A ‘problem-solving court’ that looks at the difficulties facing both children and families should be introduced, a senior judge has said.
President of the High Court's Family Division, Sir James Munby, told the Howard League for Penal Reform’s 2017 Parmoor lecture that a re-vamped family court with an enhanced jurisdiction could tackle the problems a family faces as a whole.
“I believe that this points the way forward to what in my view is so urgently required: a fundamental re-balancing of the family court towards what ought to be its true role as a problem-solving court, engaging the therapeutic and other support systems that so many children and parents need,” said Munby.
“But the concept of the problem-solving court surely has to extend far further than that, not least, it might be thought into the processes of the criminal courts as they impinge on families, whether the child or the parent,” he added.
Sir James Munby highlighted the seven problems he believes need to be addressed.
“In an ideal world we would be giving very serious consideration to sweeping jurisdictional changes, bringing order to disorder by incorporating many if not all of these jurisdictions within the expanded jurisdiction of a family court,” said Munby.
However, he said more could be done immediately including:
Munby concluded by calling for more to be done to embed Articles 3 and 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Article 8 of the European Convention in law and in practice across all the jurisdictions which impact on children and their problems.
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