Manifesto for Family Justice

This morning (24th October) the FLBA together with the Bar Council and an alliance of other organisations publishes a Manifesto for Family Justice.


The alliance, which comprises the Association of Lawyers for Childrenthe Bar CouncilCAADAthe Children’s Commissionerthe Family Law Bar AssociationGingerbreadLibertythe National Federation of Women’s InstitutesResolution and Women’s Aid, has called upon the Government to:

·         Protect vulnerable women and children

·         Listen to the experienced practitioners who work in family justice and who understand that mediation, whilst beneficial in many cases, will not resolve many others, and

·         Consider with care whether the decision to remove legal aid from private family law cases will save the Government money or, in fact, cost more and lead to poor outcomes.


The Manifesto has been sent to all Members of Parliament as the House of Commons prepares to consider further the changes to legal aid proposed in the LASPO Bill.


The Manifesto for Family Justice can be found here, and it is also covered in the Guardian this morning.

8 thoughts on “Manifesto for Family Justice

  1. The government have it right that Legal Aid for Private family law cases is counter productive and for many involved in the system, they would use words such as an abomination.

    To provide Legal Aid to recalcitrant mothers (generally) to delay and frequently terminate a child’s relationship with it’s other parent is simply not acceptable any more.

    The alliance of organisations mentioned who have come out with this special pleading are the vested interests that benefit from mass tax payers monies and the removal of fathers (generally) from children’s lives.

    Nothing in the governments plans stops the protection of vulnerable women and MEN. However, it does stop the mass exploitation of children who are used in Private family law cases as a meal ticket with no thought for their needs.

  2. One hopes that MPs will listen, alas when I raised my own concerns, very similar to the organisations listed in your article it was a case of “oh dear” “sorry” followed by a “I will look at that and I know Mr Djanogly”. In fairness to my MP she did forward my written concerns on the Mr D. I even got a response! However given the content of Mr D’s response, which missed the point, well all of the points, I fear that HMG is just going to rail road this through and ignore the views of everyone. Given that both sides of the coalition state they support families and children it really beggars belief that no changes are proposed to the bill. As for DV I am not sure which planet HMG is on but I fear for the consequences of the proposed changes.

  3. The people behind this ‘manifesto’ clearly can’t see how very self-serving it looks or how emotive and unpleasantly sexist it is. It is a very predictable exercise in special pleading from the usual suspects of lawyers and feminists. Why don’t they make the effort to come up with an original solution? Surely they know there isn’t any money left to keep things as they are? It is also absurd to call something so brief – 7 short paragraphs – a manifesto. And why the bizarre picture of the RCJ looking like some seedy nightclub, lit up like the entrance to a vast womb? If Djanogly has any sense (unlikely) this particular begging letter will end up in the bin.

    • I think if you read the whole manifesto (which I admit is short but there are good reasons for this not least the short attention span of MPs) you will find that aside from the headline it talks in terms of victims and perpetrators not men and women. It is of course a manifesto of a number of groups whose purpose is upon the protection of women, and it is the case that whilst there are many male victims of dv the primary group likely to be adversely affected by the aspects of the proposals complained about are women. From an equality impact assessment perspective the issue is that women and vulnerable children are likely to be disproportionately affected. So whilst I take the point that there is a broader issue and that individual male victims will be similarly affected I would take issue with the suggestion that the manifesto is sexist – it is focused.

      I’m not sure that your criticism of the photo nor the gynaecological metaphor assist your argument.

  4. Nor is it accurate that ‘there isn’t any money left’. Millions can suddenly be found to pay LAs to collect the rubbish every week, but not to allow individuals access to justice.

  5. Well, I read it again, and still feel that if a document were to be produced by “an alliance of organisations which represents the rights and needs of men, children, families and victims of domestic abuse” calling upon Government to “protect vulnerable men and children from the
    risk of harm” there would be an outcry. The subtext is, as usual, that family court applications by men put women and children at risk. The definition of domestic violence used by the Home Office, which this document extols, portrays men as the only perpetrators of DV.

    I will concede, however, that the presentation of the RCJ as a seraglio is less the fault of your profession – the lawyers – and more the fault of mine – the lighting designers. God knows, the place needs a bit of livening up – perhaps Hale could advise.

  6. […] Tweet var addthis_product = 'wpp-262'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};By Lucy Reed From: Pink Tape: This morning (24th October) the FLBA together with the Bar Council and an alliance of other […]

  7. You are right Nick, but I think this Manifesto is a lot more sinister than you or I (or most) can imagine.

    If the government wasn’t concerned with votes, it would probably terminate its funding to the organizations that put this Manifesto together too.

    On ethical grounds, one might demand that this is done, for many of these organizations promote gender hatred.

    See Karen Woodall’s blog for excellent snippets of criticism, which ring entirely true, regarding Gingerbread and Women’s Aid. These organizations, like solicitors, prey on separating mothers, and poor fuel on what could have been an amicable separation.

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