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The Things We Say

Date:23 OCT 2006

Gwynn Davis. On 2 May 2006 the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Select Committee held a one-day session in which it revisited the topic of the family courts (by which it actually meant the courts role in private law disputes concerning children). This revisiting occurred some 18 months after the Committee first took a sustained look at this topic (see Fourth Report of Session 2004-05 HC 116-1 and 116-2). The author acted as adviser to the committee on that first occasion along with Andrew McFarlane QC and so was interested to discover what had prompted this second look at the topic and also to see whether anything new would emerge. The original enquiry had been the authors first exposure to Parliamentary proceedings in the role of adviser and while having ones coruscating insights conveyed imperfectly by MPs gave rise to occasional frustration not to mention moments of high comedy the author emerged with considerable respect for the Committees members its secretariat and in particular for its resourceful Chairman Alan Beith MP. Perhaps unsurprisingly it seemed to the author that MPs were...

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