News Update: 2nd of April 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Legal aid changes spark solicitor warnings
Solicitors have warned that people may start "taking the law into their own hands" as a result of changes made to legal aid in England and Wales. Full story: BBC News. The cuts to legal aid are a recurring theme in this week's News Update...

reunite reports rise in calls to its advice line
Latest figures released by reunite International Child Abduction Centre show a 9 per cent increase in the number of calls to their advice line. Full story: Family Law Week.

Unhappy couples rushing to divorce lawyers ahead of legal aid cuts
Unhappy couples have been rushing to file for divorce before legal funding is cut next week, law firms claim. Full story: The Telegraph.

Coalition 'faffing around with gay marriage’
The Government is “faffing around with gay marriage” instead of addressing major injustices in marital law, one of Britain’s leading lawyers has said. Full story: The Telegraph. Personally, I don't see why the Government can't 'faff around' with gay marriage and address injustices in marital law...

Number of online divorces to rise due to legal aid cuts, lawyers claim
Legal aid cuts being imposed from next week could spark a rise in “online divorces”, lawyers have claimed. More of the 'bleedin obvious', as Basil Fawlty would say. Full story: The Telegraph.

PSE reports paints a picture of growing deprivation for UK children
In its first published report 'The Impoverishment of the UK' Poverty and Social Exclusion finds that a growing number of British children are not being properly fed and are living in damp housing which their parents cannot afford to heat. Full story: Family Law Week.

Two new family Justices of Appeal
Downing Street has announced the appointment of two new family judges to the Court of Appeal. Full story: Family Law.

Average time for disposal of a care or supervision application is now 45 weeks
Nearly 30,000 children were involved in public law proceedings in 2012. The latest quarterly release of court statistics by the Ministry of Justice. Full story: Family Law Week.

Labour council tells families to take in a foster child to avoid benefit cuts
A Labour council has [unsurprisingly] been attacked after it advised families faced with a cut in their housing benefits to foster a child to get around the rules. Full story: The Telegraph.

Guidance for applicants requiring evidence of domestic violence now available
Guidance and template letters for applicants requiring evidence of domestic abuse to obtain legal aid post-1 April 2013 has now been published by the Ministry of Justice. Full story: Resolution.

Cuts to legal aid leave 200,000 people at risk of marital purgatory
Ahead of the legal aid cuts family law practitioners have reiterated concerns that vulnerable people will be left without legal advice and support during divorce. Full story: Resolution.

Appeal judge makes blistering attack on ‘emasculating’ legal aid cuts
A retired judge has used one of his final cases to launch an attack on the government’s ‘emasculation’ of legal aid. Full story: Law Society Gazette. Fine words, but they will fall on deaf ears...

Gravely ill woman who ran away from home should not be reunited with family, court rules
Court of Protection rules 64-year-old's decision must be respected, 'terribly sad though that be'. Full story: The Independent.

Top district judge warns on burdens caused by rise in litigants in person
A rise in the number of litigants in person means many more hearings are having to become inquisitorial in nature rather than adversarial, the new President of the Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges has warned. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Guidance on deciding applications for Legal Aid in private family law matters
Two guidance documents have been published on the MoJ website concerning the provision of legal aid in private family law matters. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Michael Gove threatens to strip Doncaster council of children's services
Education secretary says council has failed to overcome 'serious and long-standing failures' in child protection. Full story: The Guardian.

Hampshire to take control of Isle of Wight children’s services
Hampshire County Council is set to take over children’s services on the Isle of Wight after its lead member for children backed the proposals. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

The Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 (Commencement No. 3) Order 2013
This Order is the third Commencement Order made by the Secretary of State for Education under the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 and brings into force section 8 of the Act on 15th April 2013.

B (Children) [2012] EWCA Civ 1933 (12 December 2012)
Appeal by local authority against refusal of application for interim care orders. Appeal allowed. Full report: Family Law Week. See also the post by Suesspiciousminds, below.

Howell v Howell [2013] EWCA Civ 268 (21 February 2013)
Application for permission to appeal against, inter alia, granting of decree nisi. Application refused. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Mulcahy v Castles Solicitors & Hextalls Solicitors [2013] EWCA Civ 242 (23 January 2013)
Application for permission to appeal against dismissal of claim for negligence against divorce solicitors. Application allowed in part. Full report: Family Law Hub.

I (A Child) & J (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 259 (5 February 2013)
Linked applications for permission to appeal involving the issue of whether the only people with parental responsibility can remove the child from the jurisdiction even if the child is, at the point of removal, habitually resident here. Applications granted. Full report: Family Law Hub.

LA v DG & Ors [2013] EWHC 734 (Fam) (01 February 2013)
Care proceedings involving six children of a family of Roma Slovakian origin. Care and placement orders made. Full report: Bailii.

W (A Child), Re [2013] EWHC 653 (Fam) (21 March 2013)
Care proceedings opposed by the child's mother and grandmother, with whom he lived before being placed in foster care. Care and placement orders made. Full report: Bailii.

LM (A Child), Re [2013] EWHC 646 (Fam) (27 March 2013)
Judgment dealing with the issue of transferring Irish care proceedings to the English court. Full report: Bailii.

NT v FS & Ors [2013] EWHC 684 (COP) (26 March 2013)
Application for authority to execute a statutory will on behalf of a party that lacks the capacity to make a will. Full report: Bailii.

Welfare Reform Act 2012
Nicola Rowlings, PSL at Mills & Reeve, explains the changes that are happening to the benefits system as a result of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, in this article on the Family Law Hub.

Funding Family Proceedings: The New Law
Legal Services Order applications under s.22ZA and s.22ZB Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. Full article: Family Law Week.

Rule of children law, and of control in children proceedings
David Burrows considers the application of legal principles in children proceedings, in this article on Family Law.

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

Before the Flood? The 1996 Hague Convention in the English Courts
Duncan Ranton, Solicitor and Consultant with Bishop & Sewell LLP, considers the impact of the 1996 Hague Convention and the first judgment in the English courts to consider the treaty, in this article on Family Law Week.

Legal Aid Update 2013 - what you need to know
"As from 1 April 2013, legal aid will be reformed and it is important that all family practitioners know the extent to which legal aid will be available after that date for family work. This note is intended to provide a quick guide to private law family lawyers and does not deal with the process after legal aid eligibility has been determined." Full article: Family Law Hub.

What social workers need to know about new child protection guidance
"The revised Working Together guidance will not reduce the bureaucratic burden, despite claims to the contrary." Full article: The Guardian.

Absolutely Transparent
"Transparency in family justice is an issue that cannot be swept under the carpet – it ain’t going away." Says Lucy Reed, discussing her hobby-horse specialisation, in this post on Pink Tape.

What to do in the interim?
Interlocutory orders when the Court is faced with disputed allegations of non-accidental injury. Suesspiciousminds looks at Re B [above] in this post.

Government to review child protection thresholds
"The government is set to review child protection thresholds and whether there should be nationally set “triggers” for taking a child into care." Full post: The Children's Services Blog.