Jake Richards, 9 Gough ChambersThis article argues that the suspension on prison visits during this period and the deficiency of measures to mitigate the impact of this on family life and to protect...
Meta Title :President of the Family Division issues statement on cross-examination of vulnerable people
Meta Keywords :family law, vulnerable witness, practice direction 12J, mr justice cobb, reform
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Jan 3, 2017, 04:10 AM
Article ID :113532
On 30 December 2016, Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division issued a statement on cross-examination of vulnerable people. The statement reads as follows:
'I have been raising since 2014 the pressing need to reform the way in which vulnerable people give evidence in family proceedings. I have made clear my view that the family justice system lags woefully behind the criminal justice system.
I have expressed particular concern about the fact that alleged perpetrators are able to cross-examine their alleged victims, something that, as family judges have been pointing out for many years, would not be permitted in a criminal court. Reform is required as a matter of priority. I would welcome a bar. But the judiciary cannot provide this, because it requires primary legislation and would involve public expenditure. It is therefore a matter for ministers. I am disappointed by how slow the response to these issues has been and welcome the continuing efforts by Women’s Aid to bring these important matters to wider public attention.
I am currently considering the review of Practice Direction 12J undertaken by Mr Justice Cobb, who met with Women’s Aid during the course of his review. I expect to make decisions on the review early in the New Year.'