News Update: 12th of February 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

1.5 million children across UK face neglect on a daily basis, claims report
Action for Children calls for more public advice to aid the reporting of neglect, in this report. Full story: Family Law Week.

Judges 'should talk to children before making care decisions'
MPs warn that judges often have little experience in family law instead relying on evidence produced by social workers. Hmm. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Child Protection gives its views in this story, in The Observer.

Practice guide to the Hague Convention 1996 published
The Ministry of Justice has published the 1996 Hague Convention Practice Guide. Full story: Family Law Week.

New Ofsted report highlights failings in data for missing children
The Chief Inspector of Ofsted has published a new report that highlights the need for urgent action to establish a single register to track accurately the number of children who go missing. Full story: Family Law Week.

The Family Justice Modernisation Programme: Implementation Update Number Two
The second Implementation Update has been published for the Family Justice Modernisation Programme. Full story: Judiciary of England and Wales. See also this post.

Care application levels continue increasing
In January 2013, Cafcass received a total of 960 applications. This is a 4% increase on January 2012 levels and is the fourth highest level of applications recorded in a single month this financial year. Full story: Cafcass.

Cafcass publishes its draft strategic plan
Cafcass has published its draft strategic plan for 2013-15, which is now open for consultation. Full story: Family Law Week.

Survive the first ten years and marriage stays strong
Young couples who get through the first 10 years of marriage have the same chance of staying together as their grandparents’ generation, a study of divorce patterns over the last 50 years suggests. Unsurprisingly, the study comes from The Marriage Foundation. Full story: The Telegraph.

Reoffending by child sex offenders can be prevented, say independent inspectors
Re-offending by children and young people who commit sexual offences can be prevented, but opportunities to intervene early were often missed by professionals who failed to recognise the significance of their sexual behaviour, according to a report by independent inspectors. Full story: Family Law Week.

Two million have experienced domestic abuse in last twelve months
There were 2.0 million victims of domestic abuse in 2011/12, according to the Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences 2011/12, published by the Office for National Statistics. Full story: Family Law Week.

Victorian child neglect laws in 'urgent' need of overhaul, warns Baroness Butler-Sloss
The current laws on child neglect are not fit for the 21st Century and in “urgent” need of reform, Britain's most senior authority on family law warns today. Full story: The Telegraph.

Mrs Justice Baron ‘deprecates’ district judge’s home visits to check residence claims
Mrs Justice Baron, hearing an appeal in AMV v RM [2012] EWHC 3629 (Fam) [see below] which concerned the future care of two young children, has deprecated the decision by a district judge to visit the homes of the mother and grandparents in order to check the veracity of the mother's claims as to residence of the children. Full story: Family Law Week.

Gay marriage: PM rejects call to allow civil partnerships for straight couples
David Cameron tells traditionalist Tory MP he wants to 'promote marriage' and not weaken it. Full story: The Guardian.

Gay marriage: Russia warns Britain vote could hinder adoption
A senior Russian official has said the approval of gay marriage by parliaments in Britain and France will limit the chances of citizens of those countries who want to adopt Russian children. Full story: The Telegraph.

Government plans for radical overhaul of family law would do little to help improve lives of vulnerable children, warn charities
Charities warned that Government plans for a radical overhaul of family law [i.e. in the Children and Families Bill] including the introduction of shared parental leave would do little to help improve the lives of the most vulnerable children. Full story: The Independent.

Gay marriage: Legislation passes Commons despite Tory opposition
MPs have approved legislation for same-sex marriage in England and Wales, despite the opposition of dozens of Conservative MPs. Full story: BBC News. See also this post, and the article on Family Law, below.

C (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 55 (15 January 2013)
Application for permission to appeal against residence order reversing living arrangements. Application refused. Full report: Family Law Hub.

E (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1893 (11 December 2012)
Appeal in proceedings concerning a relocation order. Full report: Family Law Hub.

VK v JV [2012] EWHC 4033 (Fam) (26 November 2012)
Application pursuant to the Hague Convention for the return of two children to Latvia. Held that the father had consented to the removal of one child, but that the removal of the other was wrongful. Full report: Bailii.

A (A Child), Re [2013] EWCA Civ 43 (06 February 2013)
Application by local authority for wasted costs order against firm of solicitors that acted for parents in care proceedings. Application dismissed. Full report: Bailii. See also my post and the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

Re L (Application Hearing: Legal Representation) [2013] EWCA (1 Feb 2013)
Appeal by father against refusal to adjourn contact application after his solicitors ceased acting for him and a psychiatrist had informed him that he was not fit to present his case. Appeal allowed. Report: Family Law.

AMV v RM [2012] EWHC 3629 (Fam) (28 June 2012)
Judgment, in appeal by mother against residence order, relating to the decision of the district judge to visit the homes of the mother and the maternal grandparents in order to ascertain the veracity of the mother's claims as to residence. Full report: Family Law Week. See also the news story, above.

KH and HH (Children), Re [2012] EWHC 4027 (Fam) (02 November 2012)
Care proceedings. Judgment establishing the cause of death of a child. Full report: Bailii.

KH and HH (Children), Re [2013] EWHC 165 (Fam) (25 January 2013)
Care proceedings. Judgment concerning whether the children should be made subjects of final care orders or placed with maternal grandparents. Full report: Bailii.

Kremen v Agrest [2013] EWCA Civ 41 (05 February 2013)
Appeal by judgment creditor against dismissal of application to make charging order absolute in respect of property owned by the husband. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

A bumper crop this week:

Family Arbitration – two recent High Court cases
Nigel Shepherd of Mills & Reeve reviews two recent judgments in which arbitration has been considered in the family law context, in this article on the Family Law Hub.

Does VTB v Nutritek foreshadow the Supreme Court’s approach to the Petrodel appeal on piercing the corporate veil?
Emily Marshall, family law professional support lawyer at Irwin Mitchell considers the possible implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in a commercial case on the forthcoming appeal in the Petrodel appeal, to be heard in March. Full article: Family Law Week.

Maintenance pending suit applications
"There are few reported cases in respect of maintenance pending suit applications. A recent example, however, was the appeal decision of Coleridge J in S v M [2012] All ER (D) 175 (Nov)." Says Andrew Newbury in this article in the Law Society Gazette.

Marriage equality for same-sex couples is a "no brainer"
"I, like many family lawyers, welcome the House of Commons' approval of same-sex marriage in England and Wales." Says James Stewart in this article on Family Law.

Cohabitation - better off in Scotland?
"It is perhaps one of the most enduring legal "urban myths": that a man and woman who live together for many years, support each, maybe have children together, are viewed in the eyes of the law as being married and so when their relationship ends, they will be entitled to receive a fair share of their home and any other assets." Say Lucia Clark and Louise Laing in this article on Family Law.

Issue estoppel in family proceedings
"The penetrating judgement of Mostyn J in BP v KP, NI and OI [2012] EWHC 2995 (Fam) indirectly shows up one of the real muddles of family law, namely its attempts to adopt one set of legal principles - especially in terms of procedure - across the family law board." Says David Burrows in this article on Family Law.

When a biological father who is not a legal parent can seek contact with his child
"The decision of Baker J in Re G and Re Z [also known as S v D & E] last week resolved the circumstances in which the father of a child conceived by a lesbian couple in a civil partnership can seek leave to apply for contact." Says Mark Harper in this article on Family Law.

Repatriation of EU family law powers, Part I
"In this four-part series, I examine areas where family law powers taken by the EU could (and should) pass back to the UK and other member states. Ironically, in three of the areas it does not concern the EU at all but is between member states and non-EU countries." Says David Hodson in yet another article on Family Law, which has obviously been busy this week.

Finance and Divorce January 2013 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.

Private Criminal Prosecutions in Financial Remedies Cases
Andrzej Bojarski, Kate Tompkins and Cameron Crowe, barristers at 36 Bedford Row, combine their expertise in unravelling complex financial arrangements on divorce and prosecuting serious crimes to consider whether the criminal courts might offer opportunities for a spouse in an exceptional case when all conventional options in the family courts have been exhausted. Full article: Family Law Week.

'Unfair' laws for cohabiting couples highlighted again
"The recent county court case of Pamela Curran and Brian Collins highlights the difficulties that arise when unmarried couples separate and it should serve as a warning to others in a similar position." Says Katie O'Callaghan in this article on BBC News.

Not such a bumper week here:

“An unhelpful cocktail”
Suesspiciousminds examines the "interesting case" of Re A (A Child) 2013 [above].

Dad Tax?
"Having read a little bit about the rather unpopular bedroom tax this week I was struck by the way that the approach of two different government policies in separate areas appear to be in tension with one another." Says Lucy Reed in a rare but welcome post on Pink Tape.

Re A (A Child): Wasted costs application by local authority
A quick note by me on Re A (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 43 [above], which concerned a local authority's application for a wasted costs order against a firm of solicitors that acted for parents in care proceedings.