News Update: 26th of February 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Businessman fails in bid to prevent wife divorcing him following a holiday row over map-reading
A businessman whose wife divorced him after an argument over her map-reading during a holiday in France has failed in a legal bid to overturn the decision after a family judge said he has similar rows with his own wife. One day, common sense will prevail and we will finally have no-fault divorce, so that this sort of nonsense can be consigned to the dustbin of history. Full story: The Telegraph.

Mediation fails to reduce litigation over children
Greater use of mediation in family proceedings has had a limited impact on the number of children involved in private family law cases, recent figures show. Will not make good reading for our "mediation is the universal panacea" government. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Del Monte chief Vivian Imerman agrees £15m divorce settlement
The high-profile divorce battle between the multimillionaire drinks magnate Vivian Imerman, nicknamed "The Man from Del Monte", and his estranged wife, Lisa Tchenguiz, has ended in a £15m settlement. Full story: The Guardian.

Divorcing couples often hide assets, survey suggests
Many people going through divorce could be hiding their wealth from their partners, a survey suggests. This non-news story of the week can be found on BBC News.

Uncertain future for serious case reviews following government delay
Ex-children's minister says the government should have the power to force local authorities to carry out serious case reviews, while the preferred model for SCRs remains unclear. Full story: Community Care.

Four in five parents now paying for their children
Figures released today show the vast majority of parents who use the Child Support Agency (CSA) are now paying for their children. Full story: Department for Work and Pensions. See also this post.

Figures show divorce hot spots
Separating couples are being urged to use mediation instead of ending up in courtroom battles after a list of England and Wales divorce hot spots was revealed. Full story: Ministry of Justice. See, however, this story and also this post.

Briefing on Children and Families Bill
Resolution has drafted a briefing on the Children and Families Bill. Full story: Resolution.

Supreme Court dismisses local authority’s appeal in J (Children)
The real possibility that the parent caring for the child has harmed a child in the past is not by itself sufficient,’ says Lady Hale. Full story: Family Law Week. See also the law report, article and blog post, below.

Supreme Court unanimously allows father’s appeal in L and B (Children)
Court considers circumstances in which a judge is entitled to change her mind after oral judgment. Full story: Family Law Week. See also the law report and the article, below.

Munro two years on: Social workers find little has changed
Professor Eileen Munro’s much-anticipated review of child protection was initially heralded a great success by social workers, but now, nearly two years since the review was published, it appears there is less optimism about its potential to reform. Full story: Community Care.

B (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1901 (14 December 2012)
Returned hearing before the Court of Appeal after a local authority had shown reluctance to implement the Court’s previous decision. Full report: Family Law Week.

Re W (Removal at Birth: Contact)[2013] EWCA (21 February 2013)
Care proceedings. Appeal by parents against refusal of contact. Appeal dismissed. Report: Family Law.

M (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 1905 (21 November 2012)
Appeal by father against finding of fact that he was responsible for injuries to child. Appeal allowed. Full report: Family Law Week. See also the blog post, below.

In the matter of J (Children) [2013] UKSC 9 (20 February 2013)
Case concerning the issue of whether a previous Court finding that one or both of two individuals caused significant harm to a child constituted a ‘finding of fact’ in subsequent proceedings aimed at determining whether there was a real possibility that other children will suffer harm in the care of one or other of those individuals. Full report: Supreme Court. See also the news story above and the article and blog post, below.

In the matter of L and B (Children) [2013] UKSC 8 (20 February 2013)
Case dealing with the issue of whether the first instance judge had or correctly exercised the power to change her decision following an oral judgment where no order had yet been perfected. Full report: Supreme Court. See also the news story above and the article, below.

Re O-C (Interim Care Order: Jurisdiction) [2013] EWCA (14 February 2013)
Local authority granted an interim care order and made an order for the return of the children from Ireland, to where the mother had fled. The mother appealed and the interim care order was set aside. Report: Family Law.

Re B (Committal Proceedings: Breach of Injunctions) [2013] EWCA (14 February 2013)
Appeal by father against committal for breach of injunction preventing him from harassing or interfering with the foster carers and from publicising any information in relation to the proceedings. Appeal dismissed. Report: Family Law.

Swimming in the Pool: relevant factors to satisfy the threshold criteria after the Supreme Court's judgment in J (Children)
Ben Boucher-Giles of Fountain Chambers considers the Supreme Court’s judgment in J (Children) [above] and considers how it fits into the wider picture of findings as they relate to threshold. Full article: Family Law Week.

When Can Judges Change Their Minds? The Supreme Court’s judgment in L and B (Children)
Martha Gray, Pupil at 1 Garden Court, considers whether and in what circumstances a judge who has announced her decision is entitled to change her mind, particularly in the context of fact-finding hearings in care proceedings, in the light of the Supreme Court’s recent judgment [above]. Full article: Family Law Week.

Contact, appeals and death by kindness
"In Re H (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 72 three senior judges in the Court of Appeal handed down a reserved judgement in a case concerning an 8 year old boy who was said by his mother not to want to see his father." Says David Burrows in this article on Family Law.

Repatriation of EU family law powers, Part III
David Hodson continues his series examining areas where family law powers taken by the EU could (and should) pass back to the UK and other member states

DNA—the true test of any relationship?
Neil Sullivan provides an update on recent developments in DNA testing, in this article in New Law Journal.

A full house this week from suesspiciousminds:

Vulnerable witnesses revisited
The Court of Appeal have looked again at a case involving the issues of a vulnerable adult giving evidence. Re M (A Child) 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

“Lancashire Hot Pot(ato) “
The Supreme Court have given their decision in Re J [above], looking at whether a finding of fact that an injury was caused and neither parent can be excluded, forms a basis for finding that such a parent would be a risk to children in a new relationship. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, a McKenzie Friend ?
The Court of Appeal considered the role of McKenzie Friends, post the Practice Note guidance, in the case of Re H (Children) 2012 Neutral Citation Number: [2012] EWCA Civ 1797. Full post: suesspiciousminds, who doesn't get any better with his post titles.