UK Family Law Reform

Free information index

----- Original Message -----
From: Brian.evans1@judiciary.gsi.gov.uk
To: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 12:13 PM
Subject: RE: Freedom of information request. Ref FOI/80794

Freedom of Information Request

Dear Mr Mortimer,

Thank you for your email of 7th February 2013, in which you asked for the following information from the Judicial College:

(1) Please will you kindly provide me with copies of the peer reviewed research which you use to train judges on how much contact time divorced parents should have with their children to ensure that their long term relationship is sustainable.

(2) I would also like copies of the peer reviewed research which shows that sole residency is in the best interests of children following parental separation or divorce where safety is not an issue.

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

The answers are as follows:

1) There is no research used to train judges in relation to deciding contact time.

2) The Judicial College is unaware of any research relating to the effects of sole residency and would not be the owner of any such information if it should exist. As before the College would not use such research in its training

Therefore I can confirm that the Judicial College does not hold this information.

You can find out more about information held for the purposes of the Act by reading some guidance points we consider when processing a request for information, attached at the end of this letter.

You can also find more information by reading the full text of the Act, available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/contents

General Information which may be of interest:

Outside the scope of the Act, I am pleased to provide you with some general information which may be helpful. Research is generally publicly available and judges have always had access to it although there has never been judicial (or other) direction on what should be seen. Each case in court turns on its own facts and the welfare of the child remains the court’s paramount consideration. How much contact should take place depends very much on a combination of factors (where the parties live and whether close by or not, child’s age etc.) and not on peer reviewed research.Ultimately, judges will make their own independent judgement based on the evidence presented and tested in court. It follows that judicial training must also support judicial independence and training never seeks to identify certain outcomes for cases.

Mr. Justice Ryder was appointed by the Lord Chief Justice in November 2011 as the Judge in charge of the Modernisation of Family Justice and will continue to lead the modernisation programme until Easter 2013. You can access his reports via the public judiciary website:

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications-and-reports/reports/family/the-family-justice-modernisation-programme

You will note from the Implementation Update Number Two, that there is a reference to the Family Courts Guide. This will be a framework of good practice which will set out Presidential guidance [from the President of the Family Division] for the judiciary on how to deal with public and private law cases. It will be an on-line publication with a number of links one of which will be to peer reviewed research. There will also be a link to “Expectations documents” prepared by the agencies (Local Authorities, Cafcass, LSC/LAA, HMCTS) and approved by the Family Justice Board and the President. These documents will be concise and specific regarding the service they will provide during court proceedings and will themselves cross refer to the regulatory framework and guidance governing their operations. The expectations documents will be governed by an overarching agreement which will be a statement of understanding agreed between the President and the Family Justice Board on how these expectations documents will be employed in public and private law proceedings involving children.

Yours sincerely

Brian Evans

From: david@mortimers-removals.co.uk
Sent: 07 February 2013 16:52
To: Judicial College Web
Subject: Freedom of information request.

Dear Sir or Madam,

(1) Please will you kindly provide me with copies of the peer reviewed research which you use to train judges on how much contact time divorced parents should have with their children to ensure that their long term relationship is sustainable.

(2) I would also like copies of the peer reviewed research which shows that sole residency is in the best interests of children following parental separation or divorce where safety is not an issue.

Yours Sincerely

David Mortimer

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