News Update: 12th of March 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Child neglect danger 'underestimated'
Child neglect should be taken as seriously as physical or sexual abuse because some cases will lead to death or long-term damage, a charity is warning. Full story: BBC News.

Care applications continued their upward trend in February
In February 2013, Cafcass received a total of 991 applications. This is an 11.5% increase on February 2012. See the statistics here. Full story: Family Law Week.

Foster care pay policy 'unlawful' at Tower Hamlets
A London council's policy on payments to foster carers is unlawful, a High Court judge has ruled. Full story: BBC News. See also the law report, below.

Appeal judge redefines ‘futile treatment’
Doctors should be allowed to withhold life-sustaining treatment where it would be “futile” to continue it, according to a new test laid down by a senior appeal judge earlier this week. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Grayling rides to rescue of RCJ advice centre
The Ministry of Justice today announced that it will fund the family law service provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau at the Royal Courts of Justice - after its grant was removed by the Legal Services Commission as part of the ministry’s cuts. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Domestic violence figures are disturbingly high, says charity
Citizens Advice says it received reports of attacks from 13,500 people – 80% of them women – in 2012. Full story: The Guardian.

Social workers arrived to seize baby in labour ward
A mother has been reunited with the baby who was taken away from her by social workers who turned up unannounced at her bedside while she was in labour after an administrative oversight. Full story: The Telegraph.

Adoption push could break up families unnecessarily, peers warn
Michael Gove’s drive to increase adoption rates could end up unnecessarily breaking up families, peers have warned. Full story: The Telegraph.

Ministers urged to exempt foster carers from 'bedroom tax'
Leaders of 11 children's charities say new rules will make it more difficult for people in social housing to become foster carers. Full story: The Guardian.

Independent fostering providers plead for greater autonomy
Plans to allow councils to delegate provision of children's social services to staff-led mutuals should be extended to cover independent fostering providers, the government has been told. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Master of the Rolls' Practice Guidance of March 2013: Terminology for Litigants in Person
The Master of the Rolls has issued guidance as to the terminology that should be used to describe individuals who conduct legal proceedings on their own behalf.

X, R (on the application of) v London Borough of Tower Hamlets [2013] EWHC 480 (Admin) (08 March 2013)
Declaration that a local authority's policy on payments to foster carers is unlawful in that they discriminate on the grounds of pre-existing relationship with the child between family and unrelated foster carers. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story, above.

AC v DC & Ors (Financial Remedy: Effect of s37 Avoidance Order) (No 1) [2012] EWHC 2032 (Fam) (19 July 2012)
Judgment setting aside various financial transactions, and considering whether the effect of a "set aside" is to operate retrospectively for all legal (including fiscal) purposes. Full report: Bailii.

A & B (Parental Order Domicile), Re [2013] EWHC 426 (Fam) (14 February 2013)
Application for a parental order concerning a child born to a surrogate mother based in India. parental order made. Full report: Bailii.

AC v DC & Ors (No 2) [2012] EWHC 2420 (Fam) (29 August 2012)
Financial remedies application by the wife, where the husband was suffering from a terminal illness. Full report: Bailii.

AJ (a child), Re [2012] EWHC 3353 (Fam) (21 June 2012)
Application pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction for a declaration recognising the validity of a foreign adoption order. Declaration made as sought. Full report: Bailii.

TF v FF [2013] EWHC 390 (Fam) (26 February 2013)
Application by wife for permission to appeal a financial remedy order. Permission granted, but only in respect of maintenance provision. Full report: Bailii. See also my post, below.

ML v KW & Anor [2013] EWHC 341 (Fam) (22 February 2013)
Wardship and contact proceedings, in which the father seeks contact. Fact-finding hearing in respect of allegations made by the mother against the father and his family. Full report: Bailii.

Re C-G (Contact Order: Staying Contact with Father) [2013] EWCA (27 February 2013)
Appeal against order for staying contact where the judge had failed to recognise the change of stance of the Cafcass officer. Appeal allowed. Report: Family Law.

The Children and Families Bill could undermine gender stereotypes
"On 25 February, MPs passed the new Children and Families Bill at its second reading in the House of Commons. The bill extends the statutory rights – in employment and family law – that both parents have in their children’s upbringing." Full article: Law Society Gazette.

Modern divorce is a sad comedy
"Introduce no-fault divorce now and remedy the shabby state of affairs caused by craven politicians", says Philippa Dolan in this article in The Lawyer.

Address by the President, Sir James Munby, at the Annual Dinner of the FLBA
This is the text of a speech delivered on 22 February 2013 at Middle Temple Hall.

Evidence, Practice and Procedure: Judicial change of mind
"Generally, once a judge has made a decision, the court draws up and seals the order. Subject to any appeal and enforcement that is an end of the matter. It is not quite as simple as that says the Supreme Court in Re L and B (Children) [2013] UKSC 8." says David Burrows in this article on Family Law.

Evidence, Practice and Procedure: Uncertain control of interim applications at PRFD
"Anarchy is too strong a word for it; but so far as anarchy means without rule (‘archy' comes from classical Greek arkhia meaning rule) it begins to apply. In S v M (Maintenance Pending Suit) [2012] EWHC 4109 (Fam) Coleridge J heard two appeals, in the same case, where district judges in the Principal Registry had made orders which seem to have overlooked the law (in certain important respects) and to have paid little regard to the relevant facts." says David Burrows in this article on Family Law.

Children and same sex families: known biological fathers and contact: the decision in S v D and E / T v X and Y [2013] EWHC
"Where do parents and prospective parents stand after the very recent decision in the case of S v D and E?" Asks Marisa Allman, in this article from Zenith Chambers.

Finance and Divorce March 2013 Update
Anna Heenan, solicitor and David Salter, Joint Head of Family Law at Mills & Reeve LLP analyse February’s financial remedies and divorce news and cases, in this article on Family Law Week.

A little help from my McKenzie Friend – might be frowned upon
"I revisited the case of Re H (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1797 recently, having read a blog post about it on Suesspicious Minds entitled Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, a McKenzie Friend?" Says Lucy Reed in this post on Pink Tape.

Case Comment – In the Matter of J (Children) [2013] UKSC 9
"On 20 February 2013 the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the matter of J (Children)." Full post: UKSC blog.

Case Comment: Re L and B (Children) [2013] UKSC 8
"This case concerned a judge’s power to reverse his/her decision before an order has been perfected." Full post: UKSC blog.

French authorities failed British mother in Cross-Channel custody dispute
"The European Court of Human Rights found today that the French authorities had failed to have sufficient respect for the family life of a British mother and her two children." Says Duncan Ranton in this post on Family Matters.

TF v FF: Discouraging profligate waste of costs
"As Mr Justice Jackson said when he began his brief judgment, his decision in TF v FF [2013] EWHC 390 (Fam) [above] contains a somewhat novel element." Full post: Family Lore.