Monday, August 24, 2009

Book & Blawg

For anyone representing themselves in England & Wales the book Do Your Own Divorce by John Bolch of Family Lore is now in print. As part of the Insite Law Magazine free online resources project, the first chapter An Introduction to Family Law has now gone up.

Meanwhile as Scottish Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill, is facing a little bother with the Americans over his decision to free the Lockerbie bomber Lucy Reed of Pink Tape is hosting transatlantic Blawg Review #226.


McKenzie Friend Petition: Recent Submissions

The Scottish Parliament's Petition Committee has recently received submissions for Petition 1247 from Consumer Focus Scotland, the Civil Justice Committee of the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates and Ian Hanger QC (the original McKenzie Friend) for Petition 1247. Petition 1247, coincidentally by Stewart Mackenzie,   calls for the introduction of a McKenzie Friend facility in the Scottish Courts. A McKenzie Friend being someone in England & Wales (and some other jurisdictions) who provides a litigant in person with support, covering tasks such as taking notes, providing moral support and giving them advice as to how to pursue the case. This can include giving advice in court, for example in terms of questions to ask or procedures to be followed.

The Civil Justice Committee of the Law Society of Scotland said it does not see a 'strong driving requirement' for the introduction of a Mackenzie friend facility in the Scottish courts as the current system allows a judge to consider whether or not it is appropriate for a litigant to have the assistance of a lay representative on a case by case basis.

Ian Hanger QC, writes the Australian experience has been that it has worked successfully and urges the Scottish Parliament to permit the appearance of the McKenzie Friend. He also states that McKenzie Friends should not be entitled to charge any fee for services and to do so, in Australia, would be breaching the Legal Services Acts. This certainly is not the case in England & Wales where some McKenzie Friends do charge a fee.


Holidays & Fairs

Due to holidays, weddings, BBQs, Festivals etc and a get fit campaign I have neglected my blog and emails for the last 6 weeks or so. Sorry, it's a bit late now for this year but Nick Woodall of the Centre For Separated Families sent me a link to a mailing offering separated parents tips on coping with the summer holidays. It's worth a read and bearing in mind for the next school holiday.

Also Suzy Miller of the Starting Over Show has left a comment on this post and the next Starting Over Show which focuses on starting over and rebuilding healthy lives after divorce will be in London on 7 March and Brighton 28 March 2010. This will provide an opportunity to get free legal, financial and life coaching advice.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brandon Muir: Government Press Release

Following on from the previous post Scottish Children's Minister Adam Ingram has requested that copies of the reviews on the death of Brandon Muir are circulated to all of Scotland’s child protection committees to ensure that the recommendations and lessons were shared with all child protection agencies and staff. Calls for the Scottish Government to legislate to ensure that more children are taken into care, and sooner, to prevent them being put at risk were rejected by Mr Ingram. Legislating for every eventuality would be an impossible task he said.

Scottish Government Ministers also announced that:

* All national recommendations from today's reports will be taken forward as part of the national review of child protection guidance which is already underway and which will be published next year

* A new national child protection co-ordinator is to be appointed to work with the country's 30 child protection committees to drive up standards of care and support for vulnerable children. The expert will be tasked with working with local authorities to implement and embed best practice on child protection, building stronger local professional networks and improving joint working between areas

* The UK's first hub of child protection expertise - the Multi-Agency Resource Service (MARS) - has now begun its work at the University of Stirling, helping Scottish local authorities and their partners work through complex child protection cases and provide enhanced support for professionals in this field to better safeguard the needs of children at risk

* The Scottish Government is in the process of establishing a new national Modernising Community Nursing Board to support NHS Boards in improving the quality of community nursing services. This will help address the national recommendation relating to community nursing

Full Press Release Source Scottish Government 19 August 2009


Brandon Muir: Independent Review

An independent review into the death of Dundee toddler Brandon Muir released yesterday has identified weaknesses in the way the authorities attempted to safeguard him from harm. The two-part review consisted of an independent inquiry into the events leading up to Brandon’s death, conducted by former Chief Constable of Fife Constabulary Peter Wilson, and a significant case review undertaken by independent social work consultant Jimmy Hawthorn.

Key points in the final days of Brandon;

• Brandon Muir and his sibling had been living with their mother at the home of her parents in Charleston for almost four months up until the point when Heather Boyd established a relationship with Robert Cunningham and moved back with him to her flat in Douglas. She removed Brandon from her parents’ home to live with her and Cunningham on 26 February and his sibling on 1 March 2008.

• The grandparents immediately raised their concerns with Social Work.

• Social Workers who had a previous knowledge of Heather and her children through her office appointment in November 2007 and her attendance at the Family Support Centre, became concerned about her change of attitude, and convened an urgent meeting of child protection partners. (28th February 2008)

• The meeting concluded that an urgent case conference should be convened (set for 18th March 2008), but that there were no immediate grounds for removing the children at that time. There were a number of contacts and visits to the family by social work and health professionals in the intervening period, and Brandon was voluntarily brought by his mother to have his gait checked by the family GP. No significant medical concerns were identified or recorded.

• Brandon Muir died on 16th March 2008 following a violent assault by Robert Cunningham.

• The Review concludes that the assault on Brandon Muir by Robert Cunningham which proved to be fatal, could not have been predicted, and that in the short period when Brandon was living with his mother and Robert Cunningham there was little opportunity for the authorities to prevent the fatal assault on Brandon.

• Although it later became known that H had been taking drugs and had been involved in prostitution, this had never come to the attention of any of the agencies she was involved with.

The Review found that professionals involved had quickly responded to the emerging risk to the family as it was known, and had initiated appropriate steps to consider their needs. However, it was revealed that there were a number of factors affecting the leadership, resourcing, and practice of child protection in Dundee at that time. Some of these matters were identified and addressed as a result of early internal review work, others have been identified and addressed in consequence of the Joint Inspection of Child Protection in Dundee. A number of recommendations and observations were made aimed at further strengthening the child protection arrangements.

Full Review (pdf) Source Dundee Children and Young Persons Protection Committee 19 August 2009


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008 © Rosemary Slessor

Back to TOP