Monthly Archives: October 2013

Our new blogger – Charlotte Newman

Charlotte Newman Use 31.10.13My name is Charlotte Newman and I am a paralegal here at Stowe Family Law. I’m  excited to be getting involved with the blog and recording my daily activities and experiences at the firm.

I have recently graduated with a first class honours degree in Law at Leeds University. I have always had a keen interest in family law and was thus ecstatic to be offered a position as a paralegal at a firm with such a great reputation.

I am currently working at the Leeds office and love every second. I suppose that I am simply appreciative to have been given the opportunity to work at a firm that I have admired for so long.

My journey hasn’t been an easy one so far! I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma Tumour, rare form of cancer, in January 2011. I was in my third year of university and had not a care in the world (apart from seminar work and my dissertation of course!) when I started to suffer from persistent stomach aches. After numerous trips to the doctor’s office I was finally referred to a consultant who immediately sent me for an MRI scan. Within a week I was called back and given the diagnosis. As you can imagine, the words ‘I’m sorry, but its cancer’ are words that I was not prepared for and words that one prays that they will never hear. After a years’ worth of chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants and radiotherapy for good measure, my treatment was complete and I officially went into remission in March 2012.

My treatment was carried out at the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at St James’ Hospital. I honestly believe that I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the trust. Having cancer made me a shadow of my former self, but the teenage cancer trust instilled in me a confidence that the cancer had stripped away. Being treated on the ward meant that I was not alone in my ordeal; Teenage Cancer Trust wards are designated for treatment of young people. It meant that I was able to make friends with people who understood what I was facing, which was so important. Having cancer can make your social life redundant – hospitals aren’t such fun places!

In March 2013 I was asked to be the face of the trust, they had read about me on my sister’s JustGiving page. She was running a marathon for Teenage Cancer Trust and I had written a small story about my journey. I jumped at the offer and I have not looked back since. As an ambassador for the trust I have spoken at some pretty amazing venues, the Royal Albert Hall being my absolute favourite… I suppose this was because I was gracing the stage with some legendary people! My role involves me travelling the country to spread awareness on teenage cancers, but also fundraise on behalf of the trust so that they are able to build Teenage Cancer Trust wards in every city. I am a strong believer that every young person with cancer should be afforded the same support that I was fortunate enough to receive, and it is my mission to continue fundraising until it is possible!

Anyway enough about cancer… I am here, I am well and I am eager to learn! I have done work experience within the family law sector for a long time, and spent my ‘well days’ during treatment at Grahame Stowe Bateson in Meanwood. I was often asked why on earth I did this and why I’d want a demanding career after going through cancer. It seems the general consensus is that I should be out there travelling the world. However, my response is simple, I have fought long and hard to simply have a future and having cancer has made me even more determined to have the future that I have always dreamed of. That future to me is one where I am a successful lawyer! Might be strange to some, but it’s my answer nonetheless.

I have been in the Leeds office for two weeks now and I am thoroughly enjoying my time  here. I have been given lots of responsibility, today the tasks are already piling up on my desk as the day goes on. I welcome all of the tasks given!  I am working on both matrimonial and children cases and I genuinely find it all very fascinating.

This really is the very beginning of my journey; my destination of a training contract is getting closer. I am ready to take on anything that comes my way and I look forward to sharing it all with you!

Tying up loose ends and Forms C100 and FM1


Today is my last day in the office before four days off and so I have been running around tying up loose ends, trying to make sure that everything I have been working on is completed and isn’t going to hold up a case while I am away.

Whilst tying up loose ends today I got to draft my first C100 Form. A C100 is one of the most common forms used to apply for orders within family proceedings. It is used within children matters when applying for Contact, Residence, Shared Residence, Prohibited Steps, or Specific Issues Orders, so basically any application under s.8 of the Children Act 1989.

A copy of the c100 form will be sent to CAFCASS before proceedings start so that they can conduct their initial safeguarding checks. In order to apply an individual must be the child’s mother, father with parental rights, or legal guardian. If they do not fall under one of these categories they may need to apply to court for permission to apply.

The Court will also need a Form FM1 to accompany the C100. A Form FM1 is a form specifying whether mediation has been attempted and if not why not. The Form FM1 should be complete in accordance to the Pre-Action Protocol annexed to Practice Direction 3A. For more information on the Form FM1 please visit and a Form FM1 can be found at either, or on the Ministry of Justice Form Finder

When filling out the C100 ensure that all appropriate sections are completed in order to avoid unnecessary delays in proceedings. Guidance on how to fill out the C100 form can be found at

It may assist a case to have a position statement ready to explain why the individual is applying for the particular order. A position statement allows an individual to explain their current position and what they wish to happen in the future. Having a position statement in place and ready to hand in to the court if need can only speed the whole process up, which is always a good thing.

In other news it is now 5 O’clock and I think for the first time in a number of weeks I may finish on time, after all I have a train to catch. See you all on Monday.

Children of Divorce


Recently I watched a documentary published by BBC entitled Mum and Dad are Splitting Up, it aired on BBC 2 at 9pm on Thursday the 5th of September. Documentary film maker Olly Lambert, twenty six years after finding out his parents were splitting up, decided to investigate what he believes is an overlooked element of 21st Century family life. Olly Lambert spoke to the Guardian in regard to his documentary stating that he remembers the day his parents split vividly. “When it was over, my dad took my sister and me into the garden, and said he and my mum hadn’t been getting on very well lately and had decided to separate. I remember bursting into tears and running off to my friend’s house just to get away. It felt like a collapse of everything I had known, everything I knew I could rely on …” The documentary focuses on life after divorce and the children struggling to cope with it.

For children divorce can be stressful, confusing, and generally upsetting. Children can feel a range of emotions from anger and uncertainty to depression and low self-esteem. The Office of National Statistics states that “almost half (49%) of couples divorcing in 2011 had at least one child aged under 16 living in the family. There were 100,760 children aged under 16 who were in families where the parents divorced in 2011. Over a fifth (21%) of the children in 2011 were under five and 64% were under 11.” The documentary shines a light on the experience of those children; something some may argue is forgotten as the parents row over who gets to keep what and when each parent can see the child.

Edward Allport-Bryson, 21, a child featured on the documentary states that while he believed his mother did the right thing by throwing his father out, his father admits to being drunk, violent and abusive, he also states that ‘you need a dad, an actual figure in the chain of life.’ Edward tells the documentary how growing up without a father severely affected his behaviour both in and out of school. Edward is not the only one. Another child, Daisy, states that she just wanted to know why her parents split up.

In an age where divorce seems to be the norm it appears to be the children that suffer the most. The Help Guide, a non-profit resources gives some excellent advice on how parents can help their children through their divorce and the years that follow ( It is not possible to completely shelter a child from divorce but it is possible to hold their hand and explain what is actually happening.

The Guardian article that discusses the documentary can be found at:

Whilst the documentary is not currently available on BBC iPlayer there is a BBC page covering the documentary, which can be found at:

Photo by Southworth Sailor via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

Non-Molestation Orders

4403827916_730c146413_mFirstly I would like to welcome Becca to the Blog, I am sure she will be making some exciting and interesting contributions in the weeks and months to come.

With the sky rapidly darkening outside as the clocks fell back an hour this weekend and a horrific storm battering the south cost, winter is announcing its arrival, in fact it is shouting it from the roof tops. The shops have just began to deck their windows with Christmas cheer, albeit a little too early in my opinion with Halloween and Bonfire Night still to come, and I am already receiving weekly Facebook updates from a number of my friends as the countdown to Christmas; one of my friends even going as far as to tell me that it is now only 56 day, 6 hours and 17minutes until Christmas as of writing. With winter setting in the Stowe Family Law office is still as busy as ever. We have new staff joining and new Client’s on a daily basis.

In the vein of previous posts regarding s.8 orders, I thought I would today give a little insight in to non-molestation orders. In its simplest terms a non-molestation order is a type of injunction, under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996, which is made to protect an individual from abuse, harassments, threats and violence. A non-molestation order can be made for the protection of either parties or of any children. You must fall under the heading of ‘associated person’ to be able to apply for a non-molestation order. Section 62(3) of the Family Law Act 1996 states that a person is associated with another if:

  • They are or have been married to each other or have been civil partners
  • They are cohabitants or former cohabitants
  • They live or have lived in the same household for a reason other than one of them being the other’s employee, tenant, lodger or boarder
  • They are relatives – this includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, step-parents and step-children
  • They have agreed to marry or enter into a civil partnership or they have or have had an intimate personal relationship which was of significant duration
  • In relation to a child, they are both parents or have or have had parental responsibility (where a child has been adopted or freed for adoption, two people will be associated if one is the natural parent and the other is the child or adoptive parent of the child)
  • They are parties to the same family proceedings (other than proceedings under Part IV of FLA 1996)

This offers protection for a wide range of individuals. A non-molestation order can be made as part of existing family proceedings or as free-standing applications. Non-molestation orders can be made either ex-parte or on notice. This means that an application can be made either with or without the respondent’s knowledge. Non-molestation orders are often made without the Respondent’s knowledge and are then listed for a further on notice hearing. This allows a party who is suffering domestic violence immediate protection before the Respondent is informed and has the opportunity to take any action. The order will however not be effective until it is served upon the Respondent personally, this ensures that the Respondent doesn’t unknowingly breach a court order.

Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence, punishable by five years’ imprisonment. Sadly however , while a court order may operate as a deterrent it does not mean the individual holding it is completely protected. According to the latest statistics in 2010: 2,626 people were found guilty of breaching a non-molestation order with a further 124 people cautioned.

Please note that the first port of call for anyone who feels that they are in immediate danger is to call the police.

Laura Guillon also wrote an interesting post on Part IV orders including non-molestation orders on Marilyn Stowe’s Blog, which can be found here:

Photo by European Parliament via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

New blog contributor on board


Before I race ahead, I should begin by introducing myself. My name is Becca Shenkin and I have recently started as a paralegal at Stowe Family Law. For an aspiring lawyer, straight out of university, this is an incredible opportunity. Now, you might want to know a little bit about me. Well here it goes…

I was born and bred in Glasgow where I decided that I wanted to study law at the University of Leeds. Why did I pick law? Would it be wrong to admit that Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” was primarily my reason? To tell the truth, I actually stumbled into law. Having received top grades at school I thought, “why not?” It was a subject I had never studied or knew anything about. Three years down the line I am delighted by my choice of career. Yes, it is tough, but I never stop learning as the legal world is constantly and rapidly changing.

At university, I knew that I wanted to study family law. It was always an area of law that fascinated me. I took electives in family law, child law and wrote my dissertation on a new proposal for the divorce system in England and Wales. After gaining a 2:1 at university, I knew I wanted to start a career as a solicitor. I am now currently studying for the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in Manchester.

Over the summer I undertook some work experience with the firm and the rest is history. I am now working as a paralegal at the Wilmslow office and each day brings with it something new. I am able to use the skills that the LPC lecturers are stressing are important once we are trainees. My researching and drafting skills are already improving and I have only been here a few weeks. I am able to sit in on client meetings and subsequently write up attendance notes and I was able to attend court with one of the partners, Nastassia Burton, only last week. All these experiences confirm that I want to pursue my career in family law and that life as a paralegal is varied and exciting.

Outside of work and university I volunteer for an organisation that helps children whose parents are going through a divorce. This has allowed me to see the repercussions of a divorce on children and I feel that through my volunteering I am able to help them. Further, as part of my LPC I am able to undertake pro bono work through the Legal Advice Clinic.

I am sure you will be hearing lots more from me. But for now, I am going to ignore this miserable weather, grab a hot drink and continue amending this Form E.

The Calm Before the Storm

4575095263_8d979f6156_mWell today started off well when a colleague braved the cold, wet whether to go on a breakfast sandwich run. A bacon sandwich on a cold morning in the office is never bad. To top the day off I was then treated to a tasty lunch. But the bacon sandwich signaled the calm before the storm and I would have to argue that lunch appeared to occur as I passed through the storms eye. The rest of the day was somewhat manic.

The work has been non-stop today from attendance in meetings with new and existing clients and firing off emails left, right and center to researching areas of law I never thought I would need to research when working in a family law firm. As I am sure I have said previously, working in a specified area of law does not restrict you to only having to know or research within that area.

My day flitted from international family law and financial proceedings to children matters and domestic violence. No day is the same here at Stowe Family Law but today became a mixture of numerous interesting areas of law. I am beginning to get some great exposure in the area of international family law, it being an area that I am extremely interested in I cannot complain. So much so that I am considering learning another language, whilst brushing up on my now very broken Spanish.

International Family law is becoming a hot topic. In May of this year the BBC wrote an interesting report on the matter ( The BBC claimed that ‘a total of 253 cases were handled in 2012 by the Office of the Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales, up from 65 in 2008.’ ‘The Office offers advice to judges and lawyers acting in international disputes, as well as negotiating with judges in other countries.’ While the rise in cases of child abduction and global divorce can never be considered a good thing I cannot restrain my growing interest in the area.

With tomorrow and Friday promising to be even busier, as I shoot off to the Stowe Family Law LLP Leeds office on an urgent matter, I will have to restrain my interest for this evening. So for now I think I am going to go home and have an early night.

Photo by Tjflex2 via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

Social Media is on the Rise.

8583949219_f55657573e_mDuring lunch today I checked my Facebook account, I was awaiting a response from a friend who lives in America as to her availability to Skype this evening, and it got me to thinking about the increased presence of social media not only in family law cases but throughout the legal system. Only recently, in early 2012, the High Court dealt with an aptly coined case: the ‘Twitter Joke Trial’ which addressed the he relationship between social media and the criminal law relating to electronic communications.

As the prevalence of sites such as Facebook and Twitter grows it is impossible to deny the effect of social media’s intrusion upon our lives. With over 800 million people owning Facebook accounts and with over 30 billion pieces of content shared each month it is arguable that the presence of social media within any area of law is only likely to grow. In 2012 Divorce Online ( carried out extensive research into the area of social media and found that one in three divorce petitions in the UK list Facebook as a causative factor. Further they found that flirtatious Facebook messages were one of the most commonly cited illustrations of unreasonable behaviour.

Facebook and other social media sites such as Twitter appear to be becoming more and more prevalent in international family law cases, in particular where jurisdiction is disputed. Further, on the 13th May 2013 four young children set up a Facebook group named ‘Kids Without Voices’ ( The group was set up by the four young girls in response to their father’s application to seek a judgement under the Hague Convention to have them returned from Australia, where they live with their mother, to Italy. Whilst their message is a powerful one, coming from children who don’t believe they have a voice, is it also not a dangerous precedent to set: the hope that public opinion via a social media site may sway the course of proceedings?

Courts throughout the country are also being faced with the issue of divorce and children proceedings being plastered all over the internet. Proceedings that were once private now fall to be criticised by the party’s friends and family, as Twitter or Facebook updates tell of the current position of the case.

The case of MKM Capital Property Ltd v Corbo and Poyser (ACT Sup Ct No SC 608 of 2008) in Australia was the first case to allow the service of documents to be affected via a social media site. However, the UK was not far behind and has since allowed service via Facebook in two civil cases. It appears inevitable that in the future, when all other avenues for service have been exhausted, social media sites will be utilised.

The Courts are now also faced with the fact that parties are producing photographs, wall posts and tweets in order to prove, for instance, that full disclosure has not been made. This gives rise to a number of issues, not least the question of how these documents were obtained: were they obtained lawfully? And can they even be used in court proceedings? It becomes somewhat of an information mine field.

It would appear that social media is on the rise and is not promising to slow down any time soon. Thus it would seem that it will become a practice of family lawyers to advise their clients not only of the law but of the implications of using social media sites during their divorce proceedings.

Photo by Jason A. Howie via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

Legal Aid and Litigants in Person.

1486833803_b717b40072_mToday as I saw one of our many Legal Advice Clinic Clients at Stowe Family Law LLP, I got to thinking about legal aid and I figured it would make an interesting subject for a Blog post.  On Monday 1st April 2013 the Legal Services Commission was replaced by the Legal Aid Agency, and the cuts imposed by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 took effect.  But what this mean for those Clients that struggle to afford to pay solicitors fees?

Under the new legal aid rules, legal aid is only available in  public family law regarding protection of children; private family law with evidence of child abuse; child abduction representation of children in private family cases; legal advice in support of mediation; domestic violence injunction cases; and forced marriage protection orders. In comparison to the position before the new legal aid rules, where all aspects of family law were covered, this is a severe restriction on legal aid.

In order to qualify for legal aid in relation to abuse the Client has to produce ‘trigger evidence’ proving that they are a victim of abuse. Legal aid is, however, available in private family law for protective injunction applications and no ‘trigger evidence’ is required. A list of applicable ‘trigger evidence’ can be found under regulation 33 of the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 (found here The list includes: “a relevant unspent conviction for a domestic violence offence; a relevant police caution for a domestic violence offence given within the twenty four month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services; and a letter or report from a health professional confirming that the professional— (i)has examined A within the twenty four month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services; (ii)was satisfied following that examination that A had injuries or a condition consistent with those of a victim of domestic violence; and (iii)has no reason to believe that A’s injures or condition were not caused by domestic violence”.

Each legal aid applicant will still be subjected to a means and merits test in order to assess whether or not legal aid should be granted.

With such drastic changes we can easily predict a huge influx of litigants in person throughout the area of family law. Whether the costs outlaid by the government will really be reduced by the new rules is yet to be seen but arguably they will not.  Litigants in person are not trained legal professionals; they go in to the court system almost blind. The cases can often take a great deal longer and mistakes are often made. The expense outlaid by the court in time ensuring the a Litigant in person is following the court timetable and understands his rights is exponentially longer when an individual is representing themselves. This results in mounting costs. There is also the idea that there are likely to be a number of access to justice arguments put forward under article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Did the Government make the right decision in changing legal aid so drastically? Arguably not, hundreds of individuals are now left unrepresented and unprotected. They are left unable to fight and in cases involving the contact of children with their parents, I find this somewhat reprehensible.

For further information on the issues with litigation in person can be found here:

Cake for Breakfast and a Prohibited Steps

3980269874_c40706225b_mI walked in to the office kitchen this morning for a glass of water before sitting down at my desk and the kitchen side is laden with cakes and pastries. It is one of my colleagues birthdays and she has kindly done a lot of baking, using home produced ingredients. It is no exaggeration to say that I think the lemon drizzle cake is the best lemon drizzle cake I have ever tasted. I have asked her for the recipe in the naive hope that I may be able to replicate this masterpiece.

Cake for breakfast is never a bad way to start the day. Work swiftly follows and today, in line with my specific issues post on Tuesday, I thought I would discuss prohibited steps orders, something I encountered this week.

Like the specific issues orders prohibited steps orders form one of the four orders that fall under s.8 of the Children Act 1989. It may be that the order is pretty self-explanatory but I will explain its role nonetheless.

The same Parental Responsibility requirement applies as it does to specific issues orders. Any person with parental responsibility may apply to the court to prevent any other person with parental responsibility from taking a particular action, hence the name.

Prohibited Steps orders in family law are extremely important. They can be made in relation to any one of the numerous decisions parents make in regard to their children. Parents often disagree on how their children are to be brought up and only more so when parents are separated. Prohibited Steps orders can address areas such as schooling, religion, medical intervention and the ability to take a child abroad.

After an application for a Prohibited Steps Order is issued the court will appoint a CAFCASS Officer. The CAFCASS Officer will then meet with both parties to go through the issues and try to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached the CAFCASS Officer will investigate further and produce a report detailing their recommendations. It is often the case that if a matter does not settle prior to the final hearing the court will follow the CAFCASS officers’ recommendations. If the court decides to depart from the recommendations the judge will have to give a detailed reason as to why it has decided to do this.

A court may make a prohibited steps order of its own motion, this means that it has not been asked to make such an order but as part of other proceedings it feels it is necessary to do so. This kind of prohibited steps order does not generally concern a parental decision but a parent’s current behaviour.  Prohibited Steps Orders can also be made on an emergency basis without notice.

Any party who fails to comply with a Prohibited Steps Order will commit a criminal offence which could result in a prison sentence.

In other news the sky outside is now getting dark and I have finished all my work for the week, more importantly all the cake is virtually gone, so I think it may be time for home.

Emotional Neglect and the Child Maltreatment Bill

4937239031_84b871b6b4_oWhilst sipping on a warming hot chocolate at lunch time today, I read the latest on the Child Maltreatment Bill 2013-14. This Bill is of particular interest to me as I wrote my Graduate Diploma in Law dissertation on ‘An Evaluation of the system of child protection in the UK in light of cases like ‘Baby P’ and Climbie’. The Bill aims to make provisions for the emotional and physical welfare of children.

On average, every week in England and Wales one child is killed at the hands of another person and one baby is killed every 20 days according to the NSPC in March 2013. This statistic has not changed for the last thirty years despite continual change and apparent improvement in the system. The NSPCC, in their 2008 report: ‘Child death investigation and review’, stated that ‘many children die in circumstances where abuse and/or neglect may have been significant contributory factors but they are not always identified.’ Thus arguably the above statistics are underestimated. The overwhelming questions therefore arise: why do children still die despite our, apparent, best efforts? Why are children left unprotected from emotional abuse?

In 2003, following the horrific death of Victoria Climbie, Lord Laming headed an inquiry into her death finding a complete failure on the part of the police, NHS and child services. He made over a hundred recommendations. He called for the establishment of an agency, known as The National Agency for Children and Families, which would operate in order to ensure that the police, health and housing services functioned effectively and efficiently in regard to their duties in relation to children throughout the UK. However many of the recommendations were simply ignored and the National Agency for Children and Families was never established. In March 2009 Labour MP, Ed Balls, addressed the House of Common’s stating that ‘none of Lord Lamings proposals alone could have prevented the death of Baby P, but all of them together add up to a step change in frontline child protection because no barrier, no bureaucracy, and no book passing should ever get in the way of keeping children safe.’

Section 1.(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 provides a circular and somewhat confusing definition of neglect: ‘If any person who has attained the age of sixteen years and has custody, charge, or care of any child or young person under that age, wilfully assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandons, or exposes him, or causes or procures him to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected […] that person shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable […]’. The Act uses simple variants of the word neglect in order to define it which arguably renders the area somewhat unclear and undefined. It also appears to completely ignore emotional neglect. The other major issue with this definition is the idea of ‘wilful’; what does this mean? Does it mean simply that the parent or carer need to have intentionally caused the neglect or is there an element of recklessness involved? Is it enough that the parent or carer might have foreseen the end result of the neglect or is it enough that they in anyway deliberately caused the neglect to occur? Jo Bridgeman in her book Parental Responsibility, Young Children and Healthcare Law discusses the issue of wilful neglect however she seems unable to come to a coherent conclusion as to the issue. In R v G (2004) the court said wilful misconduct means deliberately doing something that is wrong, knowing it to be wrong or with reckless indifference as to whether it is wrong or not. This appears to suggest that wilful neglect would include both intention and recklessness as to the result; however the issue is left somewhat unresolved.

The Children Act 1989 introduced the idea of ‘significant harm’ under section 31. It constitutes the stage at which a court will intervene in order to protect a child. While ‘harm’ is considerably defined within the Act, ‘significant’ is left undefined and unclear. In 2006 the government produced a guide entitled, Working Together to Safeguard Children: A Guide to Inter-agency Working to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children, which was revised in 2010, and states that ‘There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm… some children live in family and social circumstances where their health and development are neglected. For them, it is the corrosiveness of long-term emotional, physical or sexual abuse that causes impairment to the extent of constituting significant harm.’ This sets the ‘significant harm’ threshold extremely high. It is completely unconscionable that it should take such corrosive abuse before any formal intervention can take place.

The NSPCC claims that there is a complete lack of coherence within the family justice system. They state that the system is ‘characterised by a collection of agencies that lack a single set of shared objectives and management information systems’.

Baroness Butler-Sloss in her forward to The criminal law and child neglect: an independent analysis and proposal for reform in 2013 stated that ‘The current law explicitly fails to recognise the full range of harm done to neglected children, and creates problems of practice and interpretation for legal professionals. This cannot be our best effort as law makers at protecting neglected children, and so I am determined to see through a reform of the law in this area. I invite my fellow parliamentarians to support this as a matter of great importance and urgency.’

Whether or not this Bill will have the effect that is so desperately required is yet to be seen but it is definitely one to watch. The second reading in the House of Commons is listed for the 22nd of November 2013. For further information on the Bill and to track it’s progress please visit:

Photo by Ulrica Törning via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.