Family Justice Review: Final report
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 August 2012 09:36
February 2012 -Family Justice Review Update - Government reneges on promises made in manifestos
When will the government keep to its promise of more rights for grandparents with no contact with their grandchildren? says grandparent charity
By changing the law to enable fathers to get improved contact with their children following divorce, the government is set to overturn the main finding of an independent official review into family justice conducted by economist David Norgrove, which reported in November. He concluded that it would be too onerous for judges to ensure greater equality of access. But the government does not agree and set up a working group involving five ministers to review the 1989 Children's Act to get the law changed. More
This final report is welcomed in the main especially regarding the introduction of a single family court and specialist family judges, and the decisions to expand the Family Drugs and Alcohol Court and strengthen the role of Independent Reviewing Officers.
However, when it comes to grandparents seeking contact with their grandchildren, we welcome the fact that the key role of grandparents are acknowledged but are concerned there is no change when it comes to seeking contact. Grandparents will still have to resort to costly and lengthy court proceedings if they are denied contact with their grandchildren. The report says
“We recognise the importance to children of relationships with their grandparents and recommend that this be emphasised in the process to come to an agreement about their future care.
.... However we continue to feel that the requirement for grandparents to seek leave of the court before making an application is not overly burdensome and should remain."
However Iain Duncan Smith has said he will ‘push’ for more rights. We hope you will consider writing to him with your concerns about this, urging change.
If you want to write to Iain please email email@example.com or send direct to Iain Duncan Smith MP at Westminster.
Family Justice Review: Interim Report
Some of the key recommendations for grandparents and families include:
• The creation of a Family Justice Service
• Children and young people should as early as possible in a case be supported to be able to make their views known
• The creation of a single family court, with a single point of entry, instead of the current three tiers of court.
• The Family Justice Service should be responsible for procuring publicly funded mediation and support for contact
• Parents should be encouraged to develop a Parenting Agreement to set out arrangements for the care of their children post-separation
• Local authorities need to reduce delay in care proceedings
• alternatives to some current court processes should be developed and extended (including Family Group Conferencing and formal mediation approaches)
Overall the recommendations aim to bring greater coherence through organisational change and better management, make the system more able to cope with current and future pressures, reduce duplication of scrutiny and to divert more issues away from court.
The Family Justice Review's interim report sets out proposals to tackle problems faced by the family justice system.
READ: The Grandparents’ Association’s Response to the Interim Report
Responses will feed into the final report, published in the autumn of this year.
Source: Ministry of Justice: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/family-justice-review.htm 31.03.11
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