The case of RM v HFEA (Re M) involves a mother who lost her daughter to cancer, aged 28, and is now seeking permission to fulfil her daughter’s wish of using her stored frozen eggs to conceive a baby. The court of Appeal has given permission to appeal the High Court decision after she was refused consent to transport her daughter’s frozen eggs.
In this case the mother and father, known as Mr and Mrs M, were refused treatment in the UK therefore; asked for permission from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to transport the frozen eggs to America where there were doctors willing to commence treatment. However, the HFEA refused to release the eggs and the couple took to the High Court to challenge this decision.
The report by London School of Economics and commissioned by the MOJ analysed the UK Millennium Cohort Study, a study of around 19,000 children who were born in the UK between September 2000 and January 2002 and who at 9 months old, were living with both parents and were successfully followed until they reached age 11.
The aim of this study was to provide evidence for the lasting effects on the children of divorcees or cohabitees that separate.
The case of Rights of Women v The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice  EWCA Civ 91 was heard on the 18th of February in the Court of Appeal. This was a highly anticipated ruling regarding the evidence needed by domestic violence victims in order to access legal aid for family court cases. Three appeal judges agreed that these restrictions were in fact unlawful.
The case was brought by the Public Law Project on behalf of Rights of Women, representing the victims of domestic abuse that have been restricted to accessing legal aid. The campaigning began after cuts were made to the civil legal aid scheme in 2013.
The Ministry of Justice undertook a consultation process discussing the future of courts in England and Wales; they have concluded from this consultation that 86 courts and tribunals are to close. The Justice Minister claimed that on average, the courts that are due to close are only used for an equivalent of less than two days a week; leading the government to brand them ‘unused’.
The purpose of the closures is to reduce the £500m annual cost of courts in England and Wales, in order to focus on modernisation that will improve the efficiency of the currently outdated and slow system and benefit all users of the courts.
Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, better known as Cafcass, are independent from the courts, social services etc. and ensure decisions are made in the best interests of the child when family matters go to court.
Cafcass has released new figures for January 2016 which convey a 16% increase in care applications, with figures for last month totalling 1,040 compared to 893 in the same period of 2015.
It is undisputed that after separation, unless there are special circumstances, the best people to decide the custody arrangement for children are their parents. The parents know the family situation best and if they can agree on a parenting plan between them, it saves the children the conflict of family court proceedings. Judges have specific requirements and factors they have to take in to account however, their limited time spent with the family means they cannot get to know the family in full before their decision has to be made.
A custody decision will affect the rest of the child’s life therefore, is not a decision that can be taken lightly. Therefore, each parent can prepare a parenting plan in which the Judge will assess who best can care for the child. The best interests of the child are the focus of the court’s decision and what parents want will not be taken into account. The Judge will bear in mind the following factors when making their decision in addition to applying the “welfare checklist”.