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The interim report of the Children and Vulnerable Witnesses Working Group (CVWWG) has been published setting out its initial recommendations and its intention that proposed rule changes should be in place by January 2015.
What is the CVWWG?
The CVWWG, chaired by Hayden J and Russell J, was set up by the President of the Family Division following the major family law reforms in April 2014. The CVWWG was tasked with the following aims set out in the 12th View from the President’s Chambers:
Initial recommendations and proposals
The CVWG has made recommendations as to the progress of reform, aimed at equipping judges to identify and handle vulnerable parties and witnesses, and advocates to handle and question such parties and witnesses, including:
When will the reforms come into effect?
It is intended that the rule changes will be in place by January 2015. The CVWG is due to meet in early October when the draft rules can be discussed.
The consultation process
In his 12th View the President said
‘The Working Party will need to build on the experiences of judges in the Family Division and the Family Court who have had to deal with these issues, particularly in the more recent past. But it is also vital that the Working Party taps into and incorporates in its thinking both the highly relevant and thought-provoking views of the Family Justice Young People’s Board and the inter-disciplinary expertise of the Family Justice Council.’
Hayden J is to liaise with Family Division judges and consult with them on both aspects of work being undertaken, children and communication with the judges hearing their cases and making the decisions about them; and vulnerable parties and witnesses.
Preliminary consultation as set out above will take place through the Family Justice Council on the drafts after that meeting with wider consultation taking place afterwards when more refinement of the drafts has taken place. Russell J will liaise with Family Justice Council.
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Claire is a member of the LexisPSL Family team and has almost twenty years of experience as a family solicitor. She specialises in all aspects of private family work, including resolving issues relating to property, money, and children arising on relationship breakdown between married and unmarried couples.
Claire worked as a family solicitor at Hart Brown solicitors in Surrey. She was an accredited specialist with Resolution with particular expertise in the areas of advanced financial provision and pensions. She was also on the Law Society Family Law Panel.
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