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Queen’s Speech heralds overdue Family Law reforms

On Wednesday the Queen announced the new Children and Families Bill at the state opening of Parliament. Included in the bill are many welcome changes for families, including improved parental leave and flexible working.
Many of the measures derive from the comprehensive Family Justice Review, published in November 2011. The Review examined the current system, which it worryingly referred to as a ‘slow building crisis’.
Whilst the interests of children are central to the family justice system, the review made a number of recommendations to improve current failings, including the development of coherent, national standards. The review placed particular emphasis on the needs of children under the care of the local authority, for example by speeding up the adoption process.
Also in the Queen’s Speech was the Crime & Courts Bill, which includes the introduction of a single family court for England & Wales.
Last night we attended a seminar at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre given by Mr Justice Ryder, the judge charged with overhauling the family justice system. The judge explained that the changes will be radical bringing in a more hands-on approach from judges, designed to eliminate delay and generally improve the experience of those involved with the Family Courts.
The proposed legislation outlined in the Queen’s Speech is the gateway to a new era for Family Law. As practitioners we are often frustrated by the failings of the current system; at last there is cause for optimism that the needs of families in crisis will now properly be met.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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