Sarah Higgins, Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP
The decision in Re (B) (a child) (Unnecessary Private Law Applications)  EWFC B44 dealt with the family court’s role in micro managing 'trivial' disputes in relation to children, such as at which junction of the M4 should a child be handed over for contact. In this article, Sarah Higgins explores the issue – that the court does not have the resources to deal with the family disputes which come before it. The article covers various suggestions as to what can be done about this practically, to include mediation, family therapy to try to improve communication, arbitration, and the giving of firm advice by solicitors to their clients. All these remedies involve a financial cost, and to some extent, the parties’ agreement. However, there are some cases in which the parties cannot agree, and a so-called trivial dispute may be important to one or both of the parties and/or the children in the context of the case. There needs to be a mechanism for a decision to be made, such as a fast track system, to avoid the most recalcitrant parent always prevailing.