Sir Andrew McFarlane delivered the keynote address to the Families Need Fathers Conference on 25 June 2018, highlighting his desire to assist families to achieve a reasonable and child-focused solution to private law disputes.
The President-Designate of the Family Division recalled his membership of the Family Justice Review team in 2010/11. He described his work to understand the problems then inherent in the functioning of the private side of the child law jurisdiction, and to subsequently develop the review’s recommendations. A key element of Sir Andrew's recommendations was to ‘make parental responsibility work’ by enabling parents to reach agreements, while ensuring the child’s welfare remains paramount.
Following his appointment as President, Sir Andrew will be making a series of visits to Family Court centres, magistrates, and other family law professionals and users in autumn 2018, in order to gain a detailed understanding of the operation of the private law programme, as it is experienced by all users, and to assess what works well and what needs to changed.
Sir Andrew also spoke on three specific ‘current’ issues:
- domestic abuse;
- alienation, eg an abused partner influencing the mind of a child against the other parent; and
- possible future developments.
The speech can be read in full here