Call for judicial continuity

Lord Justice Wall, the President of the Family Division, has called for greater “judicial continuity” in family cases and warned of the trauma which separating parents inflict on their offspring.


In a speech to the charity, Families Need Fathers, in Coventry this month, Wall LJ asked whether the family justice system is in need of review.

“The first and critical change which ... needs to be made is to make the system less adversarial. This is more difficult than it sounds,” he said. Parents were harming children during divorce proceedings by using them as “the battlefield” and “the ammunition”.

Wall LJ said he often came across cases which had been dealt with by “as many as nine or ten judges”, with sometimes inconsistent decisions. “In short, there was a total lack of judicial continuity”. This was a case management issue which had to be addressed, he said.
He said mediation will become compulsory in most cases before proceedings can be launched, under the current government, although the details have yet to be worked out.

Meanwhile the MoJ has delayed until late next year a decision on whether to increase media access to family courts.

 

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