Empathy, anxiety and resilience: Lady Hale in the Supreme Court yesterday

“We do not have many women judges in the higher, law-shaping courts. We have even fewer judges, men or women, who are prepared to call themselves feminists… …it makes such a difference how the story is told. Feminist judges will take different facts from the mass of detail to tell the story in a different […]

When is guidance ‘statutory’ and does it matter?

In the beginning was section 7, Local Authority Social Services Act 1970: Local authorities shall, in the exercise of their social services functions, including the exercise of any discretion conferred by any relevant enactment, act under the general guidance of the Secretary of State. The Act which set up social services authorities over 40 years […]

Quashing the child protection investigation: self-serving or breaching the dam?

Yesterday I posted on our case of AB & Anor, R (on the application of) v The London Borough of Haringey [2013] EWHC 416 (Admin) (13 March 2013). I said, “I want to focus for now, in two posts, on two criticisms that have inevitably been made about our challenge to Haringey. In doing so, […]

Data-gathering: damned if we do, damned if we don’t?

[I realise I haven’t posted for a while, but given that the widely reported case yesterday where Haringey was ordered to pay human rights compensation for an unlawful child protection enquiry was our case, it might be surprising if I had nothing to say! In fact, there is a lot to say here about good […]

Hobson’s choice – voluntary or compulsory removal of a child?

CA (A Baby), Re [2012] EWHC 2190 (Fam) (30 July 2012) By an extraordinary coincidence, it was only this week that I mentioned in a blog the case which came to national tabloid prominence four years ago as “the Nottingham baby case”. Extraordinary that I have cause to review it again, so soon, in considering […]

‘Post Adoption Placement Breakdown’ – a gripping whodunnit!

K (A Child: Post Adoption Placement Breakdown), Re [2012] EWHC B9 (Fam) (27 July 2012) If this were a whodunnit, I guessed the plot by chapter 15. Paragraph 15 actually since it is a judgement, but that’s still pretty early on given that the judgement runs to over 200 paragraphs. I still read it to […]

Let’s not criminalise forced marriage

That’s right, this is the case against the proposed new criminal offence. The case roughly is: it’s mere political posturing, it’s unnecessary, it won’t work, and it will have unfortunate side effects. In 2009, Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines on Forced Marriage were published. They had an impressive pedigree, endorsed by all of the branches of government […]

KM v Cambridgeshire: the Supreme Court’s decision is not about assessment

“I’m just hoping that after tomorrow the link between value of cash payment and cost of meeting need is not utterly broken!” …I tweeted yesterday, contributing to a debate about our hopes and expectations for today’s Supreme Court ruling in KM, R (on the application of) v Cambridgeshire County Council 2012] UKSC 23 (31 May […]

Poverty pimps, old rope, and lemon soaked paper napkins – welcome to a post-legal aid world?

Last weekend, I attended a lawyer’s conference – ghastly concept, I know; it involved no natural lighting throughout a beautiful weekend. I got to cope by staying in my camper in beautiful places instead of at the conference venue, but that’s another matter… The conference explored changes to the legal landscape, and therefore along the […]

The Queen should die! Truth and Justice in the Family Courts

In Book 19 of Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, Queen Guinevere is accused by Sir Meliagrance of high treason through infidelity with Sir Launcelot. I thought that was a good opening line for a blog about truth and justice in the family courts! What actually inspired this were the reflections here of @suesspiciousmin on whether […]