On 21 May 2019 the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) announced a public call for evidence steered by a panel of key representatives from across family justice, to gather evidence on how the family courts protect children and parents in cases of domestic abuse and other serious offences.
The inaugural panel meeting took place on Friday 14 June 2019, marking the start for the three-month call for evidence. The panel members represent key organisations from across family justice including the Judiciary, academia, social care, policy officials and third sector organisations which represent and advocate for victims of domestic abuse, (full details below).
The call for evidence will specifically focus on the application of Practice Direction 12J, Practice Direction 3AA, The Family Procedure Rules Part 3A, and s.91(14) orders, and will build a more detailed understanding of any harm caused during or following proceedings in the family court.
The panel members are:
- Melissa Case & Nicola Hewer, Director of Family and Criminal Justice Policy, MOJ (Chair)
- Professor Liz Trinder, University of Exeter
- Professor Rosemary Hunter FAcSS, University of Kent
- Professor Mandy Burton, University of Leicester
- Mr Justice Stephen Cobb, Judiciary
- District Judge Katherine Suh, Judiciary
- Nicki Norman, Acting Co-Chief Executive, Women’s Aid
- Dierdre Fottrell QC & Lorraine Cavanagh QC (joint representatives), Association of Lawyers for Children
- Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for England (Children & Families)
- Eleri Butler, Chief Executive, Welsh Women’s Aid
- Neil Blacklock, Development Director, Respect
The panel will also be supported by analysts, researchers and relevant policy officials from MOJ.
Spotlight on child protection in family courts