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News in brief: family law and (post)modernism

Date:14 FEB 2014

Matthias MuellerNews in brief is a new weekly column that aims to provide readers with a quick ‘at a glance' summary of all the latest news we have (and haven't) reported. Basically, I thought I would save you the time of having to trawl through the Ethernet to get your dose of family law news, and will do the work for you instead.

The big news, that isn't really news anymore, is the President's latest View (#10): View from the President's chambers: the beginning of the future. The View provides a useful overview and timetable for the ‘modernisation' of the family justice system. The President also mentions two important decisions in relation to practice in public law cases: A Local Authority v DG and Others [2014] EWHC 63 (Fam), [2014] 2 FLR (forthcoming) and Re NL (A child) (Appeal: Interim Care Order) [2014] EWHC 270 (Fam), [2014] 2 FLR (forthcoming).

In other news, the Supreme Court published a guide for litigants in person, which provides a really useful explanation of the SC appeal process. The FCO also published guidance for prospective parents considering entering surrogacy arrangements abroad.

I also reported on the recent review that the Care Quality Commission conducted to assess the quality of dementia care in England, which coincided with the launch of our newly published book, Dementia and the Law.

The Court of Appeal decision in Sharland v Sharland [2014] EWCA 95, [2014] 2 FLR (forthcoming) caused a bit of stir this week and we'll be publishing an in-depth analysis in the March issue of Family Law. In the meantime you can read the case summary and news article.

It is probably also worth reporting that Sir Martin Narey's independent review of the education of children's social workers was published this week. ‘Making the education of social workers consistently effective' is available here.

The best of the rest includes Cafcass' January 2014 statistics for care demand and private law demand; the children's minister announcing £30m for the Government's innovation programme and the ‘Staying Put' amendment coming one step closer to becoming law.

A personal highlight of the past week was the FJC Interdisciplinary Conference. The conference, entitled ‘Family Justice redefined?', considered the changing nature of family justice following reforms, both those already in place and those that are anticipated. The papers will be published in a Family Law special issue in May.

What really caught my attention, though, is the ‘important unimportant judgment' reported earlier this week by the excellent suesspiciousminds. Although it is an important case for being about the ‘important' stuff, suesspiciousminds remarks that it might be more interesting for what is not said. You can read the full judgment here. For some reason this case reminded me of that famous play where nothing happens twice. Maybe it's a bit of a stretch but perhaps family law really is taking its first tentative steps towards (post)modernism?

'All I know is that the hours are long... and constrain us to beguile them with proceedings which ... may at first sight seem reasonable, until they become a habit.'

- Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

Matthias Mueller is the Journals Manager and Online Editor for Jordan Publishing. 

He can be contacted via email at editor@familylaw.co.uk, Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

The content of this article should not be considered as legal advice.