It was an especially hectic day today at Stowe Family Law LLP with clients turning up unannounced and unexpected developments in numerous cases but I suppose this is all just part of the job.
During my lunch break I was reading an article on Family Law Weekly and I was surprised to hear that CAFCASS, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, received 3,834 new cases this September, this is a 6% increase on September 2012. “Between April and September 2013 CAFCASS received a total of 25, 977 new private law cases. This figure shows an increase of 16% from the 22,460 cases received in the same period last year” according to CAFCASS.
With the rates of both public and private law child cases increasing CAFCASS are becoming an invaluable resource not only for children but all those involved in the cases. As a trainee solicitor knowledge of not only who CAFCASS are but what they do is invaluable, afterall CAFCASS reports are sometimes integral to the case you are working upon.
Under the Family Procedure Rules 2010 CAFCASS workers are required to compile a report for the court outlining what they believe is best for the children involved in the case. This report will be completed once the CAFCASS officer has had a chance to investigate the current situation surrounding the child. This may involve the CAFCASS officer observing the child in their current living situation and with both parents, and speaking to the child in order to better understand their wishes.
According to their website “CAFCASS’ professionally qualified social work staff, called Family Court Advisers (FCAs), work exclusively in the family courts”. They tackle cases where “children are subject to an application for care or supervision proceedings by social services (public law); adoption applications (public law); and were parents who are separating or divorcing can’t agree on arrangements for their children (private law)”
Whilst I have yet to encounter CAFCASS in my day to day career here at Stowe Family Law LLP, I doubt this will continue. I have been offered the opportunity to work on a couple of child law cases alongside my work on separate financial proceedings cases and I thus imagine some of my forthcoming posts will be geared toward this area of law, an area of law that I am extremely interested in.
In other news my colleague, Hayley, made it through her marathon and in to work yesterday. She successfully raised a nice chunk of money for the Little Lamb Appeal, £100 of which came from Stowe Family Law LLP.