News Update: 16th of April 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Reforms must work, family division head warns
‘Revolutionary’ reforms to the family justice system to speed up cases and cut costs must be made to work, the head of the Family Division has warned practitioners. Full story: Law Society Gazette, see also my post.

High Court emphasises the local authority’s duty to consult appropriately before removing children subject to ICO
Court finds for mother in judicial review proceedings against council. The Kingston Upon Hull case - see below. Full story: Family Law Week.

Court terminates father’s parental responsibility
First reported case on issue since 1995 determines child’s needs justify termination of PR. The DW v SG case (alternatively CW v SG) - see below. Full story: Family Law Week.

Lord Justice Ryder talks of “revolutionary culture of change” in family justice
Speaking at Resolution's national conference in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the outgoing Judge in Charge of the Modernisation of Family Justice talked of a "revolutionary culture of change" within the family justice system. Full story: Family Law.

Ofsted derails joint child protection inspection plans
Plans for joint child protection inspections involving regulators across social care, health and youth justice are in disarray. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Pilot scheme to help separating parents reach own agreements launched
Chair of Resolution, Liz Edwards, today announced the launch of a new scheme, ‘Family Matters’, at the largest annual conference of family law practitioners. Full story: Resolution.

Expert witness ruling a blow to children, Society warns
Children involved in family law cases will face extra uncertainty following a High Court ruling on the funding of expert witnesses, the Law Society has warned. The JG v LSC case - see also the article and blog post below. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Lead children's councillor resigns over poor Ofsted rating
Sandwell’s cabinet member for children’s services, Bob Badham, has resigned after Ofsted rated the council’s services for safeguarding children as inadequate. Full story: Community Care.

Government funds new innovative support for separated parents
Over a quarter of a million separated parents in Britain are set to benefit from £6.5m of pioneering and innovative support to help them to work together for the sake of their children, the Government said today (10 April). Full story: Department for Work and Pensions.

'Transforming Legal Aid': Consultation published
The Ministry of Justice has published a consultation on proposed further cut backs to legal aid aimed at saving £220m by 2018/19. Full story: Family Law Hub. See also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

Research into impact of legal aid cuts published
‘Advice deserts’ predicted as result of legal aid changes. Full story: Family Law Week.

Cafcass reports private law applications reaching record highs ahead of legal aid changes
Cafcass has continued to see high levels of private law cases in March, with 4,001 new applications passed to Cafcass. Full story: Family Law Week.

Care applications reach new record high
The number of care applications has risen by eight per cent in the past year, according to latest statistics from Cafcass. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Amendment of Schedule 1) Order 2013
This Order amends Schedule 1 to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which sets out the scope of civil legal aid.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2013
This Order commences sections 49 to 54 of the Act on 1st April 2013. Sections 49 to 51 of the Act make provision for a general power, not limited to maintenance pending suit, for a court in divorce, nullity of marriage or judicial separation proceedings to order payment by one party to the other for the purpose of securing legal services; and sections 52 to 54 of the Act make corresponding provision in relation to proceedings for a dissolution, nullity or separation order in respect of a civil partnership.

T v T [2013] EWHC B3 (Fam) (28 January 2013)
Application by husband to show cause why a financial agreement should not be made an order of the court. Application granted. Full report: Bailii. See also my post, below.

H, R (on the application of) v Kingston Upon Hull City Council [2013] EWHC 388 (Admin) (08 April 2013)
Application for judicial review by mother of children in care of decision by local authority to remove children from the care of a family member into foster care without (as she alleges) any consultation or judicial approval for that course. Application granted. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above and the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

DW (A Minor) & Anor v SG [2013] EWHC 854 (Fam) (12 April 2013)
Applications by mother for an order terminating father's parental responsibility, and by father for a specific issues order requiring the mother to supply annual reports on child's progress. Mother's application granted, but father's refused. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above, and the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

FT and NT (Children), Re [2013] EWHC 850 (Fam) (11 April 2013)
Application by mother for summary return of children to Canada. Application granted. Full report: Bailii.

W (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 314 (21 February 2013)
Care proceedings. Appeal against s.34(4) order refusing contact. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Family Law Week.

G-C (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 30 (27 February 2013)
Appeal by mother against order for staying contact, where she was concerned that the child be protected from risks deriving from her allergies. Appeal allowed. Full report: Family Law Week. See also my post, below.

A Primary Care Trust v LDV & Ors [2013] EWHC 272 (Fam) (18 February 2013)
Court of Protection proceedings concerning a 33-year-old woman suffering from a learning disability. Judgment dealing with preliminary issues relating to her accommodation at a private hospital. Full report: Bailii.

R v A [2013] EWHC 692 (Fam) (27 March 2013)
Hague Convention application involving issue of whether the children moved from the USA on a conditional or time-limited basis. Full report: Bailii.

Lim v Walia [2012] EWHC 4187 (Ch) (26 September 2012)
Judgment concerning issue of whether the deceased was, immediately before her death, entitled to a joint tenancy of lump sum life cover for the purposes of section 9 of the Inheritance Act. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Elliott v Ratcliffe [2013] EWHC 806 (Fam) (01 February 2013)
Application for a declaration of parentage, pursuant to section 55A of the Family Law Act 1986. Application adjourned for DNA tester to provide further information, in order to satisfy the court that the samples that were actually tested are samples from each of the respective named people. Full report: Bailii.

ET BT and CT (Children) v Islington [2013] EWCA Civ 323 (10 April 2013)
Appeal against dismissal of application for judicial review in respect of local authority risk assessment of three children. Full report: Bailii.

The UK Care System - Does it conflict with the Government’s drive for a faster Adoption process?
Kirsty Richards is concerned that the current pressures from the Government to find suitable adopters quickly conflicts with the care process, in some cases. Full article: Family Law.

Legal services orders (per LASPOA 2012)
With effect from 1 April 2013, Legal Aid and Sentencing of Offenders Act 2012 s 49(2) introduced a new Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 s 22ZA, whilst s 49(1) symbolically made unlawful orders for maintenance pending suit orders to make any provision for legal services. Full article: Family Law.

The High Court has handed down judgment on a claim for judicial review following a refusal by the Legal Services Commission to fund the full cost of an expert report in Children Act proceedings relating to a 10-year-old girl, JG. Full article: Family Law. See also the post by suesspiciousminds, below.

Court of Protection Update (April 2013)
Sally Bradley and Michael Edwards, barristers at 4 Paper Buildings, look at recent decisions on capacity in the Court of Protection. Full article: Family Law Week.

Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 12 April 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

Pre- and post-nuptial agreements – what you need to know
Anna Heenan, solicitor at Mills & Reeve, provides a quick guide to the courts' treatment of pre and post nuptial agreements following the Supreme Court decision in Radmacher. Full article: Family Law Hub.

“Bring it back” – Courts and care plans that are not working
Andrew Pack, care lawyer with Brighton & Hove City Council, examines the routes available to a local authority to return a case to court if the care plan goes awry. Full article: Family Law Week.

“The driver cannot ignore the passengers”
The judicial review case of H R v Kingston Upon Hull 2013 [above] – where the Court found that a failure to consult with parents BEFORE making a decision to move children under an ICO was unlawful. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

T v T: The separation agreement that was never made into an order
A quick look at T v T [2013] EWHC B3 (Fam) (28 January 2013) [above], which concerned a husband's application to show cause why a financial agreement should not be made an order of the court. Full post: Family Lore.

Terminating parental responsibility
The High Court decision of DW (A Minor) & Another v SG 2013 [above] and the possible revival of applications to terminate a father’s parental responsibility. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

G-C (A Child): Moving contact on, or not
A short note on G-C (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 30 [above]. Full post: Family Lore.

“Not with a bang, but a whimper”
Possible fallout from R (JG) v the Legal Services Commission 2013. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Transformers…. Cutting robots in disguise
Suesspiciousminds looks at the new consultation “Transforming Legal Aid”.