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The Right Honourable Lord Justice Ryder:
This paper looks at what Ryder LJ describes as the 'change programme' aimed at improving the family justice system both structurally and administratively. It highlights the importance of proportionality, especially so when considering placing a child for adoption without the consent of the parents; and the recent Court of Appeal jurisprudence post Re B (Care Proceedings: Appeal)  UKSC 33,  2 FLR 1075, reported at August  Fam Law 946.
This paper also addresses the serious question of how to provide a fair hearing in a resource limited environment and the particular difficulties that judges face when dealing with private law proceedings when neither party is represented and there is no access to publically funded testing for parentage and drink and drugs safety issues. The paper goes on to conclude that the time has come in private law proceedings to develop an inquisitorial process: one that is fair, proportionate to the issues but directed by the court to meet the needs of the litigants who use it.
The full version of this article appears in the May 2014 Special Issue of Family Law.
The Special Issue contains papers from the recent Family Justice Council Interdisciplinary Conference - Family Justice Redefined? The Conference considered the changing nature of family justice following reforms, both those already in place and those that are anticipated, as well as access to justice in particular, making the Special Issue essential reading in the face of the forthcoming changes.
The Special Issue will be available to purchase as a ePDF. For more information please contact Ash Dickinson at 0117 918 1294.
For all the information regarding the forthcoming family law reforms, visit our new, fully up-to-date Family Law Reform page with all the latest news, analysis, legislation and cases.