News Update: 22nd of October 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Children’s Services Directors respond to Ofsted’s criticisms of children’s services
The Association of Directors of Children's Service has responded to Ofsted's National Social Care Report in which it described a lack of stable leadership in may authorities' children's services. Full story: Family Law Week.

Married tax break will leave over a million couples just £1.35 a week better off, new study shows
More than one million couples will be only £1.35 a week better off under David Cameron’s flagship proposal for a married couples tax allowance, according to new research. Full story: The Independent.

Millionaire divorce: 'Yes I own a $3m apartment - it doesn't mean I'm rich'
A husband battling to convince courts he is "bust" during a bitter divorce has told a top judge: "Yes I own a $3.3m apartment - it doesn't mean I'm rich." Full story: The Telegraph.

Court of Appeal upholds English courts’ discretion to stay divorce proceedings under forum conveniens
The Court of Appeal last week handed down an important judgment, confirming that the English courts have power to stay divorce proceedings in England and Wales where there are concurrent proceedings in another non-European country with which the parties have a closer connection. The Mittal case [below]. Full story: Family Law Week.

New adoption scheme launched to help ‘overlooked’ children
A new scheme, developed by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies, is intended to identify and train more adoptive parents for children who, for reasons of age and ethnicity, might currently be overlooked in the adoption system. Full story: Family Law Week.

President considers refusals of permission to oppose adoption prior to Re B-S
Final adoption orders should be deferred to allow time for parents’ appeal. See the W (A Child) case below. Full story: Family Law Week.

Essex courtroom fight heightens security concerns
A violent courtroom incident in which a man attacked his wife and was restrained by the judge has heightened concerns about court security as more litigants appear without legal representation. Full story: The Guardian.

Protocol for sharing information about vulnerable children published
CPS, family courts, social services and schools will cooperate in new initiative. Full story: Family Law Week.

Name-and-shame culture is driving child protection professionals out of the sector
Improvement must be driven from within children's services, not imposed by ministers and Ofsted, the leader of the Local Government Association has warned. Full story: The Guardian.

Reform of the Court of Protection - The President's address
Jordans was honoured to welcome Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division and the Court of Protection to speak at the annual Court of Protection Practice Conference on 14 October 2013. Full story: Family Law.

Independent provider plans could lead to 'privatisation' of social work, warn experts
Allowing all local authorities to hand responsibility for services to GP-style social work practices risks leading to the privatisation of child protection and looked-after children services, it has been claimed. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Lord Neuberger: Legal aid cuts threaten to deny justice
Proposed cuts to legal aid could deny justice to those who need it most, the UK's top judge has warned. Full story: BBC News.

Proportion of babies born in wedlock falls to new low of just 53 per cent
The proportion of babies born to married couples has reached a new low, making up just over half the total number of births last year. Full story: The Independent.

Child protection 'inadequate', Ofsted chief warns
One in seven councils in England are "inadequate" at caring for some of the most vulnerable children in society, the watchdog Ofsted has warned. Full story: BBC News.

Walsall MBC v KK & Anor [2013] EWHC 3192 (Fam) (07 October 2013)
Application in care proceedings for a transfer of the proceedings, and the children themselves, to Slovakia pursuant to the provisions of Article 15 BIIR. Application refused. Full report: Bailii.

A Local Authority v ED & Ors [2013] EWHC 3069 (CoP) (04 October 2013)
Proceedings under the Mental Capacity Act to determine the capacity of a woman in her 30s with a learning disability to make certain decision on her behalf. Full report: Bailii.

C (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1257 (18 October 2013)
Care proceedings. Appeal by maternal grandparent, who had applied for special guardianship, against care and placement orders. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii. See also the blog post, below.
W (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1177 (16 October 2013)
Judgment concerning two separate appeals against orders refusing parents leave to oppose the making of adoption orders in relation to their children. Both appeals allowed. Full report: Bailii. See also the news story above and the blog post, below.

Lancashire County Council v R [2013] EWHC 3064 (Fam) (11 October 2013)
Care proceedings. Judgment concerning issue of whether injuries to the child were accidental or caused by her father assaulting her. Full report: Bailii.

Mittal v Mittal [2013] EWCA Civ 1255 (18 October 2013)
Appeal by wife against order staying her divorce petition in favour of a petition issued by the husband in India. Appeal dismissed. Full report: Bailii. See also the news item above and the articles, below.

AK and MK (Fact Finding : Physical Injuries), Re [2013] EWHC 3158 (Fam) (15 October 2013)
Fact finding hearing in care proceedings to establish the cause of injuries sustained by one of the children. Full report: Bailii.

MM (A Child : Long Term Fostering / Placement With Family Members : Wishes and Feelings), Re [2013] EWHC 2697 (Fam) (22 August 2013)
Care proceedings. Judgment considering whether the child should be placed in long term foster care or with members of his family. Full report: Bailii.

S-K (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1247 (22 July 2013)
F was appealing against residence and contact orders. The residence order, in favour of M in relation to where the children lived, was appealed on the basis that the older child had expressed a wish to live with him rather than M. The original contact order had given him contact with the children one weekend every 2 weeks but this was reduced to once a month. Permission to appeal was granted in respect of the amended contact order. Full report: Family Law Hub. See also the blog post, below.

Taylor v Taylor [2013] EWCA Civ 1241 (25 March 2013)
Financial provision case where the W complained that a second charge on the FMH in favour of the H's mother was not effective, and that throughout the proceedings the H had failed to make adequate disclosures and had concealed assets. The W was applying for permission to appeal various orders but her application was refused on the basis that there was no reasonable prospect of success. Full report: Family Law Hub.

Re R (Committal) [2013] EWCA (10 October 2013)
Appeals by parents against committal orders for contempt for failure to deliver the child or to inform the tipstaff of his whereabouts. Appeals dismissed. Report: Family Law.

Re M (Care Order: Findings Against Father) [2013] EWCA (4 October 2013)
Appeal by father against findings against in care proceedings. Appeal dismissed. Report: Family Law.

M-T v T [2013] EWHC 2061 (Fam) (15 October 2013)
Judgement in proceedings arising from a dispute as to whether the parties had entered into a valid marriage in Nigeria. Full report: Bailii.

Mittal v. Mittal: English Family Courts Still Open for Business in the Wider World
Tim Amos QC and Duncan Brooks of Queen Elizabeth Building, counsel for the respondent, consider the issues and implications of the Court of Appeal's important judgment in Mittal v Mittal [above]. Full article: Family Law Week.

Alcohol Testing - What are the options?
Julie Stather, barrister, of 42 Bedford Row and Farooq Ahmed, barrister, of 7 Bedford Row consider the advantages and disadvantages of the various methods available for alcohol testing. Full article: Family Law Week.

The Solicitor’s Charge and Sears Tooth
The purpose of this note is to ask whether, in the light of the solicitors' statutory charge (Solicitors Act 1974, s 73(1)), there is ever any need for clients to sign a ‘Sears Tooth' agreement; or, as it is termed in Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, s 22ZA(4)(b) ‘a charge over any assets recovered in the proceedings'. Full article: Family Law.

The Court of Appeal upholds English discretionary forum against Owusu
After much controversy and debate about whether Owusu applied to divorce and related family law proceedings, the Court of Appeal has firmly said that it does not. The Mittal case [above]. Full article: Family Law.

Samantha Bangham’s Week in Cases 18 October 2013
Samantha Bangham looks at the week's case highlights. Full article: Family Law.

What’s holding back family mediation?
Changes must be made so that more lawyer referrals lead to mediation for disputing couples. Full article: Law Society Gazette.

‘Nothing else will do' - why the ‘last resort' won't necessarily be the last word ...
Following the decision of the Supreme Court in Re B (Care Proceedings: Appeal) [2013] UKSC 33, [2013] 2 FLR (forthcoming) particularly the judgment of Baroness Hale in relation to proportionality and the Court of Appeal in Re B-S (Adoption: Application of s 47(5)) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146, [2014] 1 FLR (forthcoming) the phrase 'nothing else will do' will be one which peppers documents, questions, submissions and judgments in any case involving placement orders or permanent separation from a parent. Full article: Family Law.

It isn’t Re JB, it is Re C
The Court of Appeal case I talked about at the weekend, which decided that the original Judge had not been wrong in making a Placement Order (and thus showing that the Court of Appeal aren’t just going to say “no” to every single Placement Order) is now out on Bailli and is Re C (A Child) 2013 [above]. Full post: suesspiciousminds.

No wonder you’re late – why this watch is exactly two days slow
Yet more quest for perfection from the President. Mark this well. Re W (A Child) 2013 [above] . Full post: suesspiciousminds.

Court orders MMR vaccine for children
The High Court has ruled that two sisters must receive the MMR vaccine against their wishes and the wishes of their mother. The F v F case. Full post: UK Human Rights Blog.

The effect of litigation upon children
A summary of the judgment in S-K (Children) [above]. Full post: Marilyn Stowe Blog.

“Dual-planning in final care plans– does it exist post Re B-S?”
Cases in the County Court don’t often make it onto Bailii law reports (though at some impending future time they all will), but this one is interesting and potentially important, not least because it identifies a conflict between two existing Court of Appeal authorities - Re D-R (Children) 2013. Full post: suesspiciousminds.