The Family Justice Review Panel, appointed by the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Education, and the Welsh Assembly Government, today launched a "Call for Evidence" so that anyone with an interest in the family justice system can contribute their views on how it can be improved.
As part of a fundamental review of the system announced by the coalition government, views on how the family justice system can do its best to protect children and help families overcome their problems are being sought. The scope of the review will be comprehensive and will include a close examination of how to get the best out of mediation and provide better access rights to non-resident parents and grandparents.
The "Call for Evidence" is seeking views on key areas of the family justice system including how to have a more user-friendly and child-focused system; the best methods of resolving family disputes, using alternatives to legal process, and how the system is governed, managed and funded. Questions the panel is seeking views on include: how can the justice system focus more on helping family members to reach agreement rather than pitting them against each other? How best can the courts working with other agencies support children involved in the care system? And how best can the system provide greater contact rights to non-resident parents and grandparents?
David Norgrove, the chair of the review said:
"The family justice system is vitally important, attempting to resolve some of the most difficult issues in our society. I and my Panel colleagues are determined to help create a better system to serve the needs of those who use it. We are also being challenged to find ways of doing more with less.
We cannot do this alone. The launch of this call for evidence today is the start of a dialogue with all those involved in the system - from the children and families who use these services, to the wide range of professionals.
We are ambitious in what we want to achieve; we would encourage as many people as possible to be ambitious in their responses."