In his Eleventh View from the President’s Chambers the President of the Family Division stated that the 22 April 2014 marked ‘the largest reform of the family justice system any of us have seen or will see in our professional lifetimes’.
As well as the implementation of the final version of the Public Law Outline, the Child Arrangements Programme and the introduction of the Single Family Court, some of the key provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014 came into force.
The new statute is far-reaching and aims to give greater protection to vulnerable children. It has ramifications for all family practitioners both legally and practically. The requirement for prospective parties to litigation to attend MIAMs and the new child arrangements orders may be seen by some to constitute ‘old wine in new bottles’ but the reforms do not stop there. All family lawyers (both private and public) must be familiar with the new provisions, the terminology and their practical consequences.
Whilst the changes are manifesting themselves in different ways as they ‘bed in’, this article explores the key provisions of the 2014 Act and the practical impact for family lawyers immediately following the Act's introduction.