Private Law In Crisis?

Earlier this week Sir James Munby gave a speech on the current state of the Family Courts. It is a powerful read. He urges better use of out-of-court solutions for families:

‘We need to divert many more private law cases away from the family court before they ever get there. That is the Government’s policy and it is, in principle, something I have always believed is necessary. It is something at the heart of the Private Law Working Group’s thinking. Plainly, there are cases where a judicial resolution in the family court is essential, for example, cases where there are significant issues in relation to domestic abuse, mental health, or drug or alcohol abuse. But there are many cases which do not require the involvement of a judge and where, to be blunt, exposure of the parties to the court process can sometimes only make matters worse.

When the former President of the Family Division makes concluding remarks like these, it is rather extraordinary that it isn’t front page news!

These criticisms are immensely damaging and, unless addressed, and seen to be addressed, with vigour, and with a complete lack of either complacency or sentimental self-protection, will sooner rather later, I fear, bring the system to its knees.

Confidence in the system is at an all-time low, and unless drastic steps are taken, it will sink even lower.

Read ‘The crisis in private law’ – by Sir James Munby

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