Cafcass have released new statistics for the month of March revealing an all-time high for new private law cases. The total of these cases received in March 2016 was 3,278 which is a 4% increase on the previous year.
Private law cases are mainly applications made following a divorce or separation to decide child arrangements such as where they will live or with which parent they will spend time with.
ParentPlan is an innovative online portal designed for parents to ‘help keep up with your child’s busy lives’. The website would be particularly beneficial to those who are co-parenting, providing a method of communication that can be easily accessed and updated by both parents. For parents living together, the website provides an organised space to keep any important information that can be shared with other members of the family.
ParentPlan allows parents to:
As previously reported in our news, the case of R (Rights of Women) v The Secretary of State for Justice and the Lord Chancellor  saw the Court of Appeal rule that regulation 33 of the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 was invalid due to the fact it ‘requires verifications of domestic violence to be given within a 24-month period before any application for legal aid and does not cater for victims of domestic violence who have suffered from financial abuse.’
The decision was welcomed by many organisations including the Law Society who backed the challenge to the regulations. Rights of Women director Emma Scott commented, “The Court of Appeal has accepted our arguments that the fear of a perpetrator does not disappear after 2 years and recognised that forms of violence such as financial abuse are almost impossible for women to evidence.
Family Justice Council published the guide entitled ‘Sorting out finances on divorce’ in order to help those representing themselves navigate through, what can be, a daunting process for those unfamiliar with divorce proceedings.
Divorce, like any other legal process, involves terminology that may restrict the understanding of a person who is not a legal professional therefore; the guide avoids complicated wording to make it understandable for the ordinary person. A general overview of the law is provided followed by detailed explanations of the considerations that Litigants in Person will need to be aware of which are taken into account when addressing finances e.g. the needs of each person and any children in order to ensure that both can remain as financially independent after the divorce as possible.
In the case of Soares de Melo v Portugal, the European Court of Human Rights found that the adoption of the Portuguese children involved in the case was a breach of Article 8.
Article 8 gives the right to respect for private and family life to all EU citizens therefore, allowing an individual to challenge their government in the European Court of Human Rights, whereby every contracting member state of the EU is bound by the decisions.
The plan called Adoption: A vision for change was unveiled by Nick Morgan, education secretary, and proposes a 4 year strategy that will see children placed with adoptive parents without the delays that are currently being experienced.
By 2020, the government vow to:
- End delay for vulnerable children in care by providing larger local pools of approved adopters by making sure every single council is part of a regional adoption agency by 2020, backed by £14 million