abortion on mentally disabled woman
Doctors are applying for a court order to allow them to carry out an abortion on a mentally disabled woman without her consent. Full story: The Telegraph.
Family barristers question commission’s matrimonial property principles
The Law Commission’s proposals to introduce a ‘clear, principled basis’ for sorting out matrimonial property disputes risk making settlements harder to achieve, the Family Law Bar Association (FLBA) has warned. See also the Irwin Mitchell article, below. Full story: Solicitors Journal.
Ford Tycoon makes legal history as he is jailed for two years for hiding money from former wife in divorce battle
A tycoon accused of hiding a multi-million-pound fortune from his former wife in an acrimonious divorce battle has been sentenced to two years in jail. The Thursfield case - see below. Full story: Daily Mail. See also my post, here.
Benefit cuts 'will see more children taken into care'
Record numbers of children are likely to be taken away from their families this year as parents struggle to cope with the effects of public-sector cuts and benefits changes, a senior child protection figure has warned. Full story: The Independent.
Children more at risk since Baby P, says sacked council chief
The former head of children’s services for the London Borough of Haringey said she believed children were now at greater risk in the wake of the Baby P scandal because social workers were now perceived as people to hide from. Full story: The Independent.
Best practice guidance published on FDR appointments
The Money and Property Committee of the Family Justice Council has produced best practice guidance for financial dispute resolution appointments. Full story: Family Law Week. See also my post, here.
DIY divorces set to surge as legal aid vanishes
Lawyers warn that tens of thousands of people could find splitting up harder and more costly this year. Full story: The Independent.
GPs in crossfire as separated parents seek access to children's records
Increasing numbers of family doctors seeking advice on whether they should give information to separated parents. Full story: The Guardian.
Young people wish for quicker family justice system
The family justice system should work faster to stop children and young people from suffering “trauma and stress”, according to a group of young people with family court system experience. Full story: Children & Young People Now.
Extra £10 million for mediation
New measures are being put in place to support separating couples at the time of year when the number of people considering separation and divorce is at its peak. Full story: Ministry of Justice. See also my short post, here.
'Secrecy' of social workers makes them look ‘idiotic’ Social workers must ‘explain more’ after Ukip case
Social workers must be more willing to explain their decisions to the public because a culture of secrecy is allowing sensible rulings to be seen as “random and idiotic”, according to the policy expert who carried out the Government’s independent review of the profession. Full story: The Independent.
UK in family breakdown 'epidemic'
The UK has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in the Western world with just two thirds of children living with both parents, according to research by a global development organisation. Full story: The Independent.
Report reveals lack of protection for runaway children
Police forces and local authorities up and down the country are not doing enough to protect children who run away from home or care, according to a report by The Children's Society. Full story: Family Law Week.
Abducted girl coming home from Pakistan to UK
A six-year-old girl is on her way home more than three years after she was abducted by her father and taken to Pakistan, sources said today. Full story: The Telegraph.
Unmarried mothers who give up careers facing midlife financial crisis, lawyers warn
Unmarried women who give up successful careers to bring up their children risk a midlife financial crisis if their partner leaves them, family lawyers are warning. Full story: The Telegraph.
Abuse alert system for hospitals
An online system to identify children who may be in danger of abuse or neglect is being developed for use in hospitals across England. Full story: BBC News.
High Court judge criticises same-sex marriage plan
Ministers are pursuing the "wrong policy" on gay marriage, and should be focusing on family breakdown, a High Court judge has said. Full story: BBC News.
New drive to help children find adoptive families
The Prime Minister has announced a new package of support for people who want to adopt to ensure more children get a stable, loving home without delays. Full story: Department for Education.
Family judges seek protection from parents in 'unsafe' courts
Dangerously inadequate security arrangements during family cases leave officials vulnerable to attack, say judges. Full story: The Guardian.
Appointment of President of the Family Division
The Right Honourable Lord Justice Munby appointed as President of the Family Division. Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales.
Appointment of a High Court Judge - Cobb QC
The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Stephen William Scott Cobb, Esq., Q.C., to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 11 January 2013 on the retirement of Mr. Justice Hedley. Full story: Ministry of Justice.
Fewer marriages ending in divorce
An estimated 42% of marriages in England and Wales ended in divorce in 2010 - a drop from 45% in 2005, the latest statistics suggest. Full story: BBC News.
Adoption clauses don't fulfil their aims, say Lords
House of Lords Committee on Adoption Legislation concerned that delays will not be sufficiently reduced by new measures intended to speed up adoption. Full story: UK Parliament.
The Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) (Amendment) Order 2012
This Order amends the Civil Partnership (Registration Abroad and Certificates) Order 2005 to reflect the changes to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 as amended by the Legislative Reform (Civil Partnership) Order 2012.
Thursfield v Thursfield  EWHC 3742 (Ch) (21 December 2012)
Application for disclosure, in proceedings relating to the enforcement of a judgment made in Michigan, and disclosure of assets. Order made as sought. Full report: Family Law Hub.
Thursfield v Thursfield  EWHC 3621 (Ch) (9 November 2012)
Application for committal for contempt, in proceedings relating to the enforcement of a judgment made in Michigan, and disclosure of assets. Committal order made. Full report: Family Law Hub. See also the Daily Mail news item, above.
Thursfield v Thursfield  EWHC 3713 (Ch) (6 December 2011)
Further judgment in proceedings relating to the enforcement of a judgment made in Michigan, and disclosure of assets. Full report: Family Law Hub.
Thursfield v Thursfield  EWHC 3539 (Ch) (6 December 2011)
Proceedings relating to the enforcement of a judgment made in Michigan, and disclosure of assets. Full report: Family Law Hub.
Thompson v Hurst  EWCA Civ 1752 (30 March 2012)
Cohabitation. Appeal against declaration of beneficial interests in property, the appellant having been granted 10% but claiming 50%. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii. see also my post, below.
T v T  EWHC 2877 (Fam) (6 August 2012)
Children proceedings involving issue of jurisdiction, the mother and children having relocated to the Republic of Ireland since an earlier order was made. Held that the litigation could proceed in this country. Full report: Family Law Week.
B ( A Child), Re  EWCA Civ 1742 (21 December 2012)
Appeal by mother against residence order, on the grounds that the judge's rigorous management of the hearing resulted in unfairness to the mother. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii. See also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.
M (Children), Re  EWCA Civ 1710 (20 December 2012)
Care proceedings involving fractures to the child's skull but, inexplicably, no brain injuries. Appeal by parents against findings of fact, on the basis that the judge had failed to address their case that the child had some unknown and undiagnosed disorder of her bones. Appeal allowed, and case remitted for re-trial. Full report: Bailii. Again, see also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.
R (on the application of) Louisa Hodkin -v- Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages  EWHC 3635 (Admin) (19 December 2012)
The High Court dismissed a challenge against the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages in England and Wales’s decision not to register a chapel of the Church of Scientology as ‘a place of meeting for religious worship’ which in turn means it is not a registered building for the solemnisation of marriages. Full report: Judiciary of England and Wales (PDF).
Re Y (Placement in China)  EWHC (10 October 2012)
Care proceedings involving the possibility of the child being placed with the paternal family in China. Report: Family Law.
Finance and Divorce January Update
Anna Heenan, solicitor and David Salter, Joint Head of Family Law at Mills & Reeve LLP analyse December’s financial remedies and divorce news and cases. Full article: Family Law Week.
Irwin Mitchell's Response to the Law Commission Consultation on Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements
On the 11 September 2012 the Law Commission launched a supplemental consultation paper entitled Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements. The consultation, which closed on 11 December 2012, sought views on whether the law relating to needs and non-matrimonial property should be reformed. Below is Irwin Mitchell Solicitors' response. Full article: Family Law. See also the FLBA news story, above.
Evidence, practice and procedure: Timetabling - a new case management priority
David Burrows looks at the Family Procedure (Amendment) (No 5) Rules 2012, which come into force on the 31st January, in this article on Family Law.
Christmas comes but once a year...
Penny Booth looks at some recent developments in the family law scene. Full article: Family Law.
Boris Johnson, Alex Salmond and shopping for divorce
Lucia Clark compares the jurisdictions of England and Scotland, in this article on Family Law.
Global approach to family law
The reform of family law is a constant source of debate in the UK, and in France it is very much the same situation. Full article: Law Society Gazette.
Without notice applications and wasted costs
David Burrows looks at the case of B v A  EWHC 3127. Full article: Family Law.
Thompson v Hurst: Stack and Jones applied
My brief summary of Thompson v Hurst  EWCA Civ 1752 (30 March 2012) [above] can be found here.
A view from the litigant in person
"A few weeks ago, I got chatting to a woman in my local pub – let’s call her Susan – who is embroiled in a legal battle in the family courts", says Rachel Rothwell, on the Law Society Gazette News blog.
Robust case management has its place, but it also has its limits
A Christmas dash through Re B (A child) 2012 [above], by suesspiciousminds.
What does Donald Rumsfeld have to do with paediatric head injuries?
Suesspiciousminds discusses the Court of Appeal decision in Re M (children) 2012 [above], in his own idiosyncratic way.