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Jonathan Butler, Barrister, India Buildings Chambers, Liverpool
In this article, Jonathan Butler explains what community law is and how it may be relevant to family law practice. The starting point for what has become known as 'community care law' can be traced back to the report of Sir William Beveridge (1942), which framed the foundations for the modern welfare state. That comprised the Education Act 1944, the National Insurance Act 1946, the National Health Service Act 1946, the Children Act 1948 and the National Assistance Act 1948. Over the past 50 years, the replacements of these original statutes, and the additions to them, have grown almost beyond reckoning, and have been supplemented by Department of Health Guidance, a vast body of case-law and various Local Authority Circulars (LACs). To make matters more difficult, the manner in which all of these interact with each other has been rather ad hoc and it has been up to the courts, and practitioners, to try to interpret the legislation in order to form a coherent whole. The interaction between those statutes, case-law and family law practice will be almost exclusively (but not entirely) confined to proceedings within Part IV of the Children Act 1989 and particularly those involving disabled children, and/or disabled adults.
For the full article, see April  Family Law journal.
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