It’s the end of the week again, and the perfect opportunity for a brief round up of some newsworthy articles and stories that have been reported recently.
A reduction in the amount of private law cases referred to Cafcass
CAFCASS, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service have released their statistics for October 2013 which shows a reduction in the amount of private law cases referred to them. Is that indicative of a drop in the number of applications made to the Court with regards to children, such as applications for contact and residence orders? Maybe not, as the figures reveal that whilst the number is an 8% decrease on the figures from October 2012, the number of new cases from April to October 2013 was 29,890, an increase of 12% from the 26,792 cases received in the same period last year.
Earlier this week there were calls for the legal profession to do compulsory pro-bono work, that is to say advising or assisting on cases for free. The Law Gazette reported on it here. Many solicitors firms and other organisations already undertake a significant amount of pro-bono work, and The Law Society, Bar Council and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives have joined together to produce a Guide to Pro Bono. The Guide has been produced to help MPs and advisers to identify and access pro bono services, listing the main agencies which offer support. Due to the wide scope of pro-bono work, it is of course not an exhaustive list but is a useful guide.
Rise in cohabiting couples
On a theme that frequently makes headlines, Family Law Week reported this week that the number of cohabiting couples has risen 30% in the last decade. Referencing statistics from the Office for National Statistics, the story reveals that the number of heterosexual couple families has increased from 2.2 million in 2003 to 2.9 million in 2013. There has also been a rise in the number of children living in this type of family.
The significant majority of the 18.2 million families in the UK in 2013 are still married couples, with or without children.
The statistical release is here.
Child Maintenance Service to charge 4% collection fee
Also on Family Law Week this week was the report that the Department for Work and Pensions has published the Government response to “Supporting separated families; securing children’s futures” consultation about the draft Child Support legislation.
The initial proposal was that the parent with care would pay a fee of 7% where maintenance is collected by the Child Maintenance Service. The DWP has confirmed an intention to reduce that fee to 4%. It states that it believes the fee ‘is vital to the functioning of a system that will deliver long-term benefits for children’.
The intention to charge a fee has proved controversial with various charities and support groups who feel it is penalising families where the parent who no longer lives at home refuses to pay maintenance.
Image by Rambling Traveler under a Creative Commons Licence