I suppose I should blog sommat…

From the wilds of centerparcs our intrepid reporter has this…

Look you. I’ve been up to my eyeballs for weeks and it’s been dull as ditchwater around yur. Sorry.

I feel I should oblige with a post. I’m not feeling mad inspired though. I had a whole host of things I was desperate to write about, but which fell by the wayside as I prioritised clients and cases. Now I can’t recall what they were, or if I can they don’t seem so important. I’m not sure if that is the 2 back to back 75 hour weeks or the shock of my luxurious accommodation in the centerparcs estate (although, as it turns out “luxury” is a relative term, along with “fully fitted kitchen”).

I can tell you this. There is an anxiety building. Rather late, and rather slow burn – but it is there. Over recent weeks I have had a number of pointed emails ranging from gentle pointers towards an item of interest, to a direct request to cover an issue of concern that my correspondent is reluctant to cover themselves. They relate mainly to the direction of travel in relation to adoption policy and in relation to the modernisation programme (in particular 26 weeks and experts), along with the bigger issue of governmental attitude to the family justice system. But I don’t seem much out there by way of direct challenge to what is happening and what is proposed.

You know this people, but it warrants enunciation :

  • Rumblings of discontent will change nothing.
  • Passing the buck to me will change nothing.

Say it now people or forever hold your peace. You are not wrong, but don’t rely on me : I’m only one person. And right now I’m focussed on the lions of Longleat and water rapids. Next week I will be focussing on keeping my head above water in a more mundane sense.

Step up to the plate.

Guest posts welcome.

5 thoughts on “I suppose I should blog sommat…

  1. There’s no connection between you being at Longleat and this? 😉

  2. “You know this people, but it warrants enunciation:

    Rumblings of discontent will change nothing.
    Passing the buck to me will change nothing.”

    Yep agree with that – question is following recent “consultation” processes (which kind of fell on deaf ears) what are those professionals involved with the Family Courts to do?

    You are right to raise these points and correct to state that unless concerns are raised before implementation of changes all that will be left is to tilt at windmills. Its worthwhile pointing people to read the updates from Ryder J on the proposed modernisation of the family justice system – for ease of reference the four reports to date are found here: – http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications-and-reports/reports/family/the-family-justice-modernisation-programme

    It’s also worthwhile pointing people to two speech’s by Ryder J to understand were he is coming from:

    25th Anniversary of the Butterworth’s Family Law Service 2008 – http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/media/speeches/2008/speech-ryder-j-27062008


    Conkerton Memorial Lecture 2008 – http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/media/speeches/2008/speech-ryder-j-30102008

    It’s also worth reminding us all that the above flows from the Family Justice Review – http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/publications/moj/2011/family-justice-review-final-report.pdf and that the Children and Families Bill has been announced, although I have yet to see a draft. The DoE press release is to be found here – education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a00208753/childrens-bill-family-support and makes plain were matters are going. LAPSO is now a hard fact and from April 2013 we have the deep joy of a huge section of Public Funding in family cases gone, probably for good.

    Given the pending changes to primary and secondary legislation that will follow the Bill becoming an Act I would lift the following quotes from Ryder J’s fourth update dated March 2012:

    “During the course of the next year I expect to see the launch of a new court of record: the Family Court, to replace the Family Proceedings Court, the family jurisdiction of the County Court and the general family work heard by High Court Judges.”

    “The court will be a ‘judicially managed’ court and by that I mean that the allocation of work to the judiciary and magistracy, its case management, case progression and the measurement of the success of that judicial process will be for the judiciary.”

    “The new court will have a new emphasis on evidence based good practice. We intend to publish peer reviewed research and good practice guidance in the form of
    ‘Pathways’ It is intended that guidance be given in the form of evidence based plain language pathways which set out the expectations the court has of the parties the expectations the parties should have of the court. The pathways will describe a standard 26-week track and an exceptional track based on the timetable for the child.”

    “In addition, we intend to publish descriptions of services provided by other agencies, including but not limited to:

    • In-court administration (HMCTS)
    • Court social work (Cafcass/Cafcass Cymru)
    • Contact services (NACCC)
    • Safeguarding
    • Testing by commercial organisations
    • Decisions by the LSC.”

    The update even deals with Lips sorry SRP’s:

    “There is a project to identify the court’s expectations of unrepresented parties and vice versa so that cases involving unrepresented parties are not unfairly prejudiced in terms of their process. This will involve the provision of significant new materials to assist both represented parties who appear against those who are unrepresented and unrepresented parties to understand the expectations of the court and to abide by its procedures and practices.”

    And on the use of experts:

    “In order to further reduce the need for expert evidence in both standard and exceptional tracks, we will enlist the help of the Family Justice Council and join with
    Government in the publication of peer reviewed research as to evidence-based good practice. Not only will pathway documents be available giving guidance as to the form and content of materials for use in court, but judges will have available to them research materials which are uncontradicted i.e. generally accepted by a reasonable body of professionals. That would not of course prevent a dispute being heard relating to such materials but it will concentrate minds as to the need for the same in many cases.”

    The times, as they say, are changing.

  3. […] was reading Pink Tape today  http://pinktape.co.uk/family-justice-review/i-suppose-i-should-blog-sommat/  and had a horrible moment of self-recognition. I try to avoid introspection wherever possible, […]

  4. I consider myself told – and in the words of Edmund Burke “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” – not that the FJR is evil, or indeed that I am good, so the quote is more “All that is necessary for inadverently misguided things to triumph is for smart-arses to do nothing”

    But in getting that quote right, I find that he’s just as much against me with this one:-

    It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare.



  5. […] I recently berated unnamed colleagues for their failure to pipe up, albeit gently. This prompted one heartfelt response from another blogger (although he need not have felt my poke was aimed at him since he had already made his views publicly known here). That post was my way of saying “Don’t rely on me to make time to say what you think on your behalf”. But now I have the time I feel I ought myself to step up to the plate as I have urged others to do. I don’t kid myself it will make on jot of difference. We’re all going to hell in a handbasket, but I for one would at least like to be able to say “I told you so”, instead of “I thought as much, but didn’t have the guts to say it at the time”. So… *Slurps a little more wine to achieve the necessary level of disinhibition* […]

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