Mr Justice Ryder, the most senior family judge on the northern circuit and a member of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Judicial Management in Public Law Children Act Cases, has launched a scathing attack on the family justice system, as reported in The Times today. According to the report, his criticisms include that the family courts are out of tune with society and that they lack the capacity to deal with the volume of cases. He "has called for an overhaul to make family courts open and in touch with the public", for example by giving judgments in public. More radically, he proposes the creation of a new “family court diversion scheme” whereby local community tribunals act as a 'gateway for family justice', and that legal aid be granted by a panel of lay people chaired by a lawyer.
Update: The full text of the speech has now been published (in PDF form) on the Judiciary website, here.