Is the Family Court System set for a shakeup?

27 June 2013

Mr Justice Ryder has been tasked with producing a response to the recent Family Justice Review that reported on the whole of the family justice system in England and Wales.  That report concluded that there are too many delays in cases that involve children, the system for progressing cases is at times complex, children and families are often left confused by the process, there is low morale, and often children’s views aren’t listened to.  In other words, there is a problem with ‘the system’.

Mr Justice Ryder’s response has fundamentally suggested that there be a new single family court.  Contrary to popular belief, there is not just the one type of court that deals with family matters.  It is hoped that in having a single family court, not only can it enable judges to have greater control of cases, but will also allow them to identify key issues more quickly and ensure timetables are followed.  If timetables aren’t followed, it suggests the person at fault for not complying should be penalised.

One of the main aims of this is to somehow reduce the considerable delay that continues to plague the family courts at times.   By placing the emphasis on the judge having greater control of cases, they will be able to determine what issues need resolving, what evidence is required to help resolve those issues and how that evidence will be tested in court.  It is all about effective case-management.

Quite when or how these recommendations will be implemented is not yet known.  They are very much in their infancy, but are certainly something that have received favourable backing.  Until they are implemented, however, the same problems are likely to persist.

In that situation, greater consideration will have to be given to resolving matters, where possible, outside of the court environment.  To achieve this, our Family Team has perfectly placed experts who are skilled at negotiating and facilitating agreements without involving the court.  If court action is necessary, they are there to ensure you are represented fully and to guide you through the process.

If you have a particular problem, feel free to contact our Family Team for a free initial consultation on 01245 228106 or email