Sir James Munby, head of the family court system, said cash was being squandered on unnecessary lawyers. He said the number of taxpayer-funded professionals should be cut as long as youngsters were properly represented in court.
Every child should have a social worker and a solicitor and, in serious cases, a barrister or even a QC. But he said in a notice to judges and lawyers that ‘we need to remember that all this costs money’.
He said 12,781 new cases entered the Family Courts in the year to March, a 15 percent rise on the year before. Sir James said he backed an inquiry by Justice Secretary Liz Truss into ‘a reformed level of representation for children’ in adoption, care and similar cases.
Sir James the focus would be on the scope ‘for dispensing with the attendance of some, or even, in some circumstances, all, of the child’s professional team’.
My own view is CAFCASS also needs reforming, as there is a severe lack of clarity and accountability with their processes and recommendations to the family court. I mean, spend an 1 hour with a parent and then present a decision to the family court that affects the children – in many cases negatively – for years to come? I have a CAFCASS Group if you want to join and share you’re thoughts and experiences.