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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

12 JUN 2007

The Protocol: management and monitoring of delay

Rhiannon Davies and Fayyaz Afzal, New Walk Chambers, Leicester. Although the Protocol for Judicial Case Management in Public Law Children Act Cases [2003] 2 FLR 719 sets a guideline of 40 weeks for the conclusion of care cases it is clear that this goal is not being achieved in all cases. Delay is inimical to the welfare of the child and the issue of avoiding it has continued to dominate discussions within the family justice system.

This article reviews the current proposals for the management of delay within public law proceedings, including whether it would be beneficial to amend the Protocol to require an express application to be made to extend the time limit of a case beyond the 40 weeks, whether there should be enhanced powers of judicial case management to keep matters on a strict timetable, the suggestion that pre-proceedings statutory guidance is issued to local authorities, and the recommendation that family group conferences be put on a statutory footing. Can lessons be learned from other legal fields? For the full article see June [2007] Fam Law.

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