The FJC Interdisciplinary Conference, or 'Dartington Lite' as the President referred to it in his closing speech, took place in London on Friday, 7 February 2014.
The conference, entitled ‘Family Justice redefined?', considered the changing nature of family justice following reforms, both those already in place and those that are anticipated, as well as access to justice in particular.
The aim of the conference was to assemble a uniquely qualified group of experts, drawn from the many professions involved in the work of the family justice system, to debate the effects on individuals of the reforms, and how the courts can continue to provide justice.
The conference was divided into a morning and afternoon sitting, each featuring a general discussion followed by three parallel plenary sessions. The speakers, which included senior members of the judiciary, senior academics and some of the most highly regarded practitioners, were eloquent, informative and passionate in providing real insights into their respective topics.
Highlights included Joanna Miles presenting some of the findings from a recent research study due to appear in (March Family Law), the Hon Mr Justice Cobb discussing the forthcoming Child Arrangements Programme and Catherine Lee, Director General, Law & Access to Justice Group, MoJ, setting out the Government context to the reforms in terms of family justice and legal aid.
Delegates were provided with thought provoking material throughout the day. They were told that of the 572 applications for exceptional funding, only six have been granted by the LAA since April 2013; that LiPs have nearly doubled from 19% to 30% since LASPO came into force; and that there is research indicating that outcomes for long-term foster care are as good as adoption.
The Conference was a huge success and Jordans are proud to have been a part of it. As the President rightly pointed out in his closing remarks, although the conference might have been ‘Lite' by name, it was heavy and inspiring in its content.
The Interdisciplinary Conference papers will be published in May, in a special issue of Family Law. For more information on how you can subscribe, please visit the journal website.