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Single Family Court becomes a reality

The 22nd of April saw the introduction of a number of major reforms to the family justice system.

These reforms follow the independent Family Justice Review, chaired by David Norgrove in 2011, which found the family justice system was no system at all.

The review revealed that vulnerable and damaged children who were meant to be protected were having their ‘futures undermined’ by excessive delays, with care and supervision cases taking an average of 56 weeks. This seriously harmed children’s chances of finding a permanent home and potentially damaged their development, as well as causing them distress.

The Government has acted on the 2011 Report. The family justice system has gone through a period of significant and wide-ranging reform, including a major reduction of delays in care cases to an average of 33 weeks.

The reforms that came into effect on the 22nd April include:

  • The introduction of the new Family Court in England and Wales with a simpler single system and a network of single application points making it easier for the public to navigate.
  • New child arrangements orders that will encourage parents to focus on the child’s needs rather than what they see as their own ‘rights’.
  • Compulsory family mediation information meetings so separating couples must consider alternatives to the harmful and stressful court battles when resolving financial matters and arrangements for child contact.

Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes said:

“For too long children have suffered from excessive delays and confrontational court battles. Our reforms will keep families away from negative effects of battles or delays in court and make sure that when cases do go to court they happen in the least damaging way.”

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If you need specialist advice on any family law matter, including issues involving children, then call us on 0151 909 5811 or click here to make an online enquiry.

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