News Update: 11th of June 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Family courts risk 'collapse' as surge in custody cases follows legal aid cuts
The family court system is in danger of “collapsing in on itself” after a surge in the number of warring parents turning up in person to launch child custody cases because of legal aid cuts [see Cafcass story below], leading lawyers are warning. Full story: The Telegraph.

Prest v Prest: supreme court prepares to rule on landmark divorce wrangle
Will Yasmin Prest "pierce the corporate veil" and get the £17.5m divorce settlement her former husband has been ordered to pay her? That's the intriguing question the supreme court will answer on Wednesday. Full story: The Guardian.

Record-breaking month for private law applications
In May 2013, Cafcass received a total of 5,061 new private law cases, representing the highest ever month on record. This is a 5% increase on February 2012 levels. Clearly, mediation is not the answer to everything... Full story: Cafcass.

Slight drop in Care applications in May
In May 2013, Cafcass received a total of 965 applications. This is a 1.8% decrease on May 2012, however the year-to-date figures are still up on last year. Full story: Cafcass.

'A million children growing up without fathers'
A million UK children are growing up without a father in their lives, says a new report on family breakdown. Full story: BBC News.

Foster care to be extended to the age of 21
Teenagers will be helped to stay with their foster parents until they reach 21 under plans being put to MPs this week. Full story: The Independent.

Independent reviewing officers are not challenging enough, says Ofsted
Officers employed by local authorities to review care plans are failing to make enough of a difference for looked-after children, a damning report has found. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Serious case review panel established
Education Secretary Michael Gove today established a new independent panel to help ensure that lessons are learned when a child dies or is seriously harmed and there are signs of abuse or neglect. Full story: GOV.UK.

Use of expert witnesses in family courts is on the slide, finds Cafcass
The use of expert witnesses in care proceedings cases, particularly independent social workers, has fallen radically over the last three years. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Supreme Court to deliver judgment in Petrodel v Prest next week
The Supreme Court will deliver its judgment in Petrodel Resources Limited and others v Prest on Wednesday, 12th June. See also the news story above. Full story: Family Law Week.

Supreme Court to deliver judgment on ‘significant harm’ and proportionality of response
The Supreme Court will deliver judgment in B (A Child) on Wednesday, 12th June. See also the blog post below. Full story: Family Law Week.

Child maintenance reforms will 'penalise single parents'
Proposals to reform the child maintenance system will leave many lone parents worse off, causing children's welfare to suffer, research suggests. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

News from the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court grants permission to appeal one High Court and one Court of Appeal decision. Full story: Family Law Hub.

Ombudsman attacks council for failing to support boy abandoned by parents
The Local Government Ombudsman has sharply criticised a local authority for its failure properly to support a child abandoned by his parents. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Fresh inquiry sees MPs investigate support for children in care
A group of MPs has launched an inquiry to examine whether looked-after children receive the support to which they are entitled. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

North West council fined £70k after data breach relating to adopted child
A council in the North West has become the latest local authority to be fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office after a data breach in its social services team. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

New mediation laws to help separating couples
Separating couples will be legally required to find out about ways to settle disputes away from the courtroom, under new laws currently going through Parliament. Full story: GOV.UK.

Insemination case: Chances missed to check on adopted daughter
A review into how a mother was able to force her adopted child to impregnate herself has found agencies missed opportunities to intervene. Full story: BBC News.

Peers defeat attempt to kill gay marriage bill
Campaigners for same sex marriage welcome the result after a wrecking amendment was defeated by 390 to 148 votes. Full story: The Guardian.

Government welcomes new ideas for supporting separated families
Additional funding available for projects to help separated parents and their children. Full story: GOV.UK.

General Medical Council guidance: Acting as a witness in legal proceedings
The General Medical Council has published guidance for doctors who act as professional witnesses or expert witnesses. Full story: Family Law.

Legal Aid Agency Guidance on the Remuneration of Expert Witnesses
The Legal Aid Agency has published updated guidance on remuneration for expert witnesses. Full story: Family Law.

President's Guidance of 4 June 2013: Committal for Contempt of Court
On 4 June 2013, the President of the Family Division issed guidance on committal for contempt of court. This guidance supplements the Practice Guidance issued on 3 May 2013. Practice Guidance: Family Law.

Just two new cases this week:

R (Mother) v C (Father) & Anor [2013] EWHC 1295 (Fam) (17 May 2013)
Application by mother for permission to relocate with her child ton Columbia. Permission granted. Full report: Bailii.

A Council v M & Ors (Judgment 4: Foreign Adoption: Refusal of Recognition) [2013] EWHC 1501 (Fam) (06 June 2013)
Application for a declaration that an adoption in Kazakhstan is recognised in England and Wales. Held that it was not an adoption that is recognised. Full report: Bailii.

Legal services orders
Since 1 April the family courts have had the power to make a legal services order, which is a new form of interim order compelling one spouse to make provision for the other’s legal costs. Full article: Law Gazette.

Disclosure of confidential information: public interest immunity
David Burrows looks back at Durham County Council v Dunn [2012] EWCA Civ 1654. Full article: Family Law.

Finance and Divorce June 2013 update
Anna Heenan, solicitor and David Salter, Joint Head of Family Law at Mills & Reeve LLP analyse the financial remedies and divorce news and cases published in May. Full article: Family Law Week.

Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 7 June 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

The Revised Public Law Outline .... and this time they mean it
Andrew Pack, care lawyer with Brighton & Hove City Council, explains and comments on the changes made by the recently published Revised Public Law Outline. Full article: Family Law Week.

A thin week for blog posts too:

Rescuing children from significant harm: looking forward with trepidation and hope
Allan Norman looks forward to the Supreme Court judgment in B (A Child). Full post: The Not So Big Society.

“Tales of the Un-experted” (sorry)
CAFCASS have just published a study looking at experts – their use in proceedings, what type is being used, who asked for them, were they helpful? Full post: suesspiciousminds (about time he apologised for his post titles!).