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I spend a lot of time reading family law judgments, loads of them, and since the changes regarding transparency more than ever. Most of the time I read the facts without really taking them in and focus on the law: any significant changes, any contradictions, how does this case fit with those before it? Sometimes the facts jump out at me and I feel some sadness, particularly for those cases involving abuse, neglect, or even the death of a child. I’m conscious that now that I am no longer in practice that I am very much one step removed from the day-to-day stresses of dealing with what is often the worse period of a family client’s life. But even practitioners are a step away from how it must be to have every aspect of your behavior and decisions put under the judicial microscope. And that’s how it should be: to do the best for a family client one needs to have at least an element of professional detachment. It’s the same for judges and I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I have had with judges (at all levels) about the struggling family justice system, creaking under the strain of cuts to funding and an overload of cases in the past few years. How do judges retai
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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).
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