Labour to look into Legal Aid

Labour to look into Legal Aid

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 in News

It was announced the 22nd September 2015 by Lord Falconer, the Labour’s Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Justice Secretary, that Labour has appointed Lord Bach to undergo an immediate review of legal aid.

Legal aid was reformed under the Coalition and has had a massive impact on access to justice, leaving many without access to legal advice or representation.   Lord Bach’s review – which will start immediately – will therefore look into the consequences of the reforms and propose further reforms.

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Review shows that being in care is not detrimental to children’s education outcomes

Review shows that being in care is not detrimental to children’s education outcomes

Posted by on Sep 23, 2015 in News

The REES Centre at the University of Oxford has recently carried out a research paper entitled “What is the relationship between being in care and the education outcomes of children?”. In the review it was stated that there is little to support the claim that being in foster care is detrimental to the educational outcomes of children.

In fact, the paper suggests that low educational outcomes of children is care is party explained by “pre-care experiences” such as neglect or mistreatment, and persist once in care, even if they are slightly reduced.

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Local Government Ombudsman urges that Children’s voices should be heard by councils

Local Government Ombudsman urges that Children’s voices should be heard by councils

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in News

The Local Government Ombudsman has stated that councils must make sure that they follow the statutory children’s complaints process in order for children’s voices to be heard. This comes after a recent investigation into a complaint filed against Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council in which two girls aged four and five at the time made allegations about their former foster carer.

 

According to the girls (who had informed their adoptive mother), their former carer had hit them, made one of the girls wear a nappy meant for a disabled child and had made them take cold baths.

The adoptive mother informed the council, however, the latter did not get together a planning meeting involving the necessary officers. Indeed, the carer was told about the allegation before social workers had even had the chance to talk to the mother and children. The council later decided that no further action was necessary.

 

The mother then tried to take the complaint through the statutory three-stage complaints process, however, the council refused to take it to the second stage, despite them being obliged to by government guidance.

 

Dudley council has therefore been asked to apologize to the mother and pay her £200 and £200 to each child by way of compensation. The council must also look into the way it conducts its investigations into allegations.

 

To read the full article, please visit the Family Law Week’s website.

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Proposals for a Bill of Rights to be published this autumn

Proposals for a Bill of Rights to be published this autumn

Posted by on Sep 17, 2015 in News

Dominic Raab, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice has advised the House of Commons that the Ministry of Justice intends to propose a Bill of Rights this autumn in order to seek greater authority for the Supreme Court.

Dominic Raab added that not only are they looking for the Supreme Court to not be subordinated, they are also searching for “[…] a greater respect for the legislative role of hon. Members in this place”

In order to read the exchanges in the House of Commons, visit the Hansard website (column 205).

For a brief on the implication of a British Bill of Rights, please visit the House of Commons Library research website.

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The Pope reforms the way in which marriages are annulled

The Pope reforms the way in which marriages are annulled

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in News

Pope Francis has reformed the way in which the Catholic Church handles the annulment of marriages by way of two documents in the form of a Motu Proprio – a Papal document issued on the Pope’s own initiative and signed by him.

These documents contain canons that will replace sections in the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, and will come into effect on the 8th December 2015.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales have published a summary of the key changes:

  1. It is only necessary for one Tribunal to examine a case and judge that it is null as opposed to the two needed previously.
  2. Fewer people need to be involved in a case.
  3. In some cases the Bishop himself can examine a case from within his own diocese.
  4. The process will be free of charge.

For more information on the changes of how marriages are annulled, please visit the Catholic News website.

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The Marriage Foundation says that marriage rates have collapsed among the middle classes

The Marriage Foundation says that marriage rates have collapsed among the middle classes

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in News

According to data taken from the the Family Resources Survey and the General Household Survey, whilst before the 1990s there was a trend away from marriage confined to low income households, this is now spreading to families on middle incomes.

In 2012, only 59% of middle income families with young children were getting married. This is a drop of 25% over 18 years as in 1994, 84% of middle earning families were still getting married.

Sir Paul Coleridge the Chairman and founder of Marriage Foundation stated:

“Only a tiny proportion of parents who do not marry make it, as a couple, to the child’s fifteenth birthday. The simple fact is that if you marry today you will probably still be married to the same person on the day you die. If you merely cohabit, by the time your child is 15, you almost certainly will not be living as a couple with them. […]”

To read the full article, please visit Family Law Week’s website.

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Judge criticises lack of assistance from Legal Aid Agency in case

Judge criticises lack of assistance from Legal Aid Agency in case

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in News

HHJ Lynn Roberts has criticised the lack of assistance provided by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) in the case of R (Translation of Documents in Proceedings) [2015] EWFC B112. The Judge had invited the LAA to intervene in proceedings in relation to the cost of translating documents created or obtained in care proceedings, however, they declined to do so.

In this case, the parents in the proceedings were Polish and so it was agreed that the documents that were produced by the local authority at the outset of proceedings should be translated by the local authority in question and paid for by the latter.

However, the Judge was asked to determine who should bear the costs of the translations of other documents obtained or created during care proceedings. The LAA was invited to intervene in proceedings in order to obtain their position on the issue and their reasoning for it.
The LAA responded by email, declining to intervene and stating that the costs should be shared equally between the parties, however, they did not state whether it was a decision or a suggestion. In addition to this, they failed to reply to any further correspondence from the Judge asking for clarification.

To read the full article, please visit Family Law Week’s website.

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