News Update: 19th of March 2013
WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.
Majority of councils have a principal social worker in place
More than two thirds of local authority children’s services have appointed a principal social worker as recommended in the Munro review two years ago. Full story: Children & Young People Now.
'Unbundling’ the new craze as lawyer-backed family mediation service launches
A lawyer-backed service that supports divorcing couples during mediation, charging fixed fees to halve the cost, is being billed as a possible lifeline for family legal aid lawyers after 1 April. Full story: Legal Futures.
Barrister ends up £8 million worse off after challenging divorce settlement
A barrister who took her ex-husband to court complaining that her £26 million divorce settlement was not enough has ended up £8 million worse off. Full story: The Telegraph. The Evans case - see below.
Couple falsely accused of child abuse win damages from Haringey council
Pair plunged into 'nightmare' after anonymous tipoff about treatment of daughter are awarded £2,000 damages in high court. Full story: The Guardian. See also the law report, below.
Foster carers with more than one child will still face 'bedroom tax'
Carers' exemption from under-occupancy charge does not extend to more than one 'spare bedroom', ministers reveal. Full story: The Guardian.
Moving family mediation forward
Family Justice Minister Lord McNally has called on mediators to lead the way in promoting out of court solutions to help separating families. Full story: Ministry of Justice. The full speech is here.
False allegations of domestic violence are rare, according to the CPS
The first ever study by the Crown Prosecution Service into so-called false allegations of domestic violence and rape has been published by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Full story: Family Law Week.
‘Fraudulently induced’ pre-nuptial agreement is void, says US appeal court
Decision opens the way for others to challenge pre-nups, say commentators. Full story: Family Law Week.
Warning over 'needless criminalisation' of children in care
Children in care in England and Wales are being needlessly criminalised for "trivial incidents", MPs have warned. Full story: BBC News.
Parents to foot bill for putting children in care
Worcestershire parents who put their children into care could be made to pay the cost under council plans. Full story: Children & Young People Now.
BASW's concern at Baby P social workers appeal court ruling
BASW has said that difficult questions remain about the approach taken to staff involved in the Baby Peter Connelly case, following today's decision by the Court of Appeal to reject a claim of unfair dismissal brought by two of the boy's social workers against Haringey Council. Full story: BASW News.
MPs to vote on whether to allow straight couples enter civil partnerships
Straight couples could be allowed to enter civil partnerships, rather than get married, under proposals to be voted on by MPs. Full story: The Telegraph.
‘Bedroom tax’ U-turn allays foster carers’ fears
Foster carers will not be penalised by the so-called bedroom tax, after a change in policy. Full story: Children & Young People Now.
Baby P social workers lose appeal over sacking
Judges back employment tribunal decision that Haringey council acted reasonably in dismissing Maria Ward and Gillie Christou. Full story: The Guardian.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Consequential, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2013
These Regulations make transitional and saving provisions, and consequential amendments to secondary legislation, in connection with the replacement of the legal aid scheme under Part 1 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 by the provisions of Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013
These Regulations make provision about the payment by the Lord Chancellor to persons who provide civil legal services under arrangements made for the purposes of Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
The Family Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2013
These rules amend the Family Procedure Rules 2010 by—
- changing references to certain rules in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998(4) to reflect re-numbering of some of those rules;
- in Part 30 (appeals), giving High Court Judges and Designated Family Judges power when refusing permission to appeal without a hearing, where the application is considered to be totally without merit, to make an order that the person seeking permission may not request the decision to be reconsidered at a hearing.
T (A Child: Article 15 of B2R), Re  EWHC 521 (Fam) (13 March 2013)
Care proceedings involving Slovakian mother. Slovakian Authority sought transfer to Slovakian court. Request issued that Slovakian court assumes jurisdiction. Full report: Bailii.
LA (A Child), Re  EWHC 578 (Fam) (15 March 2013)
Application by local authority for permission to remove a child the subject of a placement order from the UK to live in the USA. Permission granted. Full report: Bailii.
AB & Anor, R (on the application of) v The London Borough of Haringey  EWHC 416 (Admin) (13 March 2013)
Judicial review concerned with whether a decision was taken to undertake an enquiry pursuant to section 47 of the Children Act and, if it was, whether that decision should be set aside as being unlawful, unreasonable or irrational. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above, and the blog posts, below.
L (A Child), Re  EWCA Civ 179 (13 March 2013)
Appeal against interim care order. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii. See also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.
T (A Child)  EWCA Civ 128 (23 January 2013)
Application by father for permission to appeal against care and placement orders, on the basis that the judge was biased against him. Application refused. Full report: Bailii.
Mohan v Mohan  EWCA Civ 138 (31 January 2013)
Appeal by wife in proceedings issued by her in relation to the enforcement of a lump sum order. Full report: Bailii.
M (A Child)  EWCA Civ 132 (17 January 2013)
Care proceedings. Appeals by parents against dismissal of applications to vary no contact order. Appeals dismissed. Full report: Bailii.
P (A Child)  EWCA Civ 124 (06 February 2013)
Application by father for permission to appeal care and placement orders. Application adjourned. Full report: Bailii.
L (A Child)  EWCA Civ 123 (16 January 2013)
Application for permission to appeal by grandmother against contact order, where care proceedings subsequently issued. Application refused. Full report: Bailii.
L (A Child)  EWCA Civ 122 (22 January 2013)
Application by mother in children proceedings for disclosure of the file of the father's previous solicitors. Application granted. Full report: Bailii.
D (A Child)  EWCA Civ 120 (16 January 2012)
Application by mother for permission to appeal non-molestation order made in favour of son. Application refused. Full report: Bailii.
A London Borough v M  (4 May 2012)
Care application involving findings as to the cause of fractures sustained by the child. The judge was unable to find that any of the fractures occurred as a result of non accidental injury, and accordingly the application was dismissed. Full report: Bailii.
Evans v Evans  EWHC 506 (Fam) (13 March 2013)
Judgment in financial remedy proceedings involving, inter alia, the issue of the division of shares in a private company. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story, above.
H (A Child)  EWCA Civ 148 (23 January 2013)
Application for permission to appeal dismissal of mother's application for the summary return of her daughter to Mexico. Permission granted but appeal dismissed. Full report: Family Law Hub.
KS v ND (Schedule 1: Appeal: Costs)  EWHC 464 (Fam) (12 March 2013)
Schedule 1 Children Act proceedings. Appeal in respect of school fees award and costs decision. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii. See also my blog post, below.
Facilitating the Return of Abducted Children - The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights
Esther Lieu, a Pupil at Coram Chambers, and Adam Weiss, Legal Director, The AIRE Centre, explain the ECtHR's recent decision in Raw v France which considered, amongst other matters, the enforcement of court orders and the circumstances in which a parent could represent their children in Strasbourg proceedings. Full article: Family Law Week.
The Cost of Care……The position following the Tower Hamlets decision
Jacqui Thomas, barrister of 37 Park Square Chambers, Leeds, considers the implications of the recent Tower Hamlets judgment for the cost of kinship care. Full article: Family Law Week.
A new family court
"In all the excitement over Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 last year, and the Children and Families Bill this year, many family lawyers have overlooked the fact - trailed by a recommendation for a ‘single family court' in Family Justice Review - that in Crime and Courts Bill cl 16(3) and Sch 10 there is the statutory embodiment of what the Government intend for the recommendation." Says David Burrows, in this article on Family Law.
Family law arbitration wins
"Does this ring a bell? You sit opposite a client whose face gradually lengthens, whose mouth drops and whose eyes widen in dismay and disbelief as you describe how long it takes to bring matrimonial financial issues to a conclusion through the court litigation process." Asks Dennis Sheridan, in this article in the Law Society Gazette.
Data-gathering: damned if we do, damned if we don’t?
Part 1 of a discussion of AB & Anor, R (on the application of) v The London Borough of Haringey  EWHC 416 (Admin) [above]. Full post: The Not So Big Society.
Quashing the child protection investigation: self-serving or breaching the dam?
Part 2 of a discussion of AB & Anor, R (on the application of) v The London Borough of Haringey  EWHC 416 (Admin) [above]. Full post: The Not So Big Society.
“Ex parte removal by the back door”
A discussion of the Court of Appeal decision in Re L (A Child) 2013. Full post: suesspiciousminds.
KS v ND (Schedule 1: Appeal: Costs): The madness of reckless litigation
KS v ND (Schedule 1: Appeal: Costs)  EWHC 464 (Fam) [above] is yet another salutary tale of of the costs consequences of "reckless and foolhardy" litigation. Full post: Family Lore.