News Update: 17th of September 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Daniel Pelka: Serious case review finds 'missed opportunities'
Chances were missed to help a child who was murdered by his mother and her partner after suffering "terrifying and dreadful" abuse, a report has found. Full story: BBC News.

“Common Law Marriage” myth needs addressing, say MPs
A survey of MPs has revealed that 69% of Parliamentarians agree there is a mistaken belief in the existence of “common law marriage” among their constituents, and that 57% believe the law needs to be changed to provide greater protection for unmarried couples upon separation. Full story: Resolution.

Michael Gove lambasts protection provided by children’s homes
The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has given a withering assessment of the protection afforded by children's homes in an article published by the Daily Telegraph. Full story: Family Law Week.

Daniel Pelka: Calls For Child Protection Law
Almost 50,000 people have signed a petition calling for new legislation to help protect children from abuse in the wake of Daniel Pelka's murder. Full story: Yahoo News UK.

Lib Dems: Unmarried couples who split should have right to sue
Partners who have lived together for two years to get extra legal rights under proposals backed by Clegg leadership. Full story: The Independent.

Vegetarian mother stopped father seeing son in case he fed him meat
A vegetarian mother who stopped her five year-old son from seeing his father because she feared he might feed him meat must let him see the child or lose custody, a judge ruled. Full story: The Telegraph.

Pilot project reduces duration of care proceedings to 27 weeks
A pilot project to reduce unnecessary delay for children undergoing care proceedings has been largely successful. Full story: Family Law.

Minister acclaims more separated parents than ever paying towards their children
The progress being made in separated parents accepting financial responsibility for their children. Full story: Department for Work and Pensions.

New £19.3 million support fund for adoptive parents
The government announces new funding to support adoptive families. Full story: Department for Education.

Judges back independent social workers' key role in care cases
Oxford University study finds most family court judges believe independent social work reports are of good or excellent quality and prevent delays in care cases. Full story: Community Care.

Marriage 'no longer the foundation stone of family life'
Marriage is no longer the foundation stone of family life in Britain, a major study of public opinion suggests Full story: The Telegraph.

M (a child), Re [2013] EWCC 3 (Fam) (19 August 2013)
Application by father to enforce contact order. Full report: Bailii.

N v K [2013] EWHC 2774 (Fam) (11 September 2013)
Application by mother for residence order in case where the child, having previously lived in the USA, had lived in this country for the last six years. Residence order made. Full report: Dawson Cornwell (PDF).

K (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1117 (30 July 2013)
A contact case in which the judge refused contact between the children and F because F would not accept the findings of abuse previously made by the judge and whether, and to what extent, he was motivated to change. The application to appeal was allowed because the judge had failed to appreciate that the F was giving limited evidence as he did not want to incriminate himself. This may have entirely coloured the approach to the F's evidence. Full report: Family Law Hub. See also the blog post, below.

Grocholewska-Mullins v Mullins [2013] EWCA Civ 1121 (26 July 2013)
A financial provision case in which the ex-wife was seeking to achieve a clean break after 20 years of receiving periodical payments. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Re A (Perpetrator of Harm: Findings of Fact) [2013] EWCA (4 September 2013)
Appeal by father against finding that he was the sole perpetrator of injuries to the child. Appeal allowed. Report: Family Law.

Finance and Divorce September 2013 Update
Jessica Craigs, senior solicitor and David Salter, Joint Head of Family Law at Mills & Reeve LLP analyse the financial remedies and divorce news and cases published in August. Full article: Family Law Week.

Jurisdiction and meaning of habitual residence
The Supreme Court on 9 September handed down judgment in what is undoubtedly a landmark decision in relation to issues of jurisdiction. Full article: Law Society Gazette.

Owusu goes to the Court of Appeal
David Hodson sets out information of an appeal to be heard by the Court of Appeal in early October on the Owusu issue, a matter of considerable importance to the English and international family law professions on divorce forum disputes with non-EU countries. Full article: Family Law.

Costs, a ‘clean sheet’, and a starting-point for costs orders
"In Solomon v Solomon [2013] EWCA Civ 1095 Ryder LJ gives a welcome reminder of the Gojkovic costs decision of Butler-Sloss LJ - namely, that the award of costs in family proceedings may be linked to the civil proceedings general principle: that costs follow the event", says David Burrows in this article on Family Law.

View from the President's Chambers 6
The process of reform : latest developments. Full article: FLBA (PDF).

You have the right to remain silent (or do you?)
The decision to give permission to appeal in Re K (children) 2013 [above] might well become an important one, when the full appeal is heard. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Social Work Leaders Mightily Naffed Off With Transparency Ruling
"As well they might be. It’s the instinct of self-preservation kicking in I guess. I can’t blame ‘em for that. But whilst sympathetic on a human level I do think they’re wrong." Says Lucy Reed in this post on Pink Tape, referring to the decision in Re J.

Historical amputations and lessons
Suesspiciousminds considers in this post, with reference to the 26 week timetable, whether speed is the best measure of something.

‘Munby ruling fuels idea that social workers are just child snatchers’
Nushra Mansuri, professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers, asks how the recent Munby judgement will lead to greater confidence in the family courts when some newspapers have a ‘malevolent agenda’ when reporting on social work. Full post: The Children's Services Blog.