Family Law (29 January - 12 February)

Family News

Councils call for mental health counselling for all pupils

Cypnow – 7 February

The Local Government Association (LGA) has indicated that every secondary school should be given financial support to offer independent mental health counselling to all pupils. The LGA has emphasised the importance of this as some children and young people are currently waiting up to 18-months for vital support and guidance. This initiative is predicted to cost around £90 million.

Parents being talked into homeschooling troubled children

BBC News – 6 February

According to children's services bosses, a small number of head teachers are persuading parents with ‘troubled’ children to homeschool them, in order to boost the school’s Ofsted rating and position in league tables. A spokesman from the Department for Education commented on the issue, stating it is ‘never appropriate for a school to pressurise a parent into taking this decision’.

Fostering stocktake recommends national register

Cypnow – 6 February

A report conducted by Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers has called for the creation of a national register of foster carers, alongside improvements to the support foster carers receive. Although there is currently not a shortage of foster carers, the national register would increase the chance of children being matched with the right families.

Divorcing couple ‘have lost touch with reality’

Marilyn Stowe – 5 February

High Court Judge, Mr Justice Holman, has criticised a divorcing couple for spending nearly a third of their combined wealth on slugging
it out’
The couple have already spent nearly £2 million and the judge warns they will have to spend another £200,000 if they want a full court hearing.

Civil partnerships for straight couples back on the agenda

Marilyn Stowe – 5 February

An unopposed second reading in Parliament has been given to a bill giving heterosexual couples the right to enter civil partnerships. MP Tim Loughton proposed the bill in order to ‘correct an unintended but glaring inequality’. Later this year the Supreme Court will hear the case of a heterosexual London couple who have conducted a legal campaign on their right to a civil partnership.

EU (Withdrawal) Bill reaches the House Lords

CRAE – 1 February

Three joint briefings have been released to members of the House of Lords ahead of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill’s second reading. The briefings focus on the importance of: (1) The Charter of Fundamental Rights - a children's rights perspective; (2) The protection and promotion of children’s rights; and (3) Ensuring cross-border mechanisms are in place to safeguard children.

Register Islamic marriages under civil law, sharia review says

The Guardian – 1 February

Professor Mona Siddiqui has led an independent review of sharia councils which concluded that Muslim couples should partake in a civil marriage alongside their religious ceremony. This conclusion came after it was discovered women are given no protection under sharia law when it came to divorce.

Judge 'at wits’ end' over secure unit shortages for young people

The Guardian – 30 January

Judge Richard Scarratt has expressed serious concerns over the lack of secure unit accommodation for young people, after he was unable to relocate a boy suffering extreme racial abuse to an institute closer to his home and that would meet his needs. This case represents a wider issue surrounding lack of places in secure units.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service tests fully digital divorce application

Gov.UK – 30 January

The government has published a press release announcing the testing of an online divorce application process across England and Wales. Following a pilot last year where couples had to print the form and post it, the service has now gone fully digital. The service has already demonstrated a 90% improvement from paper forms and has cut down on the number sent back due to error.


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