More children’s representatives needed

Children caught between warring parents trying to resolve private
contact disputes in court should be provided with independent
representatives, Lord Justice Wall warned yesterday,
writes Shirley Kumar.

Speaking at the guardian and practitioner’s body
NAGALRO’s autumn conference, he said “it depresses me
because there is a necessity for more children’s
representatives in private law”.

Wall also urged the government to provide more funding to the
Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Services

He added that it was unacceptable the child’s voice was
not properly heard when 20 per cent of cases that do arrive in
court, where separating parents cannot agree on residence or
contact for their children, are complex and are usually related to
parents unacceptable behaviour such as  “violence or

He also doubted Cafcass’s ability to embrace a mediation
role due to lack of resources. The move, outlined in the family
justice system government green paper, is an attempt to steer
simple cases away from courts.

But Cafcass chief executive Anthony Douglas confirmed:
“There is loose talk that a move towards mediation for simple
cases will lighten their case loads. I have looked at 200 cases and
I have not seen a ‘simple’ case.”

He said Cafcass was to embark on a major recruitment drive to
meet needs.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.