President’s ‘View’ 13: The process of reform - an update

President’s ‘View’ 13: The process of reform - an update

The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has set out the next steps in the on-going process of reform. Key aspects are:

Working Groups

The Financial Remedies Working Group chaired by Mostyn J and Cobb J has produced its first report, dated 31 July 2014. The Children and Vulnerable Witnesses Working Group chaired by Hayden J and Russell J has produced its first report, also dated 31 July 2014.

The work of the Family Justice Council Working Group chaired by Roberts J, carrying forward the Law Commission’s recommendation that authoritative guidance on ‘needs’ be produced by the Family Justice Council, is well advanced. The President will publish its report as soon as it is available.

Transparency

The President has published a consultation paper: Transparency - the next steps, as foreshadowed in his last ‘View’ and encourages everyone with an interest in this important topic to let him have their observations. Responses should be sent to Andrew Shaw, by email to Andrew.shaw@judiciary.gsi.gov.uk.

The Family Justice Young People’s Board

The President has drawn attention to the work of the Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) and the importance of listening to their highly relevant and often thought-provoking views. See here for the speech of the Family Justice Minister, Simon Hughes, the FJYPB’s second annual conference took place on 24 July 2014 when he announced the government’s commitment that children and young people involved in family court proceedings will have access to judges to make their views and feelings known. The President has expressed his support for the government initiative and is working with the FJYPB to make a reality of the vision set out in their draft National Charter for Child Inclusive Family Justice.

Experts

The pilot scheme in relation to DNA and hair-strand testing for substance abuse is now up and running in the Bristol and Taunton DFJ areas. All the reports are that the pilot is progressing well. The President hopes it will validate the

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About the author:

Geraldine is Head of LexisPSL Family. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1992 and was in practice for 15 years, most recently as a partner and head of the family team at Hart Brown, a large Surrey firm.

Geraldine writes for Butterworths Family Law Service and is a past editor of the Resolution Review. She has been published in the New Law Journal, the Law Society Gazette and the District Judges’ Bulletin as well as in the national press including the Times and the Telegraph.

When in practice she was a member of the Law Society Family and Children Panels, and an accredited Resolution Specialist with a focus on advanced financial provision and pensions. A past Resolution regional secretary and press officer, Geraldine also contributed chapters to the Resolution publications, International Aspects of Family Law (3rd Edition 2009) and The Modern Family (2012).