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New public appointments to the Family Justice Council

Date:2 SEP 2013

Christina Blacklaws, John Daly, District Judge Gordon-Saker, and Dominic Raeside have been appointed as members of the Family Justice Council for 3 years from August 2013.

Christina Blacklaws is the Director of Family Law and Policy at the Co-operative Legal Services, elected representative for Child Care Law on the Law Society Council, and Chair of Law Society Legal Affairs and Policy Board. John Daly is the Assistant Director of Children's Services at Bolton Council. He was previously Head of Operations for Children's Social Care with Blackburn with Darwen Council Children's Services.

District Judge Liza Gordon-Saker is a District Judge of the Principal Registry of the Family Division, appointed in January 2010. She holds public and private law tickets and sits on the Project Board and Working Group for the merger of the Principal Registry with Inner London Family Proceedings Court as part of the Single Family Court. Dominic Raeside is currently the Head of Mediation at Family Law in Partnership LLP. He has previously been a Team Manager for the National Probation Service, and worked for Cafcass and Surrey Social Services.

The FJC was established in July 2004 to promote an inter-disciplinary approach to family justice as an advisory non-departmental public body. Through consultation and research, the FJC monitors the effectiveness of the family justice system and encourages greater understanding and co-operation between the different agencies in the system. It is chaired by the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby and acts as ‘critical friend' by providing advice to the National Family Justice Board and Government.

The FJC advises on the reforms necessary for continuous improvement, responding to consultations and contributing to the development of Government policy. Recent examples include the Consultation on Standards for Expert Witnesses in the Family Courts of England and Wales, jointly released with MoJ in May 2013, and the contribution to the Judicial Working Group report on Litigants-in-person published in July 2013. It is presently playing a key role in the implementation of the Judicial Proposals for the Modernisation of the Family Justice System, led until recently by Lord Justice Ryder.