legalvoice.org.uk - Family courts face collpase
The family courts were under unprecedented pressure in the month following the introduction of the LASPO cuts which removed legal aid from most family cases, reports Jon Robins. Cafcass, which looks after the interests of children involved in family proceedings, reported that in May there were a total of 5,061 new private law cases ‘representing the highest ever month on record'. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 removed legal aid for all family cases except where was evidence of domestic violence as of April.
For the full article, click on the following link: legalvoice.org.uk (13/06/13)
The Telegraph - Family courts risk 'collapse' as surge in custody cases follows legal aid cuts
The family court system is in danger of "collapsing in on itself" after a surge in the number of warring parents turning up in person to launch child custody cases because of legal aid cuts, leading lawyers are warning.
New figures show the number of children caught up in legal battles between separating or divorcing parents jumped by 27 per cent last month and is currently running at almost twice the level seen two years ago.
Cafcass, the agency which looks after children's interests in the family courts, said that it received 5,061 new cases involving family splits in England in May, by far the highest ever seen in a single month.
For the full article, click on the following link: The Telegraph (11/06/13)
The Centre for Social Justice report says lone parent families are increasing by more than 20,000 a year, and will top two million by the next general election.
In some areas fatherlessness has reached such high levels that they are virtual "men deserts", it adds.
And it accuses politicians on all sides of a "feeble" response.
The report says the number of single parent households has been rising steadily over the past 40 years, and that now 3m children are growing up predominantly with their mothers.
To read the full article, click on the following link: BBC News (10/06/13)
To watch the video, click on the following link: BBC News (10/06/13)
ASP to hold Open Meeting on 7 September 2012 with Guest Speakers Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP and Anthony Douglas CBE
Time: 6.45 for 7.00pm start
Venue: The Peepul Centre, Orchardson Avenue, Leicester, LE4 6DP
Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP (Leicester East) Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee
Anthony Douglas CBE Chief Executive of CAFCASS
This meeting will be of interest to all directly involved in Family Law - The Judiciary, Magistrates, Solicitors, Barristers, Mediators and CAFCASS. Organisations, both professional and those in the wider Voluntary Sectors will also be welcome - Social Services, Citizens Advice Bureaux, Contact Centres and other Support Groups.
RSVP If you wish to attend simply send an email to email@example.com with your name and the numbers coming from your organisation.
We look forward to meeting you.
Hon. Secretary, Association for Shared Parenting
The Association for Shared Parenting send letter to the Prime Minisiter.
On 11 July 2012, Rt Hon, Sir Alan Beith MP, Chair of the Justice Select Committee wrote to the Prime Minister in relation to the Government's proposals to change the Children Act 1989 in an attempt to promote shared parenting. In the letter, Sir Alan sets out the Committee’s opposition to the insertion in law of a legislative statement changing the present responsibility to safeguard the rights of the child in an attempt to promote shared parenting.
To read Sir Alan Beith's letter and ASP's response please click on the links below:
A father who was denied access to his children for three years because it upset their mother suffered a breach of his parental rights, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.
Three senior judges found that it was not acceptable for the mother to block the father's reasonable efforts to see his two daughters.
They urged all separated parents to see the "bigger picture" and consider the harm that legal disputes cause children. Lord Justice McFarlane said mothers and fathers had "a responsibility and a duty" to help children maintain contact with the other parent.
For the full article, click on the following link: The Telegraph (25/07/12)
The Telegraph - Children win right to see both parents after divorce According to the Telegraph, Children are for the first time to be given the legal right to have a proper relationship with both their parents after a divorce.
The Telegraph adds, Ministers intend to rewrite the law in an attempt to ensure that fathers get improved access to their offspring after a marriage breaks down. Currently, family courts decide to leave children with their mothers in the vast majority of divorce cases. Campaigners have long complained that without a legal right to see their children, fathers can be excluded, particularly when a split has been acrimonious. By creating the new right for children, ministers hope that judges ruling on custody disputes will ensure more equal access for both parents. Ministers intend to rewrite the law in an attempt to ensure that fathers get improved access to their offspring after a marriage breaks down. Currently, family courts decide to leave children with their mothers in the vast majority of divorce cases. Campaigners have long complained that without a legal right to see their children, fathers can be excluded, particularly when a split has been acrimonious. By creating the new right for children, ministers hope that judges ruling on custody disputes will ensure more equal access for both parents.
For the full article, click on the following link: The Telegraph (03/02/12)
Family Justice Review: Interim Report
The Family Justice Review have today published their Interim Report on the Family Justice system. The Interim Report identifies that the Family Justice System in relation to Private Law is largely adversarial and that it does little to resolve parental conflict. Whilst the Interim Report reluctantly accepts that a massive power imbalance exisits between the resident parent and the non-resident parent, the Interim Report recommends that a presumption of shared parenting not be enshrined in law. The Report makes clear that it is the childs right to a relationship with both parents following divorce or parental separation.
For the full Interim Report, click on the following link FJR Interim Report (March 2011)
Family courts body Cafcass is now beyond reform and should be abolished, a committee of MPs was told this week.
Appearing before the Justice Select Committee, Martha Cover, respresenting the Interdisciplinary Alliance for Children - a group of 18 organisations, including Nagalro and the Association of Lawyers for Children - told MPs: "We have considered the possibility of reform rather than abolition, but we have come to the conclusion that [Cafcass' inability] to change to meet the concerns of the other partners in the family justice system is such that we simply have to start again."
For the full article, click on the following link communitycare (25/03/11)
On Tuesday, 15th February 2011, Graham Porter, one of the ASP Trustees, travelled to London to attend the evening meeting of the grandly named, All Part Parliamentary Group on Family Law and the Court of Protection. Described on the invitation as a Speaker Meeting, we were obliged to listen to four individuals (one of whom was our own John Baker - another ASP Trustee) holding forth on the following topic:
Shared Parenting: Panacea or Placebo?
For the full article, click one following link ASP (15/02/11)
Cafcass issue second monthly newsletter. Ofsted rate North and South of Tyne as making good progress.
For the Newsletter, Click on the following link: cafcass newsletter 2 (Jan 2011)
Cafcass issue first monthly newsletter. Each month cafcass will issue a newsletter bringing updates on their work with children and families across England.
For the Newsletter, Click on the following link: cafcass newsletter 1 (Nov/Dec 2010)
Children are routinely used as "the battlefield and ammunition" for well-educated parents to wage legal war after separation, England's most senior family court judge said. Sir Nicholas Wall said separated couples were often 'fighting the battles' of their relationship while using their children as 'both the battlefield and the ammunition'. He added: "If a child's mother makes it clear to the child that his or her father is worthless - and vice versa - the child's sense of self-worth can be irredeemably damaged." Sir Nicholas said one concept that may emerge from a review of family law was a presumption of "shared residence" for the children when a couple separate, where they live with either parent for half the time.
For the full article, click on the following link: independent.co.uk (21/09/10)
Campaign group Parity claims assaults on men by wives and girlfriends are often ignored by police and media
About two in five of all victims of domestic violence are men, contradicting the widespread impression that it is almost always women who are left battered and bruised, a new report claims.
Men assaulted by their partners are often ignored by police, see their attacker go free and have far fewer refuges to flee to than women, says a study by the men's rights campaign group Parity.
For the full article, click on the following link: guardian.co.uk (05/09/10)
A private members bill on shared parenting was tabled yesterday in the House of Commons by Brian Binley, Conservative MP for Northampton South.
For the full article, click on the following link: FamilyLaw (14/07/10)
Ofsted who carried out the inspection of service provision by Cafcass in the Cheshire and Merseyside service area has rated overall effectiveness of the service area is inadequate. To read the full report, click on the following link: ofsted (16/04/10)
Ofsted - Cheshire and Merseyside cafcass rated inadequate
Ofsted who carried out the inspection of service provision by Cafcass in the Cheshire and Merseyside service area has rated overall effectiveness of the service area is inadequate.
To read the full report, click on the following link: ofsted (16/04/10)
Are you a parent who is battling with an ex-partner over the way your child is raised? Are you finding it difficult to agree on anything - from access arrangements to an unpopular new partner; or are decisions about
schooling, diet and general discipline the problem? Do you shy away from discussing key parenting issues because you can't face another argument? Are you struggling to agree on the best way forward as separated parents - but accept that your child is your priority?
If that sounds familiar, Superdaddy could help. Fronted by TV presenter and father-of-two Jeff Brazier, backed up by parenting experts and psychotherapists, Superdaddy is a new Living programme which aims to bring former couples together for the good of their children. Jeff and his team can help you sort out existing dysfunctional arrangements and draw up parenting plans which will put the child at the heart of the relationship. We are currently looking for couples to take part in a new six-part series. For more information please contact Melissa on 0207 157 4212 or firstname.lastname@example.org (article posted 10/04/10)
The alleged opposition by Jack Straw to the promotion of Sir Nicholas Wall (Comment 14th April) is confirmation enough that his appointment as President of the Family Division is to be wholly welcomed. If Sir Nicholas Wall's reputation as a robust critic of the status quo holds true, then the long overdue reform of both Public Law and Private Law is something that many will look forward to.
Trustee of The Association for Shared Parenting
Sir Nicholas Wall, who was initially rejected by the Justice Secretary, has been named President of the Family Division
An unprecedented impasse between judges and the Government has ended with the announcement today of the the new head of the family justice system. Sir Nicholas Wall, whose name was initially rejected by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, is to succeed Sir Mark Potter as next President of the Family Division.
For the full article, click on the following link: timesonline (31/03/10)
Anthony Douglas tells File on 4 that cases had to be subject to triage, with the higher priority cases getting urgent attention. He added: "Unfortunately, some of the lower priority cases take months to deal with." Cafcass insiders claim the service's official caseload figures are concealing the true picture of the crisis because staff members are being given a massive caseload.
To read the full article and listen to the broadcast, click here: BBC (23/02/10)
At a Special Open Meeting organised by the Association for Shared Parenting in Birmingham on 25th March, the guest speaker was Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of CAFCASS. Addressing an audience drawn from the legal profession and voluntary organisations, he emphasized the importance of the role of the voluntary sector in supporting people caught up in the family law system. A precis of Mr Douglas's talk can be viewed by clicking on the following link: ASP Open Meeting
Appeal Court Judges upheld an earlier ruling at Coventry Crown Court by Judge Clifford Bellamy to switch residency of the boy from his mother to the father.
The appeal judges called the boy's feelings of hate for his father ‘irrational' and said he would suffer long-term emotional and behavioural problems if they were not reunited.
For the full article, click on the following link: mailonline (24/01/10)
Children's secretary Ed Balls to abolish legal obstacle as he places grandparents at centre of family strategy for election
A legal obstacle is to be abolished to make it easier for hundreds of thousands of grandparents to gain access to their grandchildren when contact is denied after divorce and family breakdowns, the government will announce today.
For the full article, click on the following link: guardian (20/01/10)
Cafcass's service in London has been criticised in a damning Ofsted report.
The court advisory service, which assists children and families across the capital's 33 local authorities, was given the inspectorate's lowest grade on six counts.
For the full article, click on the following link: cypnow (12/01/10)
To read the full report, click on the following link: ofsted (11/01/10)
Further supplies of two excellent CAFCASS booklets were requested for distribution to our clients and in turn, the new ASP leaflet was well received. Graham Porter (12/12/09)
Lancashire and Cumbria is the latest area to come under fire from Ofsted's inspectors for providing inadequate Cafcass services.
An Ofsted inspection report into the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service in Lancashire and Cumbria revealed significant failings in reducing the time children are waiting to receive services. The inspection report, published today, also raised concerns that children are being left at risk of harm while waiting for a service.
For the full artcile, click on the following link: cypnow (07/12/09)
To read the full report, click on the following link: ofsted (December 2009)
Tens of thousands of children a year are losing contact with their fathers because of “failing” family court system and disastrous custody arrangements, a study has found.
For the full article, click on the following link: telegraph.co.uk (16/11/09)
Bailii - Judge transfers residency of child affected by parental alienation to the father
Lord Justice Wall has upheld the decision by Judge Bond of Bournemouth District Regsitry to transfer the residency of an eleven year old boy to his father. The mother had over the years alienated the child against the father, to the point that the child now refused to see his father. A child psychiatrist appointed by the court believed that the child had suffered "emotional harm". In the judge's opinion, if the child stayed with his mother, he would never see his father again due to the mothers hostility towards the father and continuing alienation.
R (A Child), Re  EWHC B38 (Fam)
For the full judgement, click on the following link: Bailii (06/11/09)
Significant concerns have been raised about safeguarding practices in Cafcass services in the Staffordshire and the Marches area
To read the full article, click here: cypnow (03/11/09)
To read the full report, click on the following link: ofsted (03/11/09)
Couples who break up should by default have shared parenting responsibility, according to the shadow children's minister.
For full article, click on the following link: cypnow.co.uk (08/10/09)
CAFCASS is cutting almost 70 jobs, as it looks to balance its budget following huge extra pressures caused by a surge in care applications.
For the full article, click on the following link: Communitycare (25/09/09)
Fathers will be able to take six months' paternity leave, the government has announced, six months after the birth of their child.
For the full article, click on the following link: BBC News (15/09/09)
A JUDGE asked five sets of North Devon parents going through family court proceedings to find a solution without a full Cafcass report because of problems facing the organisation.
For the full article, click on the following link: northdevon.co.uk (03/09/09)
The Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass) in North Yorkshire and Humberside is failing to drive up low standards, with problems across a number of areas of service delivery and management, according to a damning inspection report from Ofsted.
For the full article, click on the following link: cypnow (10/08/09)
To read the full report, click on the follwoing link: ofsted (07/08/09)
The Cafcass service in South Yorkshire is still failing to provide a transparent service to its users, a year after Ofsted inspectors slammed the service.
The report criticised the service for being guided by "practitioners' personal preferences" rather than a common assessment framework. It states: "The assessment framework is not in place and Cafcass acknowledges that service users are still not consistently informed of the content of reports."
For the full article, click on the following link: cypnow (24/07/09)
To read the full report, click on the follwoing link: ofsted (23/07/09)
For the full report, click on the following link: ofsted (10/07/09)
One in six men will be abused by their female partner (BBC Video).
For the full article and to watch the video, click on the following link: BBC - The One Show (05/03/09)
Cafcass has received its fourth damning inspection report from Ofsted in a year.
The Birmingham and Black Country service was rated inadequate overall after inspectors found it was failing to meet minimum standards in key services.
For the full article, click here: communitycare (17/02/09)
To read the full report, click on the following link: ofsted (Feb 2009)
Cafcass chief excutive Anthony Douglas has hit back after Ofsted published its third damning verdict this year on the family court body's private law practice.
For the full article, click on the following link: Communitycare (05/08/08)
Ofsted has published its first report on a CAFCASS team as part of the agency's expanded remit and has found that the East Midlands area was "inadequate".
For the full article, click on the following link: Family Law Week (18/02/08)