News Update: 5th of March 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Lord Neuberger, UK's most senior judge, voices legal aid fears
The president of the UK Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, has said he fears cuts to legal aid could undermine the rule of law. He told the BBC: "My worry is the removal of legal aid for people to get advice about law and get representation in court will start to undermine the rule of law because people will feel like the government isn't giving them access to justice in all sorts of cases." Pretty obvious really, but the government isn't listening. Full story: BBC News.

Forced Marriage Unit helped 250 children last year
At least 250 children in the UK were helped by a unit set up to tackle forced marriages last year, with the youngest case involving a two-year-old. Full story: BBC News.

Battle for tycoon's assets threatens UK's title as divorce capital of the world
Landmark case in supreme court will decide whether spouses can protect assets by citing company law. The Prest appeal - being heard today and tomorrow. Full story: The Guardian. See also the Law Society Gazette article, below.

Children in gay adoptions at no disadvantage
Fears that children adopted by gay and lesbian couples do less well in life are completely unfounded, according to the first study into how children and parents in non-traditional families fare compared with heterosexual households. Will not make good reading in some quarters... Full story: The Independent.

Open up family court hearings, says senior judge
A senior judge [Mr Justice Mostyn] has made an important ruling in favour of transparency in the family courts. Full story: The Telegraph. See also the post by Pink Tape, below.

Children’s Commissioner raises concerns about Children and Families Bill
The Office of the Children's Commissioner has published a child rights impact assessment of Parts 1 – 3 of the Children and Families Bill. Full story: Family Law Week.

Children and Families Bill passes its second reading
MPs debated the second reading of the Children and Families Bill in the House of Commons on Monday, 25th February 2013. The Bill was passed without a division and will now be considered by a Public Bill Committee. Full story: Family Law Week.

Divorce-related legal complaints most common
Family law accounted for the highest number of complaints dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman last year, a report published today reveals. Full story: Law Society Gazette. See also this post.

Justice ministry under pressure to curb attacks on family court judges
Judges dealing with sensitive issues – including child custody – in the family courts have had hate mail sent to their homes, been physically attacked and been victims of attempted assaults in court buildings, according to information obtained by the Guardian.

Five specialist family lawyers appointed Queen’s Counsel
84 new appointments as Queen's Counsel, from 183 applicants, were announced on Wednesday 27 February 2013. Full story: Family Law Week.

US court rules against Scottish mother in bitter transatlantic custody row
A six-year-old British girl is a step closer to being sent to live in Alabama after the US Supreme Court ruled against her Scottish mother in a bitter transatlantic custody battle that could set a landmark precedent for future cases. Full story: The Telegraph.

Council launches drive to recruit 'resilience foster carers' for troubled teenagers
Former police and prison officers are being urged to become “resilience foster carers” offering homes to the most challenging looked-after teenagers, as part of a Staffordshire County Council campaign. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

GB v RNB [2013] EWHC 414 (Fam) (27 February 2013)
Appeal by mother against registration of a Romanian court order granting the care of the child to the father until proceedings in Romania were finalised. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v James & Ors [2013] EWCA Civ 65 (01 March 2013)
Appeal against refusal to make declarations that it would be lawful to withhold medical treatment from a man lacking capacity. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

S (A Child) [2012] EWCA Civ 1915 (11 September 2013)
Interim removal from family member following adjournment of fostering panel decision for approval. Findings made by Recorder unsupported by evidence. Child remained in placement under IRO and ISO. Full report: Family Law Week.

Y-M (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 143 (22 January 2013)
Appeal in contact proceedings relating to the issue of whether the father should attend an anger management programme. Appeal allowed and remitted to the lower court. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Y (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 129 (22 January 2013)
Application for permission to appeal in relation to an order for the return of the child to Cyprus. Application granted. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Family Law Hub.

L (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1923 (15 November 2012)
Applications by mother for permission to appeal against various orders made in contact proceedings, including a finding that allegations of abuse by the father were not established. Applications refused. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Re T (Care Proceedings: Drug Testing) [2012] EWHC 4081 (Fam) (10 February 2012)
Care proceedings in which the father sought to challenge the result of drug tests. Report: Family Law.

G v P [2013] EWCC
Application in the county court under Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, s 33 for an order for repayment of overpaid maintenance. Consideration as to whether an order must be ‘subsisting for the purposes of the section. Application granted. Full report: Family Law Week.

A London Borough v A & Ors [2012] EWHC 2203 (Fam) (27 July 2012)
Care proceedings in which the mother sought a postponement of the decision about the children's future to enable her to start on a course of therapy, so that the children might be safely returned to her sole care. Full report: Bailii.

Re W (Parental Responsibility Order: Inter-relationship with Direct Contact) [2013] EWCA (20 February 2013)
Father's appeal against refusal of contact and parental responsibility applications. Appeal relating to contact dismissed, but appeal relating to parental responsibility allowed. Report: Family Law.

KAC v DJC [2013] EWHC 292 (Fam) (21 February 2013)
Mother's application to relocate the children to Australia, after she had previously abducted them there. Application granted. Full report: Bailii. See also my post, below.

“Can’t We Make the Local Authority Pay for It?”
Andrew Pack, care lawyer with Brighton & Hove City Council, considers the court’s powers to compel a local authority to meet the costs of a particular action, in this article on Family Law Week.

Repatriation of EU family law powers, Part IV
David Hodson concludes his series examining areas where family law powers taken by the EU could (and should) pass back to the UK and other member states. Full article: Family Law.

Future financial remedy proceedings
"The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in the Petrodel Resources Ltd v Prest [2012] EWCA Civ 1395, shocked the family law world. It has left many concerned about the potential effects it may have on future financial remedy proceedings, and some adamant that it has provided moneymakers with an easy way to protect their assets from their former spouses." Says Sarah Foreman in this article in the Law Society Gazette.

Burial of a Child’s Remains – resolving parental disputes
Maeve O’Rourke, pupil barrister, of 4 Paper Buildings and Gwen Williams, Partner, Goodman Ray offer advice where parents are in dispute over where or how to dispose of their child’s remains, in this article on Family Law Week.

“To lose on a case once in the Court of Appeal may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose three times on the same case looks like carelessness”
The misadventures of the LA in the case of Re B (2012) (the Slovakian grandmother case). Full post: suesspiciousminds.

See Through Justice
Lucy Reed explains how transparency is edging closer, in this post on Pink Tape.

Keep feeling FAScination, or Bolt-On Wanderers
"If you do any advocacy in family proceedings, you will be familiar with the FAS form (the Family Advocacy Scheme) that the advocate has to hand in to the Court to have stamped, in order to get paid for their work" says suesspiciousminds.

What does “exceptional” mean in a post-LASPO world?
"Some have speculated that once LASPO 2012 has been implemented on 1 April and pretty much everything falls out of scope there will be plenty of – erm – scope – for applications under the “exceptional cases” provisions" says Lucy Reed. Full post: Pink Tape.

TC and JC (Children: Relocation): The presently governing principles of relocation
A summary of TC v JC (Children: Relocation) [2013] EWHC 292 (Fam) [also known as KAC v DJC, above] , decided on the 21st of February. Full post: Family Lore.