What a year 2014 has been for family law. We have
hardly had chance to take it all in, with the tidal wave of reforms in April
and thereafter the constant trickle of working group reports, draft standard
orders and guidance. With so much
happening, Family Law has had a lot to cover. Here is our run-down of the top
10 articles across the year.
The fourth article in our PSL series of essential updates
gave family law professionals a neat summary of the need-to-know points
regarding the Children and Families Act 2014 in readiness for 22 April 2014.
Outlining the changes to both public and private children proceedings, the ways
in which the Children Act 1989 was amended, the implications on procedure and the
initial must-read sections of the Act; this essential update was our most popular article of 2014.
This article gave the background to the appeals and
contained the full judgment of the Supreme Court verdict in the Cheshire West
case and was unsurprisingly popular considering the wide reaching ambit and
consequences for practitioners dealing with potential deprivation of liberty
matters. The appeals concerned the criteria for judging whether the living
arrangements made for a mentally incapacitated person amounted to a deprivation
In their fourth year, the Family Law Awards had Sir Paul
Coleridge at the helm and was a night of celebration, acknowledgment and
gratitude for all those directly involved with, and in support of, the
profession. Hundreds of people attended The Brewery in the heart of
London to commend the
shortlisted nominees and rejoice with the winners.
Some time ago the President explained his concern about the
amount of time and money wasted in the process of drafting orders which could
be standardised. Mostyn J’s drafting group has been busy ever since and has
provided a comprehensive set of orders, ranging from reporting restrictions to
abduction to freezing orders. This article contains a link to our Family Orders
page which draws together all the draft orders released to date in one handy
With only three working days to spare until the single
Family Court became a reality, this article gave an in-depth summary of the key
changes that were to take place on 22 April 2014. It explained all about the
Family Court, what it was, where it was, who the judges were, case allocation,
court powers, the shortened financial remedy procedure, changes to the Family
Procedure Rules 2010, transitional provisions…you name it.
This article outlined the changes made by the Children and Families Act 2014 to Part 12 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 and the 26-week requirement for all care, supervision and other Part 4 proceedings. It summarised the amendments made to the PLO and also contained the flowchart, new C110A and the President’s guidance.
The President’s 13th view was a round-up of how the latest reforms have been coming along. It spoke of the reports from The Financial Remedies Working Group and The Children and Vulnerable Witnesses Working Group, and gave encouragement to respond to the Transparency consultation paper. There was discussion of the DNA and hair-strand testing pilot scheme; continued concerns over legal aid and divorce reform. By far our favourite paragraph however, was the final one with which there was simply no arguing with!
In this article it was revealed that the presumption of parental involvement at section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (which inserted new sections 1(2)A, 1(2)B, 1(6) and 1(7) into the Children Act 1989) was to come into force on 22 October 2014. There was a link to the commencement order and some thoughts on whether the section would serve to make any major changes to child arrangements.
The penultimate essential update discussed the new Family Procedure Rules 2010, Pt 3 and Practice Direction 3A. The requirement to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before making an application had been strengthened and given statutory force via the Children and Families Act 2014 and the requirements and exemptions were considered in detail.
This informative piece was produced on 1 April 2014 in anticipation of the re-launch of the Family Court. It gave a sneak preview into the family friendly branding and the ethos of the reforms, making the court process altogether more approachable and less…fishy.
A big thank you to our many readers, authors, contributors, customers and the family law community as a whole – it has been an exciting and busy year and we are grateful for your loyal support.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!