Judicial inconsistency and the family court system
08 JAN 2007
In an unusual perspective on the family court system, the author, a solicitor, recounts his experience of a contact application in respect of his grandchild, after the death of his son. The application made its way through four different hearings before four different judges before it was abandoned. Examining the features of the things that went wrong in the case, the author identifies an inconsistency in approach to the various issues including leave to apply for a contact order, jurisdiction to order conciliation hearings and the issue of delay. In this case the fact of having four different judges also caused serious difficulties in itself. Considering the relationship between conciliation within the court system and mediation outside it, the need is identified for rationalisation and development of mediation and conciliation in family cases. The system appears to have the resources required to function successfully, but the contention is that there are serious flaws in the organisation and application of those resources. For the full article see August  Fam Law.