24 April 2014
Family Court Reforms in Place
The Ministry of Justice has announced the introduction of some significant changes to the way in which Court cases involving children will be handled.
It has now implemented the new system, which incorporates new Family Courts to play host to any cases involving children and their families.
The new measures have been hailed by many at the top of the UK justice system who claim that something had to be done to help reduce the lag in time that often causes family based Court cases to become protracted, reports the BBC.
Other aspects involved in the changes include compulsory Mediation sessions with approved professionals for couples who are separating. This will be done with the intention of reducing the impact that is felt by children.
Justice Minister Simon Hughes has shown his support for the changes and expressed his relief that restructuring has taken place with regard to a previous system that he describes as "very dysfunctional".
Latest records show that there are currently an estimated 270,000 family based cases that go through British Courts every year, including everything from domestic abuse to divorce. However, a review that was carried out three years ago found that the lack of resources and urgency in terms of prioritising care and supervision cases meant that on average it takes 56 weeks to resolve them.
More evidence that the welfare of children is at the centre of the measures was provided by president of the Family Division Sir James Munby. He stated that the negative consequences that can come from such delays in resolving cases could extend well beyond a transition to an adult, adding that they could potentially have their "futures undermined".
The time specific aspects of the measures mean that all care and supervision cases must be resolved within six months, something that prevents them from falling down Courts' priority lists as was the case with the previous three tier system.
Family mediation experts will also be asked to only offer advice to parents if it is needed to justly resolve a Court case, as it is hoped this will lead to family relationships that are far more harmonious after resolution.