What is a social work chronology?

27 September 2013

His Honour Judge Clifford Bellamy, Designated Family Judge for Leicester:

A good social work chronology is of immense assistance to the judge. It provides the judge with a route-map through the relevant background history of the case, an overview of why the case has come to court and how it has got there. It can be an invaluable tool in assisting the judge to write her judgment. The chronology is, therefore, a very important document.

Like the budget deficit, the size of social work chronologies has grown substantially in recent years. As with the budget deficit, so too with social work chronologies, urgent corrective action is needed. Social work chronologies need to be shorter - not a bit shorter but a lot shorter.

In this article Judge Bellamy explains what a social work chronology is and what it is for. He illustrates the point by taking an extract from an actual social work chronology and showing how it can be shortened in order to increase its usefulness. The article contains suggestions as to the kind of information that should be included in a social work chronology and the kind of information that should not be included.

The full version of this article appears in the October 2013 issue of Family Law.

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