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The President sets out need for cultural change

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7th View from the President's Chambers published.

  • The President has highlighted the need for cultural change in the family courts in his latest View on the progress of reform.

    From a starting point that 'mere antiquity of practice is no good reason for perpetuating what is no longer relevant or justifiable' he identifies several areas where attitudes need to change.

    His most strident comments are reserved for the 

    "slapdash, lackadaisical and on occasions almost contumelious attitude which still far too frequently characterises the response to orders made by family courts"

    and which he sees as part of a deeply rooted culture in the family courts that will no longer be tolerated. He also comments on the lack of progress in private children law cases, as evidenced by Lord Justice McFarlane's recent judgment in Re A, and on the unnecessary creep of assertion in advocacy, citing Lord Judge's recent observations in R v Farooqi that 

    "we deprecate the increasing habit of comment or assertion whether in examination in chief, but more particularly in cross-examination. The place for comment or assertion, provided a proper foundation has been laid or fairly arises from the evidence, is during closing submissions"

    On a more positive note he hails the success of the Triborough Care Proceedings Pilot and is glad to report that the DfE has commissioned the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust to support the development of the wider use of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court model and meet the challenge of the 26 week time limit and fit with the PLO.

    The View can be downloaded from the Judiciary website here.


Published: 28/10/2013

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