Civil partnership conversion, a data breach and more

family law


A report analysing family court data to explore links between adverse family experiences and proven youth offending has been published by the Ministry of Justice. A key finding of the report was that those in contact with the public law system were more likely to offend and commit multiple offences between the ages of 10 and 17 than those of the equivalent age group in the general population. They also, on average, started offending earlier than offenders of the same age in the general population. Findings from the evidence review suggest that the link between offending and public law may be explained to a large extent by shared risk factors, including family poverty and parental neglect or abuse, and wider evidence indicates that when children have been taken into local authority care, placement type and instability have been linked to higher offending rates. There is, however, concern about unnecessary criminalisation of children in care homes and this may explain, in part, the higher offending levels for this group. All, I’m afraid, rather depressingly predictable.

It has been reported that France is not recognising same-sex marriages converted from civil partnerships. Pink News, the paper for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, says that at least a dozen same-sex couples have been caught in an impasse because France does not recognise their English marriages. The paper cites the case of Leandro Barreto and François Souyri, who entered a civil partnership in 2008. They subsequently converted it to a marriage and now wish to relocate to France with their adopted son. However, in France legally-recognised marriages must have had a wedding ceremony with witnesses, and the marriage certificate must reflect the date of the wedding itself. Consequently, a converted marriage is incompatible with French law and will not be recognised in France, and nor will the adoption of their son be recognised. Remarkably, French officials have apparently advised the couple to divorce and re-marry!

The police recorded 511,319 domestic abuse-related offences in the year ending June 2017, an 18 per cent increase on the 431,768 offences recorded the previous year, according to the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales. Included in the rise are offences of coercive or controlling behaviour in an intimate or family relationship, which became a new criminal offence as part of the Serious Crime Act 2015 and came into force on 29 December 2015. Of the 38 forces for which data was available, 4,246 offences of coercive control were recorded in the year ending March 2017. However, The Office for National Statistics, which published the figures, says that it is important to note that the increase is likely to be driven by improvements in crime recording by the police. As well as general improvements, they say, the police may have improved their identification of which offences are domestic abuse-related and more victims may be coming forward to report these crimes. Still, more than half a million offences in just one year is pretty horrendous.

Newcastle County Council faces legal action by at least 35 adoptive families after leaking details of thousands of children and their adoptive parents. Apparently, and remarkably, the names, addresses and birthdates of the children were included in a spreadsheet wrongly attached to an email invitation to an annual summer party hosted by the authority. The spreadsheet included information about 2,743 individuals and the email was sent to 77 people. The authority has apparently admitted negligence and apologised for the breach. Rather worrying stuff, and just the latest in a line of such breaches by local authorities.

And finally, armed with the latest research on the link between a person’s profession and their chances of getting divorced, I’m off to set up a divorce shop in my local casino. Not that I know where that is of course…

Have a good weekend.

Image by Hamza Butt via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

John Bolch

John Bolch often wonders how he ever became a family lawyer. He no longer practises, but has instead earned a reputation as one of the UK's best-known family law bloggers.

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