What Have Human Rights Done for Family Justice? - Family Law journal

30 JUL 2010

THE HON MR JUSTICE MOYLAN

This article is based on the keynote address to the Resolution Annual Conference 2010.

As Mr Justice Munby (as he then was) notably commented in Re L (Care: Assessment: Fair Trial) [2002] EWHC 1379 (Fam), [2002] 2 FLR 730, at para [150], since the abolition of capital punishment the powers exercised by the family courts are amongst the most drastic available to any court, including as they do the power to remove a child from their parents. However, all the powers exercisable and exercised daily by family courts have considerable significance because of their importance for family life and consequently for our society. The work the family courts undertake plays a central role in supporting and maintaining family life, usually at a time of crisis within the family.

There is no escaping the fact that whilst the volume and complexity of family cases is increasing, we are in financially straightened times. However, the importance of the work you undertake in and outside our courts demands that those areas of family justice which are publicly funded are given a proper share of the available resources so as to ensure that the system operates effectively to the benefit of those families who require legal assistance. It is a demand led service because most of those who require assistance are not there by choice but because circumstances have led them there. The system would not be able to operate without family lawyers. In particular, the pressure on family courts is already considerable but it would become even greater if we found more cases being dealt with by parties themselves. This is not to criticise those who appear in person, it is to acknowledge the simple fact that professional assistance aids the efficient administration of justice.

To read the rest of this article, see August [2010] Family Law journal (link for online subscribers who have logged in). To log on to Family Law journal Online or to request a free trial click here.

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