You can always tell it's a slow news week when national newspapers run stories emanating from 'leading lawyers', usually about some terribly interesting new phenomenon they have come across. Of course, the motivation of said lawyers is to inform the public and not at all to whore a bit of free publicity. Anyway, this is one such week, and I will leave it to you to decide what story or stories I am referring to.
Whilst there may not have been much in the way of real family law news, there have been one or two cases of note, including the following:
- A Father v SBC & Ors - A case that I tweeted about yesterday, and that Andrew Pack has covered with his usual panache over on suesspiciousminds. Apparently, a consequence of the drive to reduce the time taken to complete care proceedings is that there has been an increase in the numbers of care cases being concluded with a final care order on the basis of the child remaining at home. If this is so, there will inevitably be an increase in the number of cases where the local authority concludes that a child should subsequently be removed. Mr Justice Baker gives guidance (at paragraph 49), approved by the President, for dealing with such cases. The case also highlights the nonsense that whilst parents in care proceedings get automatic public funding, where, as here, the local authority proposes the removal of a child living at home under a care order and the parents apply to discharge that order and for an interim injunction under s.8 HRA, they are not automatically entitled to legal aid, despite facing an equally draconian outcome.
- B v B - Which concerned a father's application for the summary return of his daughter to Lithuania. Mr Justice Mostyn ordered such a return, but interpreted the term 'forthwith' in Article 12 of the Hague Convention to mean 'within three weeks'. He also made an order prohibiting the father from approaching within 100 metres of the mother's flat in Lithuania. As Sanchia Berg questioned on Twitter, quite how such an order is to be enforced is not entirely clear - presumably the court in Lithuania will be able to enforce it, if it does not make a similar order itself in any event.
Elsewhere, I wanted to mention a couple of things happening on other family law blogs:
- Firstly, Lucy Reed over on Pink Tape has come up with the interesting proposal of a not for profit organisation providing reporting of family law cases for the public. Lucy is happy to receive comments, criticisms or contributions. For details, see this post.
- Secondly, Marilyn Stowe has put out a call for examples of the difficulties faced by people no longer able to get legal aid, in connection with a television programme investigating the human impact of the UK Government’s decision to cut its legal aid budget. If you think you can help, contact Marilyn.
Finally, I was gratified to note that my @familylaw Twitter feed recently passed 9000 followers. If you are not already one of them, @familylaw feeds all news items, cases and articles from Family Lore Focus on to Twitter, thereby providing a convenient way to stay up to date.
I may be back tomorrow, but if not, have a good weekend.