UK Family Law Reform

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Top judge who earns £200,000 a year says judiciary deserve a pay rise 3rd November 2017

Opening of the legal year 2nd October 2017

Judge who spared Oxford student Lavinia Woodward from jail for stabbing boyfriend investigated 29th September 2017

The Lord Chief Justice's Report for 2017

Race and justice: biased criminal justice system is creating the next generation of criminals 10th September 2017

Exposed: ‘racial bias’ in British criminal justice system 8th September 2017

Privacy clause added to judicial Bill after lobbying by judges 5th September 2017

The judicial system is dominated by a small elite 29th August 2017

'If you were a man, you'd be going to jail,' judge tells woman burglar 24th August 2017

Senior judges warn reforming court fees will affect access to justice 4th March 2014

Appeal judge slams 'cut and paste' decision in family court 18th February 2014

UK courts must not decide the fate of foreign children, says top judge 15th January 2014

Private trials must be last option, says Supreme Court 6th March 2013

Open up family court hearings, says senior judge 2nd March 2013

A Victory for common sense 2nd March 2013

There is no research used to train judges in relation to deciding contact time 27th February 2013

Milton Keynes county court has referred 1 case of perjury to the police in the last 5 years 19th February 2013

How the judiciary are trained 7th February 2013

Secret Courts Destroy the Legal Fabric 18th January 2013

For every category of offence, men are more likely to be sent to prison than women 16th October 2012

Mr Justice Ryder proposes to overhaul our family courts 31st July 2012

Lawful Disobedience: ARREST THAT JUDGE! Full Version HD (Uncensored) 28th July 2012

A Rotten Judiciary 23rd July 2012

Media must be allowed into family courts, says Sir Mark Potter 20th October 2008

Family courts out of touch says judge 16th June 2008

President of the Family Division strong presumption in favour of McKenzie Friends 14th April 2008

High court judge warns family breakdown is as big a threat to national life as global warming 5th April 2008

Family justice system is at risk, warns new chief judge 24th March 2008

The Government has ruled that judgments can go up online 9th January 2008

Family justice policy does not work for children, report says 10th December 2007

New guidance published on justices' reasons in the Family Proceedings Court 26th November 2007

The expert as judge and jury 19th November 2007

The secret history of family law reform 6th November 2007

Judges get tough on fathers' rights to contact with children 16th July 2007

Falconer refuses to lift veil of secrecy over family courts 20th June 2007

The rank hypocrisy of family court judges 24th May 2007

From start to finish — one case, one judge 17th April 2007

Advice line is set up for lonely judges 26th March 2007

Civil courts 'on verge of collapse' 13th February 2007

Judge targeted as fathers start new campaign 5th January 2007

Lord Ramsbotham exclusive: Justice system is absurd. Broken. Chaotic 30th November 2006

Cheating judge faces misconduct charge after vengeful husband murders own daughter 2nd November 2006

The Discarded Programme of Family Law Reform 12th October 2006

DCA Confidence and confidentiality consultation 4th October 2006

Justice must be seen to be done in family courts 27th August 2006

Open Letter to Lord Justice Wall from Shaun O'Connell 25th August 2006

Judges refuse to enforce a contact order 19th July 2006

500 remanded in custody each year over child access 10th July 2006

The 'lost' Section 8 reform 14th June 2006

Harriet Harman - Family Courts are more Secret than our Prisons and that must change. 4th June 2006

Public confidence depends on public scrutiny. Something has to be seen to be believed and justice not only has to be done, it has to be seen to be done. People don't understand the complexity and ' importance of the work of the family courts - an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of the fact that they sit in secret and make judgments behind closed doors.

PUBLIC confidence in any part of the legal system is necessary for its own sake but also to ensure people affected by court judgments accept them, and for the professions involved in the system to be respected.

I have concluded that it is now impossible to defend a system from accusations of bias and discrimination if it operates behind closed doors. Even as Minister for Family Justice, I find the rules make it hard for me to establish what is going on.

It is my job to reassure Parliament that the family court system is working properly. But how can I know? I can't read newspaper reports of cases; I can't just go and sit at the back of the court, as I can - and do - in magistrates' courts. And how can MPs hold me to account for a system they cannot see? Parliamentary accountability for the family courts is wholly theoretical while the system remains closed. How can the influential Constitutional Affairs Select Committee conduct investigations into its workings?

And when we debate family law in Parliament, neither MP’s nor Ministers can really know what we are talking about. We have to legislate in the dark.

The Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2006

Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 676

The regulations prescribe the procedures to be followed in the investigation and determination of allegations of misconduct by judicial office holders under chapter 3 of Part 4 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (c.4). The procedures govern the exercise of the Lord Chancellor's powers to remove judicial office holders and the Lord Chief Justice's statutory powers formally to advise, warn or reprimand them, or to suspend them from office. They also govern the investigation of allegations about judicial office holders appointed by the Lord Chancellor who sit wholly or mainly in Scotland or Northern Ireland. In these cases, the Lord President of the Court of Session or the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland has the same powers as the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

The regulations also form part of the implementation of the Concordat agreed between the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice in January 2004. The Concordat sets out the principles governing the allocation of functions between the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, including an outline of the procedures to be followed in judicial disciplinary cases.

Part 1 provides for the citation and commencement of the regulations, defines certain terms used in them, and provides for the designation of dedicated officials in an Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) to support the Lord Chancellor and the Chief Justices in the investigation and determination of allegations. It also provides for time limits and their extension.

Part 2 deals with the persons to whom complaints are to be made. It provides for the making of rules by the Lord Chief Justice to govern the investigation of complaints (1) against magistrates by local advisory committees, and (2) against members of specified tribunals by their President or other designated senior judicial officer. It provides for complaints to be withdrawn, and for either the Lord Chancellor or the Lord Chief Justice to refer complaints for further investigation.

Part 3 provides for the initial consideration of complaints other than those against magistrates or relevant members of tribunals. It enables the OJC to make enquiries, and to dismiss a complaint to the extent that it falls within criteria set out in the regulations. Nominated judges will be appointed to advise the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice on the action to be taken in cases not dismissed by the OJC.

Part 4 deals with the decisions which the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice may take after a case has been investigated by the OJC and nominated judges, advisory committees or tribunal Presidents.

Part 5 enables the Lord Chancellor or Lord Chief Justice to refer cases for investigation, for the appointment of investigating judges and the procedures to be followed by them.

Part 6 provides for the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice to dismiss cases, or to determine what disciplinary action they propose should be taken, to notify judicial office holders against whom it is proposed to take disciplinary action, and for the taking of final decisions after considering any representations.

Part 7 provides for the establishment of review bodies and for their functions and procedures.

Part 8 contains miscellaneous provisions for: cases to be deferred; procedures on the interim suspension of a judicial office holder; publicity in relation to disciplinary hearings; procedural requirements in relation to investigations by the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman, and for the application to Scotland and Northern Ireland of relevant provisions of the Act relating to the Ombudsman; the delegation by the Lord Chief Justice of any of his functions under these regulations, apart from the rule-making power contained in regulations 9 and 10; and transitional arrangements for complaints made before the commencement of the regulations.

Secrecy of the family courts may be about to end 24th May 2006

The Family Court System - 22nd May 2006

Question relating to the training' of family judges 24th April 2006

Family courts 'dispense injustice on routine basis' 30th December 2005

Sally Field - ministers where not misled and family policy was not distorted 23rd December 2005

Family courts' veil of secrecy will lift to win back public confidence 5th December 2005

Where is the proof that Judges are acting in the best interests of children? 23rd November 2005

No research proves sole residency is best 14th September 2005

Consensus Major Distortions of Family Policy 26th April 2005

Failure to enforce a contact order is a breach of Human Rights Law 2nd March 2005

FNF can suggest to the Select Committee that the original EI project be reinstated 10th January 2005

It is time to open up family courts to public scrutiny 10th January 2005

No right to contact and no proof that sole residency is in the best interests of children 21st December 2004

Family court secrecy is bad for children 1st November 2004


Parliament launches review of family court cases 20th September 2004

Every part of the criminal justice system is failing 23rd April 2004

Judge backs angry fathers over contact with children 2nd April 2004

Family courts failing children 30th December 2003

Dispatches puts judges in the dock 18th December 2003

On Thursday 18th December 2004. In an exclusive investigation , Dispatches puts judges in the dock and asks why no judge has ever been sacked for incompetence. In fact, there are no records kept of how often judges are getting it wrong, and with what consequences. Going back through the court transcripts of over 5,000 successful appeals and gathering the opinions of leading QCs, Dispatches reveals for the first time the alarming scale of judicial mistakes that can have devastating effects on those up before the court.

Affidavit of Phillip Michael Ian Golding 28th November 2003

U.K. Justice Singer abuses child April 2003

It is unsatisfactory for contact orders to be flouted with impunity 26th September 2002

Dear Judge Wall 20th September 2002

Submission to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 28th April 1999

In Texas the minimum amount of time a judge can order is now approximately 42% 1997

Enforcement of contact orders in UK 11th March 1997

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