The Buzz


Family court president recommends independent domestic violence advocates to protect victims of abuse

For real 🤔🦋 Xx

Researching Reform

Andrew McFarlane, the president of the family division, has endorsed the use of independent domestic violence advocates (IDVAs) for family court cases in his latest speech.

The speech, prepared for the Jersey International Family Law Conference 2021, was made on October 8th, and outlines several recommendations which place children at the centre of divorce and domestic violence (DV) proceedings.

During the speech he also reiterated that individuals would not be allowed to offer expert evidence in the family courts unless they could demonstrate their professional experience was based on “an established body of knowledge” and not pseudo-science. McFarlane also noted that experts would have to be impartial and independent.

The recommendations he made for improving the handling of domestic abuse abuses cases included:

  • Instructing an expert whenever an allegation of parental alienation is made by a parent in DV cases.
  • The involvement of Independent Domestic Violence Advisers [‘IDVA’].
  • The implementation…

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Not a metaphorical car crash


Once in a while, you read a case and think “well, I’ve never seen THAT before” and this is one of them.

It is an international family law case, which isn’t really my bag, but basically a family broke up in Poland, mum came to UK with the children, dad applied to Court here to ask for her to be made to return to Poland. There are some specific factors which the Court can apply to say “no, not in this case”

So the argument was whether Article 13 of the Convention applied

The Court is not bound to return of the child if the person, institution or other body which opposes its return establishes that –

b) there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.’

I’m being coy about…

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Judge encourages families to attend screening of “shaken baby” play.

🙏🙂 Xxxxxxxx

Researching Reform

A family court judge who has written a play about a baby being shaken and sustaining injuries by his parents, has said child protection-experienced families are welcome to attend the play’s live screening.

Responding in an email to a court-experienced mother who lost her son to the care system and wanted to attend the screening, Judge Stephen Wildblood said: “It’s great that you want to join this. You will be very welcome to attend.”

“The whole idea is to show people what it is really like for some families. I have tried to make this play as authentic as I can,” he added.

Wildblood then goes on to invite the mother to share the play’s screening details, and asks her to tell others who would like to attend in her circle to log on at 6.45pm so that any difficulties accessing the seminar online can be addressed before the play…

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Survey: kinship carers say they receive no support to enable child contact with parents

Absolute disgrace. Still the same as back in the early 2000’s then 😢🦋 Xxxxxx

Researching Reform

A survey produced by Kinship, a company providing support and assistance to kinship carers, has found that only11%of carers received support from their local authorities to help with contact between children in kinship care and their parents, and a further 23% wanted support but did not receive it.

The survey also noted that 62% of carers they polled believed the children in their care had long term physical and mental health needs.

The figure of 62% marks a 43% increase from the last survey carried out by Kinship in 2010, raising important questions about why these needs may be rising.

The survey found that only 33% of children had received a formal diagnosis and that of those children, 40% had been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, 38% with behavioural issues, and 38% with an attachment disorder.

The poll also held that 36% of the children had special educational needs, a…

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Family Court Statistics Explainer

‘The guide, which was published on 30 September, has 20 chapters which contain: background to the family law stats; descriptions about how the private and public family sectors work; information on the types of orders in family law and; how to read the charts and statistics in each family law update.

You can access the guide here.’

Researching Reform

Welcome to another week.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has published a guide to understanding the data it publishes on the family courts in England and Wales.

The MOJ publishes updated statistics reports for the family courts every three months which offer a snapshot of what is going inside the courts.

The statistics have been criticised by family court reformers who say the system fails to collect in-depth data and important information, making the quarterly reports less useful than they could be.

However, they do offer a general overview of what is going inside the system, trends towards or away from legal applications to the courts and rises or drops in those applications.

The guide, which was published on 30 September, has 20 chapters which contain: background to the family law stats; descriptions about how the private and public family sectors work; information on the types of orders in family…

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Siblings make successful bid to revoke an order forcing their return to the UK

Researching Reform

A sister and her brother have successfully managed to revoke an order made in an English family court forcing them to return to the UK to live with their mother.

The judgment for this case features several interesting legal principles which enabled the order to be revoked. However it is of greater importance for the weight it placed on the children’s wishes and feelings in an exceptional case which highlights the balance that needs to be struck between damage caused by forceful removal and any damage caused by parental absence.

The family law case involved a Spanish mother, Belgian father and their children who lived in the UK while the parents were married. Upon the parents separating, the mother remained in the UK and the father left for Spain. Divorce proceedings were initiated in England.

During the divorce proceedings, the children were ordered to live with their mother during a…

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