UK Family Law Reform

Free information index

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

Lost Opportunities - Law Reform and Transparency in the Family Courts 1st July 2010

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

Family Courts are more Secret than our Prisons 4th June 2006

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 Conservative scheme represents a radical departure from recent Government proposals. Labour’s Consultation Paper (Cm6723) pays lip-service to the idea of guidelines. But the first step remains untaken. Theresa May said,

“The Government has failed to offer families a system that works. You have to start by bringing the judges, experts and stakeholders on board to agree what sort of orders the Courts should make. That way, you know what you’re trying to deliver. Then you build a legal system to deliver it. The Government never did its homework. It forgot the foundations. It’s the same old gerry-building: ‘anything goes.’

Theresa May said she could not condone the tactics of pressure groups like Fathers For Justice, but added,

“Let’s not forget that there is a legitimate grievance. Can any parent - hand on heart - imagine anything more terrible than losing their children? What would you do to see them? We’re going to build a proper system of justice”

“It is not just the parents who have had enough with a third-rate service. It’s the professionals. We found that the lawyers, judges and experts have been calling for radical change too. Their proposals go into Whitehall in perfect order; they come back from Margaret Hodge’s DfES in tatters - with CAFCASS back in charge. At the end of the day, the issue is really very simple. What do children want: one parent or two?”

Consensus Major Distortions of Family Policy 26th April 2005

The 'lost' Section 8 reform 14th June 2006