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Leave to revoke a Placement Order – further assessment

Leave to revoke a Placement Order – further assessment | Children In Law | Scoop.it
There has been something of a grey area since Re B-S et al absolutely didn’t alter the law in any way at all, no sir-ee (it just looked like it did and sounded like it did and the Court of Appeal acted like it did, up until October last year when...
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Local Government Lawyer - Irish court sanctions return of child taken from council care

Local Government Lawyer - Irish court sanctions return of child taken from council care | Children In Law | Scoop.it
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Family Law Week: S v C: Re E Revisited

Family Law Week: S v C: Re E Revisited | Children In Law | Scoop.it
S v C: Re E Revisited Jennifer Perrins, barrister, of 1 King's Bench Walk, considers the Court of Appeal's judgment in S v C, the first appeal concerning an Article 13b 'defence' under the Hague Convention following the Supreme Court's decision in Re E (Children) (Abduction: Custody Appeal). Jennifer Perrins, barrister, 1 King's Bench Walk Introduction The Supreme Court judgment in the case of Re E (Children) (Abduction: Custody Appeal) [2011] UKSC 27, [2011] 2 FLR 758 was in some ways a deceptively simple decision.  It was made clear that there was to be no recalibration of the English approach to the Article 13b exception in applications pursuant to the Hague Convention; and any remaining misconceptions about the effect of the judgment in Neulinger and Shuruk v Switzerland (Application No 41615/07) [2011] 1 FLR 122 were exploded once and for all.  The Supreme Court also confirmed that the best interests of children, both generally and on an individual level, are at the heart of the Convention.  In essence, the judgment in Re E reaffirms the principle that Article 13b should be restrictively applied; and on that basis, it should not have caused a change to existing practice and approach in Article 13b cases.  However, there are some parts of the judgment that are capable of being interpreted as requiring a modified approach.  Those aspects have recently been scrutinised by the Court of Appeal, in the case of S v C [2011] EWCA Civ 1385; in particular: (i) The Supreme Court's statement that Article 13b should be construed without 'elaboration or gloss' and does not need to be 'restrictively interpreted', because the Article is by definition of restricted application [paragraph 31].  Although this could be taken simply to be a restatement of the existing law, it does potentially raise the question of whether there are earlier authorities that add an impermissible 'gloss' in an effort to explain or to illustrate the words of the Article, and whether the lower Courts have been approaching Article 13b cases incorrectly – i.e. too strictly – up to now.  (ii) The emphasis placed by the Supreme Court upon protective measures – these were described as being 'at a premium' given the shift in the paradigm abductor, and the prevalence of allegations of domestic abuse [paragraph 7].  The Supreme Court went so far as to exhort the Hague Conference to look at how to make undertakings and other assurances enforceable in Requesting States [paragraph 37], and said that in disputed allegation cases, 'the clearer the need for protection, the more effective the measures will have to be' [paragraph 52].   (iii) The consideration of how Article 13b risk should be assessed in the face of disputed allegations, and how protective measures should feature in this assessment – i.e. when, if ever, is there a need for determination of factual issues?  The tension between subjective and objective assessment of risk was touched upon, in the context of the mother's 'subjective perception' of events leading to mental illness [paragraphs 48-49].  At paragraph 36 of Re E, it was suggested that there should be a staged approach: 'Where allegations of domestic abuse are made, the court should first ask whether, if they are true, there would be a grave risk that the child would be exposed to physical or psychological harm or otherwise placed in an intolerable situation.  If so, the court must then ask how the child can be protected against the risk.  The appropriate protective measures and their efficacy will obviously vary from case to case and from country to country…Without such protective measures, the court may have no option but to do the best it can to resolve the disputed issues'.  This article will provide an analysis of the issues raised by S v C, and consider whether S v C is likely to be the last word on some or all of these points.  The Court of Appeal judgment in S v C This case concerned an Australian father, and a mother who was of British origin, but had dual Australian nationality.  The parties' only child, W, was born in November 2009.  The parents had separated in January 2011, at which time the mother had obtained an 'apprehended domestic violence order' in the Australian courts.  The mother then wrongfully removed the child from Australia to England in February 2011, and the father issued his application for return shortly thereafter.  The father ('S') appealed from the decision of Charles J given on 30 August 2011 refusing his application for a return order under the Hague Convention.  The mother had asserted an Article 13b 'defence', based upon: largely contested allegations of abuse at the hands of the father; and the effect upon her mental health of being forced to return.  At the initial hearing in June 2011, directions had been made that 'drew inspiration' from paragraph 36 of Re E.  The directions listed the application as follows: (a) For consideration of whether, taken at their highest, the allegations made by the mother would come within the Article 13b exception having regard to the proposed undertakings / protective measures (b) For consideration of whether there is an arguable basis for asserting that the father consented [this aspect of the case was not in issue on appeal] (c) Subject to the court's conclusions as to (a) and (b) above, summary disposal or directions to enable a further hearing with such oral evidence as the court considers appropriate to take place. At the two day hearing in July, Charles J followed these directions, and adjourned the case part-heard to allow further evidence about protective measures.  The judge, in part, relied upon Re E to support his view that the court had to investigate the issue of protective measures more fully.  The parties jointly instructed a consultant psychiatrist to report upon the mother's mental health in the interim.  The expert reported that the mother's mental health was currently 'stable and healthy', but that a return to Australia – and re-exposure to her source of stress, i.e. the father – would be likely to cause a 'significant and severe' psychological impact.  The expert did not address what protective measures could be sought, and whether these would remove or reduce the risk to the mother's mental health; and neither party called the expert to give oral evidence at the adjourned hearing.  Despite undertakings that provided for the mother to have 'a home and a full and appropriate package of support' in Australia, the judge concluded that the situation upon return would nevertheless give rise to an Article 13b risk.  In his assessment of the factors contributing to the risk of harm, Charles J referred to the stress that would be caused to the mother in having to issue a relocation application in Australia.  In addressing the second limb of the earlier directions, he held that his conclusion on the Article 13b issue would be the same even if the disputed allegations made against the father were not true.  Having come to these conclusions, he exercised his discretion not to return the child. The Court of Appeal accepted the three arguments advanced on behalf of the father on appeal, which were as follows.  First and foremost, the Court of Appeal confirmed that Re E 'is a restatement and not an evolution of the law of the Convention' [paragraph 34].  Charles J was criticised by counsel for the father for treating Re E as having 'raised the bar' against return when an abductor relies on their subjective perception leading to psychological harm.  Secondly, Charles J's reasoning as to the adequacy of protective measures was found to be deficient, largely because there had been no expert evidence to say that the assurances offered would be inadequate, and also because the return would be to a jurisdiction in which the English court could have confidence.  Leading counsel for the mother (who had not appeared below) argued on appeal that the proposed protective measures were 'largely irrelevant' [paragraph 31], as the case hinged upon the mother's subjective perception of, and reaction to, a forced return.  This analysis was not accepted by the Court of Appeal.  Finally, the Court of Appeal was 'troubled' by the Judge's view that the stress of an anticipated relocation application by the mother upon return was a factor elevating the Article 13b risk [paragraph 44].  The Court of Appeal therefore allowed the appeal and ordered the return of the child.  The Court of Appeal also commented that the form of directions made at the outset of this case should not be used in future, and that the judgment in Re E should not have been interpreted as requiring such an approach [paragraph 50]. Issues raised by S v C The following points arising from S v C merit some analysis: Whether or not Re E requires a different approach to Article 13b To the extent that Charles J held that Re E required a 'less robust' approach to Article 13b generally, it is unsurprising that the Court of Appeal overruled him.  It is right to say that Re E simply confirmed that Article 13b should be construed 'without gloss'.  The Court of Appeal in S v C found that Charles J had interpreted Re E as 'militating against' the father's application for return [paragraph 32], and therefore he had misdirected himself.  However, those parts of the interim and final judgments below which are repeated by the Court of Appeal in S v C (the full judgments are not available) suggest that Charles J was particularly concerned with ensuring the correct approach to protective measures in the light of Re E.  He could be forgiven for this element of his reasoning, given that Re E emphasised the importance of such measures in cases concerning disputed allegations. The Supreme Court urged the Hague Conference 'to consider whether machinery can be put in place whereby, when the courts of the requested state identify specific protective measures as necessary…then those measures can become enforceable in the requesting state' [paragraph 37 of Re E].  Appropriate enquiries into protective measures are certainly necessary and important in most Article 13b cases; perhaps Charles J's mistake in S v C was that he seemed to elevate the acknowledgement of this principle into a new and higher hurdle for a left-behind parent to clear.  Case management directions where there are disputed allegations In terms of case management in disputed allegation cases, the reaction of the Court of Appeal to the form of the early directions was quite strong.  At the conclusion of the judgment, Thorpe LJ said that the trial was 'bedevilled' by these directions, and that he '[does] not believe that the Supreme Court intended that paragraph 36 of the leading judgment should introduce a new practice.  If this practice has sprung up since June it should be immediately stifled' [paragraph 50].  A legitimate concern about such directions might be that they could lead to an extended legal process, if there has to be both a preliminary issue hearing, and then a further final hearing if the case cannot be decided at the first stage.  However, in terms of the questions that are posed, it must be right that any court has to deal with these issues in the order provided for by the directions.  The fact that the Court of Appeal does not agree that there should be any change to usual case management does not mean that this paragraph of Re E should be ignored.  It is still a useful distillation of the applicable principles, and should help parties to focus on whether any Article 13b case really has 'legs'.  'Subjective' and 'objective' perception of risk The issue of the mother's mental health in S v C gave rise to what is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the judgment.  S v C was, like Re E, an Article 13b case in which the mother relied on the likely psychological impact upon her of a forced return.  It was argued that the evaluation of protective measures in this case was 'almost irrelevant, since nothing would satisfy the mother's subjective anxiety arising from her subjective perception of risks and consequences of return' [paragraph 31].  Paragraph 34 of Re E was relied upon, in which the Supreme Court referred to leading counsel for the father's concession that: 'If there is [an Article 13b risk] the source of it is irrelevant: e.g. where a mother's subjective perception of events leads to a mental illness which could have intolerable consequences for the child'.  Thorpe LJ in S v C said that paragraph 34 of Re E is not 'authoritative for the proposition that it is unnecessary for the court to weigh objective reality of asserted anxiety' [paragraph 43].  Thorpe LJ said that the 'crucial question' for the judge remained: 'were these asserted risks, insecurities and anxieties realistically and reasonably held in the face of the protective package?' In any case that turns on an assessment of the abducting parent's likely mental health upon return, the assessment of risk is necessarily going to be 'subjective' to an extent, because it relates to the particular psychological or psychiatric state of the abducting parent.  Whether or not a particular event (such as a violent attack by an ex-partner) is likely to occur upon return may not be the main issue – the Article 13b risk to the child is created by the parent's subjective perception of, and subjective reaction to, a forced return.  As Re E confirmed, the exceptions are welfare based, and the Court must simply consider whether an Article 13b risk to the child is actually established.  However, in most cases of this type, the alleged subjective perception of the abducting parent will be interwoven with the background facts – facts that may well be disputed.  It is therefore difficult entirely to separate the issues of subjective and objective assessment of risk.  For example, if there is cogent evidence of bad behaviour by a left-behind parent, it is surely more likely that the court will be sympathetic to an abducting parent's case as to their likely subjective perception upon return.  It is important to remember that the approach to the question of Article 13b risk has two elements: whether the abductor's case at its highest creates a grave risk to the child; and if so, whether any protective measures can be put in place to ameliorate this.  The first aspect may be largely subjective if it is a 'mental health' case; the second stage will involve the court's overall assessment of the risks to the child in the light of any evidence about protective measures, and is bound to involve at least some element of objective assessment of the likely situation upon return.  The real problem for the mother in S v C was that the alleged risk was based mainly on her likely mental health upon return, but there was no expert evidence to say that the measures offered by the father would be insufficient to ameliorate the stated risks.  The expert's evidence about the likely deterioration in the mother's mental health was in the context of a return to the mother's previous situation, and 're-exposure' to the father, rather than within the 'cocoon' of protective measures that was being offered as a result of the Hague Convention proceedings.  Charles J had to perform his own assessment of this issue, and the Court of Appeal disagreed with his conclusion – it was a 'disproportionate' reaction, as put by the father's counsel.   In terms of the argument about 'subjective perception', Thorpe LJ said that no case had been cited showing that 'the effect of a respondent's clearly subjective perception of risks on return leading to an intolerable situation for the child is a permissible ground for refusing a return' [paragraph 49].  The case cited on behalf of the mother, Re G (Abduction: Psychological Harm) [1995] 1 FLR 64, where an abducting parent's likely reaction to a return would be to render her almost psychotic, was distinguished, because in Re G there had been expert evidence that was accepted by the court. Thorpe LJ did not say that Re G was wrongly decided; he said that that case was different because there had been clear expert evidence.  So, Thorpe LJ presumably was not saying that there could never be a case where the effects of a parent's subjective perception of, and reaction to, return would establish an Article 13b 'defence'.  The difference was that in Re G, there was cogent and compelling evidence of the risk to the child from an independent source, the psychiatrist, not just from the mother's assertions.  There is also of course a difference between a mother saying that her subjective perception is that certain risks will actually exist upon return – e.g. if she does not accept that she will be protected from violence – and a mother saying that because of her subjective perception of events, the effect will be that her mental health will deteriorate such as to cause grave risk to the child.  The first situation is unlikely to result in a successful 'defence' under Article 13b, if the court has objective evidence that protective measures will be effective; the second may do, but it is likely that very clear expert evidence would be needed as well.  Conclusion We have probably not seen the last of the issues raised by Re E and S v C.  In particular, the 'subjective / objective' assessment of risk is surely an area that is ripe for further argument.  In S v C, the Court of Appeal was keen to settle the point that Re E was not intended to change the law, nor to alter established practice and approach to Article 13b cases; time will tell if this aim has been achieved. Keywords:abductionArticle 13Hague ConventionInternational Child Abduction
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Gosh, it’s dusty round here… /

Gosh, it’s dusty round here… / | Children In Law | Scoop.it
I know I know. It’s been quiet around here lately. Been busy.Here is one thing that I’ve been doing … I’ve been attending private court hearings under the legal bloggers pi…...
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Lawyer bloggers invited to lift veil on family courts

Lawyer bloggers invited to lift veil on family courts | Children In Law | Scoop.it
An effort to encourage lawyers to report on everyday proceedings in the family courts to compensate for lack of press interest is being piloted over the next nine months, it has emerged.
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Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Family Justice Council – 12th Annual Debate: Covert recordings in family law

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | Family Justice Council – 12th Annual Debate: Covert recordings in family law | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Closing date: 21st November 2018...
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I have mainly stopped screaming; the imbalance between support and intervention. | Child Protection Resource

I have mainly stopped screaming; the imbalance between support and intervention. | Child Protection Resource | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Thanks to this guest post from a parent who wishes to remain anonymous. I have mainly stopped screaming, I screamed a lot at first at the injustice of it all and the pain of separation. Today though I am suppressing an internal scream, the anguish now being punched out onto my keyboard. I answered a strange mobile number this afternoon, I don’t normally but is just as well, because my son had borrowed his neighbours phone, to contact me. Could he have some money please a fiver would do? In truth I had been waiting for this call and this is why: Over a month ago a letter was opened and ignored by him, it was telling him he had to apply for universal credit as income support had finished. He is at college, and has been offered a job and is just waiting to start it, for anyone who wishes to judge. My son has a communication disorder, so severe that he reached the criteria for a special school and he had been statemented at 7 years old. He is a care leaver and through circumstances he was placed into a flat by himself on leaving care.  Except he was not supposed to be on his own, his EHCP stated that his was to receive 20 hours of support a week, via employing support workers . It hasn’t happened, not one single solitary hour , and because he is over 18 it is apparently none of my business.  He does have some limited help from the pathway team and I am not criticising individuals. I spent hours in meetings before he left care making sure there was a workable transition plan in place. For what? To apply for Universal Credit or to use any Government on line service you first have prove your identity. Now I have tried this very recently and nearly threw my laptop out of the window. Despite having input 3 bank cards and my driving licence, Government Verify via the Post Office still refused to recognise me and I am signed up to the electoral register, get post etc. In fact Verify has a failure rate of over 50% https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41642044. So what chance does a care leaver , let alone one with learning difficulties actually have of managing this transition onto universal credit by themselves. My son also did not understand that if a standing order bounces , you quickly rack up overdraft charges. So before long having no money actually turns into mounting debt. To some small extent he is lucky, we still have a relationship and I know how to cope. Before this change to universal credit he was actually managing money very well, as I told him to set himself a weekly budget and only use cash. Many care leavers lose their links to family members and if no one teaches them about financial matters how are they supposed to know? The child protection system to me is like a three humped camel (bear with me) , the first hump consists of pre proceedings, this hump is too little and can be non functional, the third hump is after the young person leaves proceedings, this is much the same as the first. The middle hump, is enormous and bloated , it consumes all the nourishment that should be in the other humps. It shouldn’t be there as it unbalances the camel and makes it topple over. We know that the system is teetering, someone please listen, for the sake of the young people like my son who are being failed by a gross imbalance between support and intervention.
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Legal Bloggers | The Transparency Project

Legal Bloggers | The Transparency Project | Children In Law | Scoop.it
KEY DOCUMENTS : PD36J (legal bloggers pilot) Form FP301 (Notice of attendance of duly authorised lawyer) Form FP300 (Request by educational charity to attend family proceedings for authorisation by the President of the Family Division) Application to attend hearings on behalf of the TP Legal Bloggers Questionnaire Request to The TP to publish blog post arising from a pilot hearing (Questionnaire for parties and professionals coming soon) Legal Bloggers Pilot This page contains information about the legal bloggers pilot set out in Family Procedure Rules Practice Direction 36J, which runs from 1 October 2018 until 30 June 2019. Under the pilot ‘duly authorised’ lawyers may attend private hearings on a similar basis to journalists. Rules regarding privacy and restrictions on reporting remain unchanged. We explain a little about the scheme and how it came about here. Read our FAQs below. Who can attend? Duly authorized lawyers fall into three categories :   Practising lawyers Non practising lawyers working for a Higher Education Institute Non practising lawyers working for a registered educational charity whose details have been placed on a list with the President’s office. The Transparency Project is such a charity. What will I need? Why the questionnaire? Keep in touch with how the pilot is going Do you do 'requests'? Can I object to a legal blogger (or journalist) coming into my hearing?
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The Round-Up: Child Spies, Equal Opportunity for Fertility Treatment, and CJEU to rule on Article 50 revocation

The Round-Up: Child Spies, Equal Opportunity for Fertility Treatment, and CJEU to rule on Article 50 revocation | Children In Law | Scoop.it
The courts open again for Michaelmas term today, but in the meantime the round-up has the latest on a fresh set of challenges to government and NHS policy, plus a successful Brexit reference to the ECJ. Firstly, a legal action seeking to establish whether the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty …
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You would think this would go without saying… but it has been said

You would think this would go without saying… but it has been said | Children In Law | Scoop.it
  Section 91 of the Children Act 1989 says this (1)The making of a child arrangements order with respect to the living arrangements of a child who is the subject of a care order discharges the care order.   and   (2)The making of a care order with respect to a child who is the…
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Regulating Practice and Protecting Parents and Children –

Regulating Practice and Protecting Parents and Children – | Children In Law | Scoop.it
As we move into the Autumn months in the UK and Europe we are preparing for the next stage in our work to regulate practice in the field of parental alienation.  Our next meeting is in Strasbourg in November, where we will move onto the practical steps of opening membership of the European Association of…
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Form FP300: Request by educational charity to attend family proceedings for authorisation by the President of the Family Division

Form FP300: Request by educational charity to attend family proceedings for authorisation by the President of the Family Division | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Use this form to ask the President of the Family Division to authorise individuals working for the named charity to attend and report on family proceedings.
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PRACTICE DIRECTION 36J – PILOT SCHEME: TRANSPARENCY (ATTENDANCE AT HEARINGS IN PRIVATE)

This Practice Direction supplements FPR Part 36 (Transitional Arrangements and Pilot Schemes). Title Number Scope and interpretation Para.1 Purpose of the Pilot Scheme Para.2 Modification of the Family Procedure Rules and supporting practice directions during operation of the Pilot Scheme Para.3 Modification of rule 27.11 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 Para.4 Modification of Practice Direction 27C Para.5 Scope and interpretation 1.1. This Practice Direction is made under rule 36.2 and sets up a Pilot Scheme. 1.2. The Pilot Scheme applies in relation to any proceedings to which rule 27.11 applies. 1.3. The Pilot Scheme operates from 1 October 2018 to 30 June 2019. Purpose of the Pilot Scheme 2.1. The purpose of the Pilot Scheme is to assess the use of new practices and procedures to allow for attendance at hearings in private by certain lawyers with a view to their being able to report on proceedings (as “legal bloggers”) in addition to duly accredited representatives of news gathering and reporting organisations. Modification of the Family Procedure Rules and supporting practice directions during operation of the Pilot Scheme 3.1. During the operation of the Pilot Scheme the Family Procedure Rules 2010 will apply to cases falling within the Pilot Scheme as modified by paragraphs 4.1 to 4.5; and the practice directions supporting the rules will apply to such cases as modified by paragraph 5.1. Modification of rule 27.11 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 4.1. In rule 27.11(2)— (a) at the end of sub-paragraph (f), omit “and”; (b) after sub-paragraph (f), insert— “(ff) duly authorised lawyers attending for journalistic, research or public legal educational purposes; and”. 4.2. In rule 27.11(3), after “paragraph (2)(f)” insert “and (ff)”. 4.3. In rule 27.11(4), after “paragraph (2)(f)” insert “or (ff)”. 4.4. In rule 27.11(5), after “paragraph (2)(f)” insert “and (ff)”. 4.5. For rule 27.11(7) substitute— “(7) In this rule— (a) “duly accredited” refers to accreditation in accordance with any administrative scheme for the time being approved for the purposes of this rule by the Lord Chancellor; (b) “duly authorised lawyer” means— (i) a person who is authorised by a practising certificate to conduct litigation or exercise a right of audience in the family court; (ii) a lawyer working for the Law School, Faculty or Department of a Higher Education Institution designated as a recognised body pursuant to section 216 of the Education Reform Act 1988; or (iii) a lawyer attending on behalf of a registered educational charity the name, objects and registered charity number of which have been provided to the President of the Family Division; (c) “lawyer” means a person who— (i) holds a qualifying law degree as defined by the Bar Standards Board or Solicitors Regulation Authority; (ii) holds or has completed— (aa) the Common Professional Examination (CPE); (bb) an approved Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course or the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE); (cc) a postgraduate legal qualification; or (dd) the CILEx Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice or the CILEx Graduate Fast Track Diploma.” Modification of Practice Direction 27C 5.1. In Practice Direction 27C, after paragraph 4 insert— “Identification of lawyers as ‘authorised’ 4A.1. Lawyers will be expected to carry with them identification sufficient to enable court staff, or if necessary the court itself, to verify that they are “authorised” lawyers within the meaning of the rule. 4A.2. The following forms of identification provide sufficient information, and production of such identification will be both necessary and sufficient to demonstrate that the lawyer is “authorised” within the meaning of rule 27.11(7)(b)(i), (ii) and (iii) respectively— (a) a current practising certificate accompanied by picture identification of the lawyer and a signed written statement by the lawyer which complies with paragraph 4A.3; (b) confirmation on headed notepaper from the relevant Higher Education Institution (or Law School, Faculty or Department of that Institution) of the lawyer’s position and qualification, accompanied by picture identification of the lawyer and a signed written statement by the lawyer which complies with paragraph 4A.3; (c) confirmation on headed notepaper from the relevant registered educational charity (specifying the registered charity number) of the lawyer’s position and qualification, accompanied by picture identification of the lawyer and a signed written statement by the lawyer which complies with paragraph 4A.3. 4A.3. The signed written statement required by paragraph 4A.2 must— (a)  confirm that the lawyer’s attendance is for journalistic, research or public legal educational purposes and that the lawyer has no personal interest in the proceedings and that he or she is not attending in the capacity of agent or instructed lawyer for any client; and (b) confirm that the lawyer is aware of and will abide by any restrictions on publication, whether arising by operation of law (for example under section 97 of the Children Act 1989 and section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960) or imposed by order of the court, which follow from the proceedings being in private. 4A.4. The information about a registered educational charity required by rule 27.11(7)(b)(iii) is to be submitted using Form FP300 (Request by educational charity to attend family proceedings for authorisation by the President of the Family Division) by e-mail to pfd.office@judiciary.uk, or by post to: The Office of the President of the Family Division, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL.  It will be entered on a list maintained by that office, and therefore need be submitted only once.
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The state of children’s social care in England –

The state of children’s social care in England – | Children In Law | Scoop.it
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s (APPGC) first Inquiry report into the state of children’s social care in England, No Good Options (March 2017), shone a light on a struggling system. The Inquiry also found that approaches to policy and practice varied across the country, with children, young people and families receiving different levels…
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Government launches new collaboration with Barnardo's to support care leavers into work

Government launches new collaboration with Barnardo's to support care leavers into work | Children In Law | Scoop.it
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Barnardo’s are entering into a new partnership to support care leavers into work.
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Day 2 of the legal blogging pilot – Attending as a non-practising solicitor, under the umbrella of the Transparency Project | The Transparency Project

Day 2 of the legal blogging pilot – Attending as a non-practising solicitor, under the umbrella of the Transparency Project | The Transparency Project | Children In Law | Scoop.it
On day two of the new legal blogging pilot I headed to the East London Family Court to check out how easy it would be to take up the new right to (normally) attend (most) family court hearings (just as an accredited journalist can). And to see what challenges it might throw up. I was going as a qualified but non-practising lawyer, my right to attend being by way of acting under the umbrella of the Transparency Project, themselves accredited as an educational charity by the President of the Family Division. I bore letters of confirmation alongside my photo ID and my FP301 form giving various undertakings to the court, including as to reporting restrictions. Just like an accredited journalist, whatever I heard, I wasn’t going to be able to publish anything that might identify the child or children (including by identifying the adults) or the detail of the evidence – unless the Judge ordered otherwise. Without exception the staff at the East London Family Court and Her Honour Judge Atkinson (whose case I targeted), were welcoming and helpful.  Despite security and (some) court office staff not yet seeming to know about the pilot, everyone I came across was open, keen to engage and adapt, and made it an easy (even relatively enjoyable) experience to attend. Security downstairs did start by patiently explaining that I couldn’t attend as a non-journalist since family court proceedings are private as an exception to the general rule of open justice (which struck me as accurate, concise and well informed save as to the change of the day before). Yet quickly persuaded by my repeated claims of a new practice direction, they waved me upstairs with my pack of papers, to discuss it properly with a more suitable person. ‘Upstairs’ security seemed well aware I was coming and passed me on to the court office where I was promptly helped by a relaxed and attentive court clerk who absorbed the request, listened to why I didn’t in fact need to produce a practising certificate (indeed could not) and went off with my photo ID and pack of papers to ‘liaise’. Within 30 minutes of arriving in the building, I was fully processed and on my way up to find ‘Frank’ the clerk to HHJ Atkinson. Unprompted, ‘Frank’ was quick to explain some key facts of the case so I could understand it. I had the impression he was well used to doing so with journalists and treated me similarly.  I knew nothing other than that this was an Issues Resolution Hearing within care proceedings because the way cases are listed offers no other clues.  (I’d targeted HHJ Atkinson’s hearing simply on the basis she was a circuit level judge who regularly publishes anonymous judgments and might thus be more open to the prospect of a legal blogger pitching up and wanting to sit in, than say, some magistrates or even District Judges). The case involved female genital mutilation and the parents weren’t attending. I felt an immediate sense of relief at not having to consider the possibility of a family member being worried about a legal blogger being there and duly relaxed about finding and forewarning legal representatives as soon as possible to give them time to reflect and take any instructions. In any event I stumbled on one legal representative, before they all de-camped to a conference room together.  He or the clerk must have spread the word as by the time we were called in, it was plain everyone knew of me, though no one had elected to introduce themselves to me. Suddenly we were on and I followed behind and sat at the back.  I had a sudden sense from the social workers as we filed in, that the local authority were uncertain about my presence, and mentally prepared my reassurances about the very modest reporting ambitions I held. HHJ Atkinson herself was clear from the outset that she knew of the pilot, my intended presence under it (under the auspices of the Transparency Project in whom she had confidence) and that I was entirely welcome to attend. She was also careful to clarify the limits of my reporting intentions with respect to the law and its application to the particular case. On this occasion, I was more than happy to confirm my intent to do no more than describe my experience of the process of attending under the pilot and the type of case I had been able to observe. The general message from HHJ Atkinson was encouraging. In her view the ‘legal blogging’ pilot should be seen as an interesting exercise with everyone needing to get a bit more relaxed about it, and willing to discuss the realities of it on the ground for the particular case; that it was very much a ‘two way street’. In fact no one objected to my attendance under the pilot. The Local Authority legal representative also made a point of coming to find me after the hearing to acknowledge and explain why he hadn’t introduced himself to me before the hearing and asked if he could be of any help (albeit belatedly) which was appreciated. Yet by the time I was typing up my blog post that night a growing unease beset me as to just where the proper limits of reporting the evidence lay with respect to the Judge’s remarks on the pilot within the hearing and why I hadn’t thought to check with her at the time. Remembering my undertakings in the FP301 wasn’t helping. Re-reading Kent County Council, Re B (A Child) v the Mother & Ors [2004] EWHC 411 (Fam) (19 March 2004) wasn’t really helping either. Ultimately I decided to email HHJ Atkinson who confirmed (almost by return) that she had absolutely no objection to me reporting the remarks. It’s certainly left me thinking about how I can avoid that next time. If I don’t know what the case is about, let alone what I’ll want to write about it, until the hearing starts, I’m going to need to pretty much write the report in my head during the hearing so as to seek any permissions or clarifications. Either that or resort to asking the Judge afterwards which feels less than ideal.  It may be that as an organisation we will develop a greater clarity and confidence about interpreting s.12 on the ground over time. Further information is available here. Including forms for non-practising lawyers interested in applying to attend as a legal blogger under the Transparency Project ‘umbrella’ and lawyers who want to blog under the pilot at the Transparency Project.
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Justice exists only for the wealthy: The impact of legal aid cuts

Justice exists only for the wealthy: The impact of legal aid cuts | Children In Law | Scoop.it
The government's legal aid cuts are denying people access to justice leaving it to the wealthy or for the small number of very low incomes lucky enough to find a solicitor willing to fight the red tape to secure legal aid.
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Lawyer bloggers given access to family courts in bid to combat 'racy' press coverage

Lawyer bloggers given access to family courts in bid to combat 'racy' press coverage | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Pilot scheme will run until June next year...
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Can I object to a legal blogger (or journalist) coming into my hearing? | The Transparency Project

Can I object to a legal blogger (or journalist) coming into my hearing? | The Transparency Project | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Yes. But just because you object doesn’t necessarily mean no journalist or blogger will be allowed in. This post explains what the court rules and other law say about when journalists (or bloggers) may be excluded. If you know wish to object to the attendance of a journalist or blogger you will need to have these rules in mind when you do so. Family Procedure Rule 27.10 (as modified by the legal bloggers pilot in PD36J) sets out a process for people involved in a private family hearing to object to the attendance of a journalist or legal blogger. The process is the same for both. The rule says that any party, witness, cafcass officer or guardian or child (if of sufficient age and understanding) may object and that they may do so at any time. The rule says that the judge may decide themselves even without objection to prohibit or restrict attendance. BUT before the court can restrict attendance it must give the journalist / legal blogger an opportunity to make representations AND be satisfied that it is NECESSARY in the interests of any child concerned in, or connected with, the proceedings OR for the safety or protection of a party, a witness in the proceedings, or a person connected with such a party or witness, OR for the orderly conduct of the proceedings OR that justice will otherwise be impeded or prejudiced. Practice Direction 27B gives further guidance on these issues. What does this mean in practice? It is clear that whilst any person involved in the case can object to the attendance of a journalist or blogger, a general suggestion that proceedings are private and journalists / bloggers should never be allowed into court because of the privacy of this sort of case is not likely to work. The Practice Direction regarding the attendance of media representatives (27B) makes clear that : The rule anticipates and should be applied on the basis that media representatives have a right to attend family proceedings throughout save and to the extent that the court exercises its discretion to exclude them from the whole or part of any proceedings on one or more of the grounds set out in paragraph (4) of the rule. There is no reason not to apply the same approach to legal bloggers as in essence, the same rules and principles apply. The rules anticipate that something that is specific to the case or the individuals involved will need to be raised in order to justify excluding the journalist/ blogger. Worries about things being reported that ought not to be may well be covered by existing automatic restrictions on reporting, and could potentially be dealt with by tightening or enforcing those restrictions rather than excluding people from the hearing (see PD27B 5.2). The judge doesn’t have to take an all or nothing approach : It is possible for a judge to exclude some or all journalists / bloggers. For example if a particular journalist / blogger is causing difficulties they might be excluded whilst others remain, or if the courtroom is too full the court might place a limit on numbers ‘for the orderly conduct of proceedings’. See paragraph 5.2 of PD 27B. It is possible to exclude them only for part of the hearing (for example a particularly sensitive piece of witness evidence or whilst highly confidential details are discussed – see para 5.4 of PD27B which gives some examples). In general terms if the judge can place only a limited restriction on attendance without comprising the interests of the child / witness or party or the interests of justice generally – then it won’t be necessary to exclude every journalist / blogger for the whole hearing – and so it won’t be justified. Human rights law requires any infringement on a human right to be necessary AND proportionate. This means that open justice and the right to freedom of expression (Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights) may have to give way to rights to privacy (Article 8) and to the need to ensure safety, but these should be restricted as little as is necessary, i.e. as little as is consistent with achieving the main job of doing justice in children cases (See for example a case called Al-Hilli (Re Al-Hilli (Children) [2013] EWHC 2190 (Fam) (22 July 2013)). You can read the full rule 27.10 here (the version here shows without the amendments that are in PD36J because they are only a pilot and you have to read the rule ‘as if’ it also refers to legal bloggers under the pilot as well as journalists).
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Why does Northern Ireland have fewer children in care? | Society | The Guardian

Why does Northern Ireland have fewer children in care? | Society | The Guardian | Children In Law | Scoop.it
New research shows that councils in England could save £1.5bn by supporting families to stay together
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Separate representation of a child – a thorny problem

Separate representation of a child – a thorny problem | Children In Law | Scoop.it
  It is well-established that in care proceedings, if a child is capable of instructing a solicitor and disagrees with the recommendations or conclusions of the Guardian that they can be separately represented, and have their own lawyer, who takes instructions directly from them. You don't get many cases which describe what happens where there…
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Healing the Heart in Parental Alienation –

Healing the Heart in Parental Alienation – | Children In Law | Scoop.it
One of the greatest difficulties when a child is being alienated is the manner in which the witnessing of the harm being done and the helplessness to prevent it, can cause a parent to begin to mirror the behaviour of the alienating parent. What I often observe in my work is that the pathologically split…
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Hands-on fathers ‘less likely to break up with partners’ | Life and style | The Guardian

Hands-on fathers ‘less likely to break up with partners’ | Life and style | The Guardian | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Study finds childcare and stable relationships are linked and says government should encourage more men to take paternity leave...
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Lincolnshire County Council v J.MCA & anor [2018] IEHC 514 (25 September 2018)

Lincolnshire County Council v J.MCA & anor [2018] IEHC 514 (25 September 2018) | Children In Law | Scoop.it
A database of decisions of the courts of Ireland
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