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Family Law

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28 NOV 2006

Consent Orders in Contact Cases: a Survey of Resolution Members

Professor Judith Masson, University of Bristol. The Family Justice Council (FJC) was asked by the President of the Family Division to consider and make recommendations on the approach which should be adopted by courts when asked to make a residence or contact order by consent, where domestic violence had been an issue in the case. The context for this request was the critical report by Women's Aid on child homicide during contact, Twenty-nine child homicides (2005) and Lord Justice Wall's inquiry into the extent of involvement of the courts in any of these cases which was published in February 2006 (see [2006] Fam Law 344). Both documents are available on the FJC website at http://www.family-justice-council.org.uk/fjcpubs.htm. Lord Justice Wall identified five cases where the courts had been involved and in three of those the courts had made consent orders for contact.

As part of its examination of those issues the FJC approached Resolution for its agreement and co-operation in conducting a survey of the views and experiences of Resolution members in relation to contact, domestic violence and consent orders. A postal questionnaire was distributed to approximately 5,000 members of Resolution using the DX box system for return to the FJC at the Royal Courts of Justice. The questionnaire was prepared and analysed by Judith Masson with consultation with members of the FJC, family law solicitors and researcher colleagues at Bristol University and the assistance of Mary Krow and Leo Masson. The article looks in detail at the responses to the questionnaire. See December [2006] Fam Law for the full article.

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