A week in family law
Statistics regarding the incidence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in England, for the period from July to September 2017, have been published by the NHS. During that period there were 1,760 individual women and girls who had an attendance where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken. These accounted for 2,205 attendances reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken. This represents a slight fall since the previous quarter. There were 1,060 newly recorded women and girls between July 2017 and September 2017. This was also slightly lower than the previous quarter.
Commenting on the figures Chair of the Advisory Board for the National FGM Centre Anita Lower said:
“While it is encouraging that newly recorded cases of FGM have fallen slightly since the previous quarter, it is still concerning that there were more than 1,000 such cases, including 15 involving girls under the age of 18 and 20 cases where the procedure was undertaken in the UK … The Centre’s pioneering prevention and intervention work is having an effective impact on reducing FGM by modelling good practice, sharing expert knowledge and building trusting relationships with families and communities with which they are engaged.”
Women’s Aid, the domestic abuse charity, has published its latest ‘Femicide Census’ report, summarising findings on cases of the 113 ‘femicides’ (defined as ‘murders of women because they are women’) committed in 2016. Key findings of the report included that 69 per cent of those women were killed by a current or former intimate partner, 75 per cent of them were killed at their own home, or the home they shared with the perpetrator, and 77 per cent of women killed by their ex-partner or ex-spouse were killed within the first year that followed their separation.
Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“More needs to be done to address men’s fatal violence against women, as once again the Femicide Census reveals fatalities not as isolated incidents but as part of a repeated pattern of male violence against women. Shockingly, in 2016, over two-thirds of women killed by a man were killed by a current or former intimate partner; 83 per cent of these women were killed at their own home or the home they shared with the perpetrator.”
Perhaps the highest profile divorce in London at the moment, and certainly the one with the longest case name, is that between His Royal Highness Louis Xavier Marie Guillaume Prince of Luxembourg, Prince of Nassau and Prince of Bourbon-Parma and his wife, Her Royal Highness Tessy Princess of Luxembourg, Princess of Nassau and Princess of Bourbon-Parma. The case went before Mr Justice MacDonald in the High Court recently, when he made a reporting restriction order in favour of the prince, after the princess sought to make certain details of the case public, in order to defend herself against “what she submits has been deeply hurtful, tendentious and wholly inaccurate coverage of her within the context [the] proceedings”. Despite having some sympathy for the princess, who he felt had been badly treated by some sections of the media, Mr Justice MacDonald found that “the proper administration of justice” dictated that the order should be made. Whether the princess will be given an opportunity to ‘clear her name’ at some point in the future, we will have to wait and see.
Cafcass has published its latest figures for care applications and private law demand, for November 2017. In that month the service received a total of 1,228 care applications. This figure represents a five per cent decrease compared with those received in November 2016, but is the second-highest monthly total for a November on record. As to private law demand, Cafcass received a total of 3,811 new private law cases. This is a nine per cent increase compared with those received in November 2016 and is the highest demand for the month of November since 2012.
And finally, it’s quarterly statistics time again. The Ministry of Justice has released quarterly statistics for, amongst other things, the Family Court, and legal aid. If you want the details, you can find the Family Court statistics here, and the legal aid statistics here. All I will say is that they don’t make great reading, with the former showing that in only 19 per cent of cases in the quarter did both parties have legal representation, and the latter showing that Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) were down by five per cent compared to the previous year, and currently stand at just over a third of the level prior to the abolition of legal aid for most private law family matters. So much for the government’s flagship policy to ‘replace’ legal aid with mediation.
Have a good weekend.