We are pleased to announce that Christina Blacklaws, John Daly, District Judge Gordon-Saker and ,Dominic Raeside have been appointed by the Lord Chancellor, in consultation with the President of the Family Division, to be members of the Family Justice Council (FJC) for three years from August 2013. These posts are unremunerated. The appointments of Christina Blacklaws, John Daly and Dominic Raeside are made subject to clearance checks.
The appointments process has been conducted in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice on Ministerial public appointments to public bodies.
The FJC was established in July 2004 to promote an inter-disciplinary approach to family justice as an advisory non-departmental public body. Through consultation and research, the FJC monitors the effectiveness of the family justice system. It is chaired by the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby and acts as ‘critical friend’ by providing advice to the National Family Justice Board and Government.
It advises on the reforms necessary for continuous improvement and is presently playing a key role in the implementation of the Judicial Proposals for the Modernisation of the Family Justice System, led until recently by Lord Justice Ryder. Recent examples include the Consultation on Standards for Expert Witnesses in the Family Courts of England and Wales, jointly released with MoJ in May 2013, and the contribution to the Judicial Working Group report on Litigants-in-person published in July 2013.
Membership of the Council is representative of the whole family justice system, including, but not limited to doctors, family solicitors and barristers, judges, academics, psychiatrists, local authority lawyers, mediators, social workers and Cafcass. The Council encourages greater understanding and co-operation between the different agencies in the system. It responds to consultations and contributes to the development of Government policy.
Ms Blacklaws is currently the Director of Family Law and Policy at the Co-operative Legal Services, elected representative for Child Care Law on the Law Society Council, and Chair of Law Society Legal Affairs and Policy Board. She was previously Chief Assessor of the Law Society Children’s Panel, worked for JB Wheateley, and at a solo family law practice Blacklaws Davis LLP.
Mr Daly is currently the Assistant Director of Children’s Services at Bolton Council. He was previously Head of Operations for Children’s Social Care with Blackburn with Darwen Council Children’s Services.
District Judge Gordon-Saker
District Judge Liza Gordon-Saker was called to the Bar in 1982, and is a District Judge of the Principal Registry of the Family Division, appointed in January 2010. She holds public and private law tickets and sits on the Project Board and Working Group for the merger of the Principal Registry with Inner London Family Proceedings Court as part of the Single Family Court. She is a contributor to Atkin’s Court Forms Family titles. She was formerly a member of Fenners Chambers in Cambridge, specialising in family law, and represented East Anglia on the committee of the Family Law Bar Association.
Mr Raeside is currently the Head of Mediation at Family Law in Partnership LLP. He has previously been a Team Manager for the National Probation Service, and worked for Cafcass and Surrey Social Services.
The appointments were made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any is declared) to be made public. All have declared that they have not been involved in any political activity.