The LCJ shares his views on the family justice system with the Justice Committee. I don't have the energy to deconstruct this one - it's been a shockingly tiresome day (don't get me started on that). May I be so bold as to summarise my thoughts thus: gross oversimplification of the issues. Separate out the cases where there are "no allegations of child abuse"? Ok, so in fact that probably reduces the total number of cases by about 0.5%. Brilliant. Problem solved. We could practically pay back the deficit with the scale of savings made there.
I think I got out of the wrong side of bed. I had better go back to it before I get proper mardy.
Further to my previous post, I am en route back to the sticks having thrown my two penn'orth in the general direction of the Family Justice Review Panel (I got 'em, right between the eyes). I was somewhat surprised to find that the session was 'private' (and apparently not recorded), and so I will not report it's contents here until clarification on that is received (jokes about the transparency of the family justice system on a postcard please). BUT: in light of this evidence session, can I urge everybody to consider with renewed vigour to PLEASE respond to the review? It is more important and more serious than you may imagine. We 8 lawyers were asked to contribute orally in an hour and a half and, predictably enough for a room full of lawyers with a short time estimate, were falling over each other to respond to the serious points raised - we could not hope to address the issues fully in that format and the written representations will be crucial. Over the next little while I will be posting some blog posts to focus minds on issues which the Review are likely to address. No doubt the FLBA and other associations will be consulting more widely over the summer on the matters discussed today (as far as permitted) in advance of presenting their written representations.
Apologies for the slightly ridiculous cloak and dagger approach. But know this: there are no givens. Change is a comin'.
POST SCRIPT 5 AUG: Although I have not had time to post further, the Panel confirmed that they have no objection to wider discussion of the issues raised for discussion at the evidence session I attended. I will be posting shortly about that.
On Wednesday the Family Justice Review will be taking evidence from the Family Law Bar Association, Association of Lawyers for Children, Law Society and Resolution. I will be hotfooting it from Swansea to Paddington in order to attend, along with Stephen Cobb QC, on behalf of the FLBA. It promises to be an interesting session, notwithstanding that, after some reflection, I have decided not to wear my Wonder Woman outfit.
If you would like to participate in the Review the call for written evidence is open until September. All the blurb along with a long list of questions to get you thinking are available here. I sense this review may well redefine the way we do 'Family Justice' in the years ahead.