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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

25 JUL 2016

Reforming family justice: is the only way Essex?

Reforming family justice: is the only way Essex?

Austerity and LASPO have proved a major threat to access to justice. They also offer a unique opportunity to do things differently within the family justice system. This articles sketches some ideas for the reform of family justice, particularly private law children, drawing heavily on proposals for reform of civil justice as well as existing empirical research about effective interventions in family justice.

The article proposes a three-stage model. Stage 1 envisages an online platform to provide a set of tools to enable individuals to self-diagnose their issue and find solutions without issuing proceedings. If not, Stage 2 provides for conciliation by Cafcass officers for suitable cases.Stage 3 adjudication would be reserved for cases not settling in conciliation as well as cases fast-tracked to adjudication from Stage 2.

These suggestions are based on far greater use of technology, streaming work to those with the appropriate skills and experience and working with what we know about the behaviour of family justice‘customers’. The heavy reliance on getting the technology right, and a digital divide, are real concerns. However, doing nothing and allowing a systemdesigned by and for lawyers to struggle onwards post-LASPO without lawyers is simply not an option.

The full version of this article appears in the July 2016 issue of Family Law. 

Online subscribers can access the article here

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Reforming Family Justice

A Guide to the Family Court and the Children and Families Act 2014

"A large and important book that should be on the shelf of every family lawyer." Sir James Munby

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