News Update: 12th of November 2013

WELCOME to this week's Family Lore News Update.

Gove urges 'systematic' child protection reform
Michael Gove is calling for "systematic" and "radical" reform of England's child protection system so it can meet the challenge it faces. Full story: BBC News.

Judge vows to open up family courts to the public
One of the country’s most senior judges has vowed to “open to the world” the workings of the family courts and the shadowy Court of Protection. See his speech under 'Articles', below. Full story: The Independent.

Government not doing enough to support family mediation
The government is failing to support divorcing couples, a leading mediator has said as he urged the Ministry of Justice to deliver on its flagship family mediation policy. Full story: Solicitors Journal.

Bill amendment prompts social work competition fears
A late amendment to the Children and Families Bill could open up children’s social work to much greater competition, the National Children’s Bureau has warned. Full story: Children & Young People Now.

Relationship breakdown costs UK £50bn a year
A new group of politicians and charities call on the Government to create a national relationship strategy. Full story: The Telegraph.

Court refuses declaration of non-recognition of forced marriage of 14 year old girl
Mr Justice Holman has dismissed an application, brought by a local authority in the course of care proceedings, for a declaration of non-recognition of the marriage of a British girl, then 14, conducted in Pakistan under circumstances of extreme duress. The A Local Authority v X & Anor (Children) case. Full story: Family Law Week.

Care applications in October 2013
In October 2013, Cafcass received a total of 972 applications. This is the second highest month this year and a 2% increase compared to those received in October 2012. Full story: Cafcass.

Cafcass private law demand
In October 2013, Cafcass received a total of 3,975 new private law cases. This is a 8% decrease on October 2012 levels. Full story: Cafcass.

New standards aim to promote quality expert evidence
Vulnerable children will be helped by new national standards which will raise the quality of expert evidence in family courts and end unnecessary delays, Justice Minister Lord McNally has announced. The publication of the joint Ministry of Justice and Family Justice Council response to the consultation on standards for expert witnesses in children’s proceedings in the family courts. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Ofsted's single inspection of children’s services takes effect
Ofsted's single inspection framework is now in effect on a universal, three-year cycle. It brings together into one inspection: child protection; services for looked after children and care leavers; and local authority fostering and adoption services. Full story: Family Law Week.

Children set to lose out as government confirms child maintenance charges
The government has confirmed [in its response to the consultation on regulations  governing the new child support scheme Supporting separated families;securing children’s futures] that it intends to deduct a proportion of child maintenance from families who need to use the new child maintenance collection service. Full story: Gingerbread.

Cafcass transfer to the Ministry of Justice
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) will transfer to the Ministry of Justice in April 2014. Full story: Ministry of Justice.

Pioneering family court on the edge
A trailblazing family judge has described as ‘tyranny’ the government’s demand for rigid adherence to a 26-week time limit for care cases. Full story: Law Society Gazette.

Triennial Review of the Civil Justice Council and Family Justice Council
The Judicial Office is carrying out a review of the Civil and Family Justice Councils as a part of a new Triennial Review for non-departmental public bodies. Full story: Family Law.

A v A [2013] EWHC 3298 (Fam) (07 October 2013)
Judgment following order of the Supreme Court that the youngest child of the family should be brought to this country, notwithstanding that he had never lived here. Full report: Bailii.

A-Z v Birmingham City Council [2013] EWHC 3462 (Fam) (16 October 2013)
Application by father for discharge of care orders. Application dismissed. Full report: Bailii.

Ball v Shepstone [2013] EWCC 7 (Fam) (03 October 2013)
Order for committal of husband for failure to comply with order to file Form E. Full report: Bailii.

Duncan v Duncan [2013] EWCA Civ 1407 (09 October 2013)
Appeal by wife against an order setting aside a financial order on the basis of a conflict of interest. Appeal allowed and original order restored. Full report: Bailii. see also my blog post.

M, Re (Best Interests: Deprivation of Liberty) [2013] EWHC 3456 (COP) (23 October 2013)
Proceedings under Section 21A of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 challenging a Deprivation of Liberty Standard Authorisation. Full report: Bailii.

Y (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1337 (3 October 2013)
Mother's appeal against care and placement orders. Appeal dismissed and application remitted for re-hearing. Full report: Family Law Week.

W (Fact Finding: Hearsay Evidence) [2013] EWCA Civ 1374 (06 November 2013)
Appeal by parents against findings of fact in care proceedings, principally concerning the way in which the judge approached hearsay evidence adduced by the local authority. Appeal allowed. Full report: Bailii.

Opening up the Family courts: Transparency in the Family court and the Court of Protection
Speech by the President of the Family Division and President of the Court of Protection at the Annual Conference of the Society of Editors 'Freedom to Inform', London 11th November 2013. Full speech: Judiciary of England and Wales (PDF).

Finance and Divorce November 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 October. Full article: Family Law Week.

F v. F: latest developments in children and consent to medical treatment
This was the father’s application for a declaration and a specific issue order for his daughters to have the MMR vaccine. Full article: The Barristers’ Hub.

All change for children law
An analysis of the Children and Families Bill. Full post: Family Law Blog.

“A fast car and an open road” – non-disclosers and adverse inferences
Guest blogger Margaret Heathcote looks at cases involving the failure of (at least) one party to make full and frank disclosure of their financial assets and affairs, with a view to undermining the financial claims of the other. Full post: Family Matters.

Re J (A Child), Limiting the scope of injunctions in family cases – Hugh Tomlinson QC
In the case of Re J (A Child) ([2013] EWHC 2694 (Fam), the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, considered an application for a contra mundum injunction by Staffordshire County Council. Full post: Inforrm's Blog.