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Queen sets out new Bills

Date:6 NOV 2007

The Queen's Speech set out the legislative agenda for Gordon Brown's first full parliamentary session as Prime Minister. Amongst the 29 Bills and draft Bills outlined were four Bills pertinent to Family Law practitioners.

Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill
A new body, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, will be set up to replace the Child Support Agency. The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, applicable to England, Wales and Scotland, will have tougher powers to enforce child maintenance. These powers include the ability to:

  • deduct from earnings and other monies of the non-resident parent to collect arrears and regular child maintenance;
  • impose a curfew on a non-resident parent, which will be monitored electronically; and
  • withdraw the passport or other travel documents from the non-resident parent.

    The Bill also creates measures to pay compensation to sufferers from the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

    Children and Young Persons Bill
    Applicable to England and Wales, this Bill would reform the statutory framework for the care system and provide local authorities with new powers over children under their care. The Bill also aims to prevent children in local authority care from moving schools mid-way through their GCSE courses and to ensure that young people are not forced out of care before they are ready.

    Education and Skills Bill
    In an effort to tackle the number of teenagers in England and Wales outside of work, education or training, 16 to 18-year-olds will be required to continue at school or in training.

    The Children, Schools and Families Secretary, Ed Balls, set out Government plans to raise the education participation age to 17 by 2013 and 18 by 2015.
    If we don't act now to increase participation, it will be the most disadvantaged young people who will be the losers in this new and fast-changing world", Mr Balls told the Fabian Society in a speech on Monday.

    Human Tissues and Embryos Bill
    Applicable to the whole of the UK, this Bill would improve the regulation of the creation and use of all human embryos outside the body. It also would ban selecting the sex of babies for non-medical reasons. The Bill would recognise same-sex couples as legal parents of children conceived through the use of donated sperm, eggs or embryos.
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