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Barrister, KCH Chambers:
The welfare principle lies at the heart of the statutory regime of the Children Act 1989 and, as is oft-recited, is the 'paramount consideration' in any proceedings involving children under the legislation. With the government now consulting on an amendment to the welfare principle to include reference to shared parenting, the role of welfare in the family court warrants re-examination. Whilst today, in legal parlance, its meaning is strongly aligned to commendable and incontestable notions of the 'well-being' and 'best interests' of a child, that cannot mask the debate that still rages as to the underlying value of the 'welfare principle' as the guiding concern in family proceedings. This article considers briefly some of the criticisms of the welfare principle and draws on a recent case from Romford County Court in support of the Children Act's most fundamental concept.
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