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The Department for Constitutional Affairs has published a response to its consultation paper Specialisation of Family Magistrates (CP 28/05) published in November 2005, see January  Fam Law 4. The paper invited comments on how sittings for family magistrates might be split between the adult court and family proceedings courts (FPCs), and as to whether magistrates should be able to specialise in family work, a specialisation which would mean magistrates sitting in FPCs would hear only family cases and would have no involvement with adult courts. The paper also proposed that 12 half-day sittings should be the minimum level of sittings in any area of work. However, the overall minimum for those who sit in either the family or youth court alongside the adult court will remain 31 half-days. Most responders agreed with the proposals apart from whether magistrates should be allowed to sit exclusively in the family jurisdiction: 26% felt that magistrates should have the option of specialising in family work while 74% were opposed to the idea. For the full story see March  Fam Law.
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