News Update: 1st of October 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Holman J judgment starkly illustrates troubling effect of legal aid cuts
Mr Justice Holman has described graphically the practical implications for the family courts of the continuing legal aid cuts. The Tufail v Riaz case. Full story: Family Law Week.

Referrals to family mediation plummet
Referrals to family mediation – the government’s flagship solution to the removal of legal aid and congested courts – have nosedived, according to figures seen by the Gazette. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Daniel Pelka: Child protection boss 'didn't know' of case
The man in charge of child protection in Coventry when Daniel Pelka died has admitted he knew nothing about the case until after the toddler was murdered. Full story: BBC News.

David Cameron unveils marriage tax breaks plan
Plans for some married couples to get tax breaks worth up to £200 a year have been announced by David Cameron. Full story: BBC News.

Gove accepts alternative proposal from Doncaster MBC for children's services
The Education Secretary has scrapped plans to strip children’s services from Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and accepted the council’s alternative proposal. Full story: Local Government Lawyer.

Children’s services expenditure by local authorities planned to fall by £234m
The Office for National Statistics has released details of planned expenditure by local authorities on a range of services relating to schools, education, children and young people's services for the financial year April 2013 – March 2014. Full story: Family Law Week.

Government approach to homes for care leavers is failing, says Fostering Network
New Government figures show that the voluntary approach to providing homes for young people in care beyond the age of 18 is not working, according to Fostering Network. Full story: Family Law Week.

Invest in more support care for families in crisis, local authorities urged
Local authorities in the UK should invest in support care schemes as a cost-effective way of supporting families and keeping children out of more expensive full-time care, the Fostering Network is urging. Full story: Family Law Week.

Health watchdog announces launch of targeted child protection inspections
The Care Quality Commission is to launch a dedicated child protection inspection regime of health services in England next week. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Court statistics (quarterly) - April to June 2013
This report presents the latest statistics on type and volume of cases that are received and processed through the court system of England and Wales in the second quarter of 2013 (April to June). Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Statistical release: Children looked after in England, including adoption
This statistical first release provides information about looked-after children in England for the year ending 31 March 2013. Full story: Department for Education.

Adoptions show 'record' increase
Nearly 4,000 children in England were adopted from care in the year to March. Full story: BBC News.

Ofsted unveils inspection framework for children's services
Ofsted is to push ahead with the introduction of a tougher inspection regime for children’s services, ignoring warnings from the sector that the system is too simplistic and will fail to deliver improvements. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Daniel Pelka: New report to look into why child protection workers failed to intervene in tragic case of boy beaten to death
A new report will be published into exactly why child protection workers failed to intervene in the case of a four-year-old beaten to death by his mother and stepfather. Full story: The Independent.

Appeals process changes for DWP benefits and child maintenance
Changing the appeals process so that more decisions that claimants disagree with are resolved without being sent to the Tribunals Service. Full story: Department for Work & Pensions.

Social workers may be targeted online following Munby video footage ruling
The recent landmark ruling by Lord Justice Munby that allowed a father to post a video of social workers removing his baby is worrying news for social workers. Full story: The Guardian.

Re Avon, North Somerset and Gloucestershire Public Law Case (2013) No 1 [2013] EWCC 4 (Fam)
County court judgment in public law proceedings - concerning two children, 3 and 2, in which the local authority had sought care and placement orders in respect of both children and the children's grandmother had sought a special guardianship order in respect of the older child - identifying failings in the approach to the case. Full report: Family Law Week.

C (Children), Re [2013] EWCA Civ 1158 (26 September 2013)
Application for permission to appeal against refusal of permission to appeal against care and placement orders. Application dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

G (A Child: Intractable Contact) [2013] EWHC B16 (Fam) (25 September 2013)
Application by father in long-running proceedings to vary contact order fixing the frequency of direct contact at 3 times a year. Contact re-defined, and s.91(14) order made. Full report: Bailii.

NN v ZZ & Ors [2013] EWHC 2261 (Fam) (26 July 2013)
Fact-finding hearing concerning the family of two children, in respect of whom there are cross-applications for residence orders by their mother and father. Full report: Bailii.

WX v YZ [2013] EWHC 2877 (Fam) (26 July 2013)
Fact-finding hearing in connection with applications for residence and for permission to relocate with the child to Poland. Full report: Bailii.

Changing a Child’s Name
Charlotte Rachael Proudman, barrister at 1 Mitre Court Buildings provides legal guidance on applications to change a child’s name, whether forename or surname, during private law children proceedings. Full article: Family Law Week.

Contact, European Convention 1950, Art 8 and assessment of parents’ evidence
"In two very different contact disputes the Court of Appeal has recently looked at parents' appeals partly in the light of Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950, Art 8 (right to respect for family life), though in each case for different reasons." Says David Burrows in this article on Family Law.

Time to Call a Halt – New Court of Appeal Guidance in Adoption Cases: Re B-S [2013] EWCA Civ 813
Alex Verdan QC of 4 Paper Buildings and Nicola Harries of Baxter Harries Solicitors draw lessons from new guidance in adoption cases, set out by the Court of Appeal in Re B-S in which they acted for the respondent. Full article: Family Law Week.

Some things which have bothered me lately….
Lucy Reed has a rant about some things that have bothered her whilst doing public law children work, in this post on Pink Tape.

Denial of contact with father too “draconian” – Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal has taken the unusual step of reversing a denial of contact order, by reviewing the question of the proportionality of the order in relation to the children’s right to family life under Article 8. The M (Children) case. Full post: UK Human Rights Blog.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there – An Unapologetic Rant
Sarah Phillimore asks how we are supposed to reconcile the President’s views about the urgent need for a change in culture with what the he goes on to endorse in the judgement in Re B-S (Children). Full post: Pink Tape.

Family law, adoption and the rights of children
"Sir James Munby only became President of the Family Division in January but he has certainly made his voice heard across legal circles in the eight months since then." Says Marilyn Stowe, in this post on her blog.

All change for the family justice system: cost-cutting is driving reform
Earlier this month saw the delivery of the sixth View from the President’s Chambers from the Sir James Munby. It is (as were his previous “Views”) almost entirely concerned with change, otherwise known as reform. Full post: Halsbury's Law Exchange.