Tuesday, April 01, 2014

New Family Court opens today

In a surprise move, the President of the Family Division Sir James Munby (left) has brought forward the opening of the new Family Court to today.

Originally planned to open on the 22nd of April, the new Family Court has unified the previous three tiers of family court (Family Proceedings (Magistrates’) Court, County Court and High Court) into one single Family Court, with a single point of entry.

Explaining his decision to bring forward the date for opening the new court, Sir James said: "This is such an important development in the reform of the family justice system, that I felt it would be wrong to delay it any further. The improvements that the new court will bring will, at a stroke, end all criticism of my family justice system, particularly from some quarters of the media."

Some family lawyers have expressed concern that the court is being opened before judges, lawyers and other family law professionals are ready for the changes it brings. However, Sir James assures all users that he is currently working on seventy-five new sets of guidelines that will smooth the transition. The new guidelines should be ready by November.

I will, of course, be providing links to the guidelines, as soon as they are published.

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